Working on a little something new

Now that we're living in Dublin, Ireland, I really wanted to write a contemporary romance set here. I had a snippet of an idea in my head, but nothing was really flushed out, but then two things happened yesterday.

1. I struck massive inspiration as I was walking through St. Stephen's Green and witnessed a school teacher reprimanding a little boy for being mean to the little girl he'd been partnered with on a class project. She was not what you'd call a beauty and you could tell that she was really hurt by the way he'd treated her but the teacher was having none of his shenanigans. I started mulling how a situation like that could apply to a character I'd been building in my head for awhile and the thoughts started coming fast and furious. By the time I reached my destination I had a whole narrative laid out around the hero & heroine and what their backstory was going to be. I was so excited to get started on it!

2. When I finally got home after walking eight kilometers, there was a message from my friend - a fellow author - asking me if I wanted to do NaNoWriMo with her. Now, I'm terrible at NaNo and I have never actually finished in all the times I've attempted it, but I really liked the idea of working on this new book at a fast & furious pace while she simultaneously worked on her idea. We talked through the storylines each of us was considering and excitedly decided that we were going to write them and be finished with each by the end of the year. So while it might not be NaNo, it's a writing challenge of sorts and one that I'm pumped to do well at.

This morning I came downstairs before sunrise and couldn't wait to jump on my computer. I did a little bit of editing to what I'd written last night (this is why I can't do NaNo - I edit everything almost in real time) and was still so fired up about my story idea. Now I had the baseline for the story and the motivation to finish it. I started putting together character sketches for the hero and heroine and immediately saw their physical manifestations in my mind's eye. 

So, what's it about you ask? Here's how I described it to my friend Amy:

When Sophie Newport is eight years old, her parents go through a really bitter and ugly divorce when her dad announces he’s leaving them for his new, young girlfriend who also happens to be pregnant with his baby. Because her father is the son of the owner of the city’s professional football team, the divorce plays out in the public eye and both mother and daughter are bitterly humiliated. Rather than stay in the city where her cheating ex-husband is a hometown hero, Sophie’s mother Madeline packs her daughter off to Ireland where her parents own a famous, historic pub an hour outside of Dublin. While Sophie’s mom is back in Pittsburgh dealing with the fallout of her divorce, the shy, awkward little girl is being picked on mercilessly by her new school mates, chiefly one Declan O’Shaughnessy. For two years Sophie is teased by him and his mates and her time in Ireland is worse even than back home in Pittsburgh. Finally, once the drama of her parents’ divorce dies down, Sophie returns to her mom and starts her childhood all over again.

Fast forward and Sophie is now a 26 year old travel blogger living a life tied to no one and no where. On the road her last name means nothing and she’s free to be whoever she wants to be. While housesitting in Scotland, Sophie gets a call from her mother - her grandfather has fallen down at the pub and will need full hip replacement surgery. Madeline asks her daughter to travel to Ireland to spend time with her grandparents and help them run the pub until he’s back on his feet. Sophie wants nothing to do with the country town she spent two miserable years of her childhood in, but she loves her grandparents and knows that she can’t say no. When she arrives she’s surprised to see how poorly the pub is being run and how overwhelmed her aging grandparents are by day-to-day life. Sophie jumps in and starts managing things, putting the pub to rights and working to build its reputation and clientele back up through her travel contacts.

Everything is going fine until one day the local rugby team comes in for a few pints after a match. They’re loud, brash, and as huge as they all are they take up a whole lot of space. At first Sophie is annoyed but then she finds that she can’t keep her eyes off their obvious ringleader. He’s the hottest guy she’s ever seen and he is the life of the party. He’s also a huge flirt and a terrible ladies man, two things Sophie can’t abide in her flings. And even worse is the fact that he’s a professional sports player. After her father’s philandering ways, Sophie has vowed never to get involved with anyone involved in sports. Still, she can’t help but be physically attracted to the affable Irishman and so she breaks her own rules and flirts back. Unfortunately Sophie soon learns that her hot rugby star is none other than that terrible brat Declan O’Shaughnessy who spent two years calling her Fish & Chips when she was a little girl. Sophie doesn’t want him spending time in her grandparents’ pub, much less flirting shamelessly with her as often as he can, but Declan can’t help but fall head over heels for the little girl he secretly adored as a child. Now he has to convince her to give him a shot at winning her heart and to give the village she loathes a chance at becoming home.

I should warn you that I don't know the first thing about rugby. My friend Joe is a huge fan and plays back home in Marin but I'd never really given it much thought since in America rugby isn't that important in terms of professional sports. But we spent last Sunday sitting in a pub rooting for Ireland against France and I was instantly captivated by the sport and how invested the Irish are in their national team. When Ian Madigan - pictured above - was put in after a serious injury to a star player, my creative wheels started turning and I instantly knew that I wanted to write a story about a rugby player. So for the next few days I'm going to be knee deep in websites about rugby, getting to know everything that I possibly can about the sport. And I'll probably be texting Joe about 8000 times a day asking for his insight into little things like slang and how it feels to get hit on the field.

I'll keep you posted how things progress, but for now, I'm already 1000 words in. Just 65,000 to go.