Behind the Scenes: Entangled
ENTANGLED is Book 2 in the Serendipity Adventure Romance series, and one of my personal favorites. Okay, they’re all my favorites, but still! The crazy thing is, it all started with a single photo.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE STORY:
Once upon a time, the organizer of a boxed set I was participating in posted a picture of a jungle bridge on the facebook group she used to communicate through. At the time, I was writing Uncharted and focused on the coast of Belize, but that picture lit a flame inside me. In no time, Tobin and Cara’s story was swirling in my mind, and I knew it had to include a rope bridge. That, and the motorcycle that Tobin was given by Julie at the end of Book 1, Uncharted.
I decided to set Entangled in Panama, one of my favorite Central American countries and a place of incredible contrasts. Although I was tempted to create a story that swept from one incredible “movie set” to another, I decided to narrow the scope on the most fascinating part of all: the jungle and the indigenous tribes struggling to strike a balance between new ways and old. That’s something I’ve witnessed all over the world, but nowhere is it all squeezed into such a small, wild, and tangled place as Panama.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE CHARACTERS:
Tobin is hands-down one of my favorite characters ever. When I wrote Uncharted, he almost threatened to steal the show, so I knew he had to get his own story – and pronto! I love the class clown type who is serious inside (a little like Cody from Desert Blood). Tobin is partially based on a friend of mine who was kicked out of two high schools before going on to earn an Ivy League degree. (One of my critique partners noted that this seemed totally unrealistic but it’s absolutely true! Rare, but true.) Cara is a little more like me than Tobin is (except she’s gorgeous and Italian, but other than that…). She’s the daughter of immigrants determined for their kids do better than themselves, and her challenge is to respect that while forging her own path. Both Tobin and Cara carry huge family expectations, and they both struggle to release “the real me” inside. Together, though, in the unlikeliest of places, they help each to do just that.
MY FAVORITE SCENE:
I absolutely love their first night in the cabin when Tobin is all casual and easy going, stripping completely while Cara tries to pretend the attraction isn’t still there. I’m also a sucker for happy ends so I sniff a little every time I read the epilogue (where I get to contrast the hot and humid jungle with the winter chill of New England!) and their happy end.
BIGGEST CHANGE FROM THE EARLIEST DRAFT OF THE STORY:
The first draft of this story didn’t have the drug-runners or LeFevre, the French anthropologist. The only clear and present danger came from the villagers, and I really didn’t want them to be evil. That’s why I decided to change things and bring evil in from the civilized world, as so often happens in reality. These new villains help keep the tension up through the middle part of the story and fuel the chase along at the end, while the villagers get to prove their true colors. (cue happy sigh)