Continuing my look back at my earlier books, this week I pulled from the shelf, It Takes a Hero, the 4th book in the Danvers series, which featured Raphael Danvers, the half English, half Spanish, prickly and temperamental twin of Orlando Danvers. Rafe had neither a title or wealth, but came with a quick mind and daring heart with which to make his way in the world.
I always had a bit of crush on that dark-haired devil. Okay, still do.
Writing Raphael Danvers’ story was inevitable. Apart from Jemmy Finch and Orlando Danvers, Rafe was the number one subject of fan mail for several years. And most everyone thought he should be with Georgie’s little sister, Kit (see One Night of Passion). But I never thought the two of them would work, besides the fact that Kit would be long since married and settled by the time the likes of Raphael Danvers decided to return to England.
So there it was-who could I match with Rafe?
The story idea came to me while having lunch with another editor at Avon. We were talking about my husband’s upcoming trip to Ireland and how I thought he should take his sister to Lisdoonvarna (the matchmaking village). We laughed about the idea, but it stuck in my head, the notion of a matchmaking village. As I began to plot and devise Rafe’s story, I decided to send him to Bramley Hollow and make the little town England’s version of that infamous Irish village.
What better to do to a man determined not to marry than to send him to a town known for making matches?
It Takes A Hero also saw the return of several of my favorite characters from the Danvers series, including Lady Finch, Jemmy Finch and Theonius T. Billingsworth. The best part of writing a series is to be able to revisit those favorite characters, (and Lady Finch qualifies as a character) again and again.
While Lady Finch appeared in some form or another in every single Danvers book, I had left poor Jemmy, wounded and lost in Spain for far too long. After reintroducing him, I knew the next thing to do would be to find him his heart’s desire and his story became the novella “The Matchmaker’s Bargain” in the anthology Hero, Come Back (which includes fabulous stories by Christina Dodd and Stephanie Laurens).
As for Mr. Billingsworth, while he’d only ever been mentioned and never stepped on stage, he finally made an appearance in It Takes a Hero.
As happens with books, It Takes A Hero was not the original title for this story. My working title was Tempting Miss Tate. The reason for the switch? The powers that be thought my title sounded “too traditional.” I don’t know if I agree, but both titles work for the book so I didn’t mind the change. I have only had my original titles changed a handful of times.
And for everyone who still wants me to write Orlando Danvers’s story, might I remind you all he died. Of a gunshot wound. To the chest. Had I known that he was going to be the most requested character in my entire writing history, that bullet would have entered a little more the left. Would have saved me a lot of ‘splaining!
Who is your favorite Danvers character?