Goodreads asked Herb Mallette:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Herb Mallette I typically write fantasy, but while in the middle of a project that had slowed down, I realized that an element I always find very engaging to write about is a romance between lead or even supporting characters. So I became curious as to whether I could write a book that was an out-and-out romance novel. I didn't want to set aside the slowed-down book for a year (how long I usually take to write a novel), so I said, "Well, If I write a thousand words a day, I could finish the romance book in three months, which wouldn't be that big a delay for the other book." Two months later, I was done, having averaged 1500 words a day, which is a crazy amount for me because I work full-time. Now I'm trying to finish the original before doing the second draft of the romantic one.

As for how I came up with the actual storyline for the romance, first I decided I'd stay in a fantasy setting. Then I figured I nedded a heroine whose life a romantic interest would wander into. My heroine would need some fantastical uniqueness, preferably magical abilities, but something low-key so it wouldn't turn into an epic fantasy adventure. I decided she'd make magical charms for keeping things clean or repelling insects or similarly mundane uses. Then my hero needed a reason for coming into town, and it needed to be mysterious to give him more allure for both the heroine and the reader. I decided he was looking for his parents, but that there would be some odd family turmoil that made this a challenge and also required him to be secretive. Finally, I needed an opening hook scene in which the two would meet. But the focus of the scene couldn't be them interacting - it had to make them both notice each other and become intrigued, and the attraction had to be tantalizing, which meant that It couldn't immediately start being resolved with conversation between them. My brain produced two wizards playing a boardgame at lunch in the inn where the heroine lives. They'd be having an argument about the rules, and she'd start to get up to settle it, just like every day. But the hero would happen by and put in his two cents about the rules instead. That led to questions about why the heroine lives in an inn and why both of them know the rules to this game so well, and by that point my brain was asking and answering questions so quickly that large chunks of the story fell into an outline almost by themselves.

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