by Emily Mah Tippetts
I suppose it goes without saying that the key to any romance plot is a compelling couple, and my novel, Castles on the Sand, was no exception. What I find interesting about writing romance is trying to puzzle out what it is men find attractive about women, simply because I'm not a man and will never really know, I don't think. Given this, I always think about the developing relationship from the guy's point of view. The woman's comes much more naturally to me. When I devised the romance for Castles on the Sand, I decided to get a lot more literal in how I set up my characters.
Madison Lukas, the protagonist of the story, is a blue eyed blond, like my husband. While my husband complains of his inability to tan, Madison also thinks this is a weakness. Her, quiet, introverted nature is also like my husband's, and then I chose some careful digressions from using him as a model. First off, I made her female (obviously). Second, she does not have the body of a supermodel. My husband's very in shape and slim, but Madison, while also being in shape, is not skinny. She's actually a little rotund, but guys don't care about this. It's our confidence in how we look that's attractive, not the simple basics of our appearance. Third, she's from a rough family background, simply because that punches up the drama.
When designing her ideal guy, I based him on myself. Here I have to be a little coy, because there are multiple guys after Madison's heart in Castles on the Sand. So is the right guy the one from an immigrant family, the one who's confident in his religious faith and knows what he wants, or someone else altogether? Suffice it to say, the right guy is essentially me with a few diverting detail changes. He isn't necessarily a knight in shining armor. As in life, the right guy is the one she deserves once Madison has learned to love herself. I had a lot of fun creating the right guy for her, and I hope my readers enjoy this plot line!
Castles by E.M. Tippetts