I recently connected with fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Brooke Edwards. While we write different sorts of stories, we definitely found common ground in a story well told. To help celebrate the release of Brooke’s novella, When Fate Falls Short, I asked her a few questions about her process, and what’s coming up next!
We’ll begin at the end: Did you start writing this story knowing it wouldn’t have a happy ending for all concerned?
This one was a bit difficult in terms of how it came to be! I started with the characters and the central idea of this love triangle between Nathan, Sean and Jesse. While I knew someone would end up hurting, I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen in the end until I was writing it. The story itself came out piece by piece over nearly a year so it was definitely a journey for me too.
How did you get from love triangle to Nathan dying and his heart being donated to Jesse?
Goodness, I wish I had a satisfactory answer to that question, it’s one that haunted me the whole way through! I think I needed a reason for the relationship between Sean and Jesse to be so difficult and having Nathan forever there between them, especially just his memory, seemed like the best way to make that work. There was this wonderful, heartbreaking kind of beauty in the idea of Nate’s heart finding it way back to Sean like that only for it to not work out.
One of the aspects of When Fate Falls Short I loved was the realism. The fact that bad things happen (even to good people) and we have to deal with them. I felt for Sean and Jesse (and Nathan, of course), but could so easily see why it wasn’t going to work out for them. Were you tempted to give Sean and Jesse a happy ever after?
I love that you connected with the realism too – as much as I love the HEA aspect of fiction, the ones that hit me the hardest are exactly that. When bad things happen to good people and all you can do is try and keep your head above water. There were definitely points where I thought about scratching the ending and having at least a more hopeful ending for Sean and Jesse but in the end I left it alone because that ending felt right.
I like to imagine that Sean and Jesse meet again five years down the road, and that maybe things are easier for them this time around. Do you think you’ll ever revisit their story?
As tempting as bringing them back together once they’re in a better place sounds, I have to say that for me, their happily ever after isn’t with each other. I definitely have plans to revisit their characters – one of my current projects is a spin-off with the boys’ best friends! The ending for that one is definitely a lot more optimistic and shows that although I left Sean and Jesse in bleak situations, they definitely don’t stay that way forever.
Good to know, and after reconsidering the story, I think that’d be the best outcome for all.
I’ve read your other Dreamspinner Press title Mens Rea. It’s another great slice of life, and quite different in tone. Do you plan out your stories in advance, or do you start writing and see where they go?
Mens Rea will always be special, in no small part because it was my first published piece. I would like to say that it was a much more straightforward process and that I went in with a detailed plan and everything flowed but I would definitely be lying. Writing is all-immersive for me and I often start with the best intentions and find myself utterly overruled by the characters. They usually come first, more-or-less fully formed and running the show. I’m simply the often frustrated mouthpiece!
Do you begin with an outline, or just an idea?
I usually begin with only the vaguest idea rather than an outline or detailed plot. The characters are the ones who carry it from there.
What are you writing now?
I’m working on that little spin-off and playing with a few possibilities for a culinary series. Outside of writing, cooking and baking are real passions of mine so combining all of them has been teasing me for a long time. The characters have taken the wheel from me again though so we’ll just have to see how that one goes!
I’m looking forward to both projects! The combination of food and romance always works for me, and I’m eager to revisit Sean and Jesse through the stories of their friends. Thank you for visiting with me today and good luck with your works in progress. J
Thank you so much for having me! It’s been wonderful chatting about this story with you ❤
Childhood sweethearts Nathan Maxwell and Sean Adams took ten years to realize they belonged together, followed by ten years of bliss. When it is snatched away, Sean is left alone with the aftermath. Lost and grieving in a world that doesn’t make sense without Nathan by his side, he struggles to keep himself afloat… until he meets Jesse Lawrence.
The shadow of a congenital heart defect has hung over Jesse like a dark cloud all his life. Nathan’s death saves Jesse’s life by providing the heart Jesse needs to survive, and a chance encounter between their best friends plants Jesse in Sean’s orbit. But how well can a love triangle between a dead man, his grieving lover, and the one with his heart beating in his chest possibly turn out? Real feelings and pure intentions might not be enough.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.