I like to think of Emma as having a mind of her own. She wrote ARCHETYPE, and I wrote PROTOTYPE. She had a real-life story to tell, and I just made some stuff up that could have happened after.
Emma is mild in manner, but knows what she wants. And she’ll get it. Believe me. For example, she woke me at 1 in the morning in September 2011 with these words:
In a world where women are a rare commodity, you’ll also find they are man’s deadliest enemy. I am that woman. I fight for freedom but I’m captive to the love of two men. One is my partner, my lover, and my friend. The other, my worst enemy.
I literally chanted them all the way to the computer and wrote 2-3 pages before my husband came down all squinty-eyed asking, “What the hell are you doing?”
Much later, that chant came off the actual beginning and, after a ton of tinkering, became part of my query, which made it all the way to the book cover! It now looks like this:
In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .
Much much better, yes?
Anyway… I didn’t touch those initial pages again until the end of November. Emma has this voice that can’t be denied. The only reason I ignored her for so long was because I was writing another novel. I was at the climax of the other novel when I finally gave in to her. Everyone thought I was crazy giving up the other book so near the end, but after reading pages… Well, it was immediately clear why.
“Do I frighten you?” I ask.
He chuckles and leans away, draping both arms over the top of the beige couch with red accent pillows. His fingertips dip into the beam of sun from the large windows. “No. Should you?”
I match him gaze for unblinking gaze. A smile twitches the corners of his lips and I cannot imagine why he finds this amusing. Is not a husband supposed to touch his wife? Am I not allowed to touch him in return?
I pull my feet up into my chair and twist to prop my elbow over the cushioned back. With my free hand, I pick at an imperfection of thread in the knee of my white scrub pants. “Is touching forbidden?” I ask him, casually raising my gaze to peer at him through my eyelashes.
I am learning about these rules, which they say are for my safety. Some I do not understand. Why should I not leave my room after seven each night? I want to see the stars. Need to see the stars. They pull at the core of me for reasons I cannot explain.
“I don’t want to rush you,” he says. While the amusement still tugs on his lips, he averts his eyes.
Rush me, I want to tell him, but do not. He knows what is best for me, but I believe I am ready for this step. No, I know I am.