I am so excited to be able to share my first book with all of you. This is a story I’ve been writing in my head for a long time. While this is a work of fiction, there are some elements of the story that are inspired by my real life experiences. This is a writing trick I’ve been using for a long time.
Before writing this novel, I’ve been working as a freelance writer for clients all over the world. When I take on a writing project, I always start by listening intently to the client and paying attention to not just what they say they want, but the things they don’t say. Then, I think about my own experiences and ways I can work those in to the storyline that I am creating for them. That way, when I sit down to write something for them, the words flow easily and the end result is something that feels really authentic. Of course, there are times when I have nothing from my own experiences to add (such as when I wrote for a company that is creating the very first no-emission cement!), but the more you write, the better you get at writing about anything.
When I initially sat down to write Miss Indecisive, my first instinct was to make Vanessa a wedding planner. I have always been fascinated by event planning and weddings, in particular. By incorporating the Indian wedding into the story, it would have made for a fun twist for her to be a wedding planning expert. But, the more I worked on her as a character, the less that felt true. I ended up switching her to a teacher and once I made that change, the story flowed a lot more easily.
That’s the thing about writing: if you listen, the characters will usually tell you who they are.
Miss Indecisive: Themes & Tropes
The concept of the love triangle and working in a cultural component was something I had swimming around in my brain from the very beginning. I was lucky to grow up in a very diverse area and had friends from all backgrounds. My best friend growing up came from a large and proud Latin family and I loved going to their fiestas, dancing salsa with her cousins and learning to speak Spanish with her and her family members. There will definitely be some Latina characters in my future novels, for sure!
But, for this one, incorporating the wedding immediately drew me to the lavish, often multiple day events that are common in the Indian culture. I’ve had the incredible honor of attending a few myself and they are some of the best weddings I’ve ever been to. Something I always love about Indian weddings is how everyone is so enthusiastic and almost everyone gets out there and dances! No wallflowers! I knew this would make for a colorful and fun backdrop for Vanessa and Rishi to meet.
Plus, considering how interesting I found different cultures growing up, I knew I wanted to incorporate cultural differences and traditions in this story, to add additional elements of conflict and compromise to the love triangle. This adds so much dimension to Rishi’s character. He is a truly beautiful character, inside and out, and his love for his family and Vanessa is palpable. Traditions have so much heart, but they can also create tension–in real life and in stories, so I played with this concept in writing Rishi and his family. This is where the matchmaker and arranged marriage storylines came from as well.
Incorporating Jack was a fun twist, because he’s such an unexpected addition. Vanessa never seems him coming and he really sweeps her off her feet. Jack is not just handsome, but he’s a true advocate for children and a very generous person. His commitment to the school, the students, and to building his relationship with Vanessa makes him a real catch and complicates Vanessa’s decision even more.
When I started writing the book, I had a really firm idea of who she was going to end up with. But, the more I wrote, the less sure I became. The characters were really talking to me and even I became confused with who she should choose. I think letting the ideas flow instead of forcing them is what creates so much tension in the scenes leading up to Vanessa finally making a decision.
I love hearing from readers that they didn’t know who she would choose. This was definitely something I was hoping for when going after the love triangle trope. I used some elements from mystery novels, such as the red herring, to distract readers from the love triangle at times, which also helps build tension. For example, Vanessa injures herself while snooping on Jack and ends up on crutches for a good chunk of the book. Not only does this add a lot of physical comedy, which I personally love, but it really symbolizes how the characters are just stumbling their way through the process of falling in love.
I had one reviewer note that they felt like the characters were in high school and this made me laugh. Sure, could they have been more emotionally mature? Absolutely. Would this have been as funny? Absolutely not. Plus, I don’t know about your love story – but my husband and I were an absolute mess. He has often described our process of falling in love as being strapped to a bullet train. So, for the readers who also felt like falling in love threw their entire world off balance, you’ll appreciate how humbling the process is for Vanessa, Jack and Rishi.
I hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes on my thought process while writing Miss Indecisive. If you’re interested in reading more, you can find it here on Amazon – it’s free for KU readers, currently just .99 for ebook and $12.99 for paperback.
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