11 June 2011

Toni rounds up her visit talking about...

Write What You Know

As a retired accountant, I can assure you there's nothing you can fictionalize about accounting, nothing romantic, nothing suspenseful unless the bank account refuses to balance, and nothing mysterious that isn't illegal, so when I first started writing, I looked elsewhere for ideas. Old houses, new houses, spooky houses all became settings for my novels, and my characters are all composites of people I've known.

Then one day I saw a young man crossing the street in the rain. He reminded me of the temp I once interviewed and hired to relieve me of timecard duties while I worked year end close. His sparkling eyes set the hearts of even the happily married women aflutter. He was polite, efficient, and knew his job. Next thing I knew, the temp found his way onto the pages of my WIP, and my novel Temp to Permanent was born.

Carina Carrinton's advertising agency reflects her good taste, and like all successful businesses, she has the latest electronic equipment needed to get the job done. Carina just isn't expecting the temp agency to send her a man with no apparent skills to replace her ailing secretary during the busiest week of her career.

Greg Lawless soon proves to Carina he knows his way around an office. Any office. So why does he refuse to boast about his skill? And clam up about his past?

I had a plethora of workday experiences to draw from, knew all the petty games employees pay, knew how a wave of illness could bring the accounting department to its knees and how to reconcile and replenish the petty cash, but when I began to plan the scenes needed to force Greg into Carina's arms, he refused to go.

Much as he'd like nothing better, Greg's firm adherence to proper office conduct prevents him from making moves on his boss, so I had to find a way to cool Carina's rampant longing for him. I created a business arena conducive to office sabotage and gave her cause to distrust him. The settings they visit outside the office -- Old Town, Anthony's and Tom Ham's Lighthouse restaurants -- are favorite hangouts of mine. I often see the bridge over to Coronado in my dreams. And Greg's old Volvo? We're on our fifth Volvo, and the one I drive is older than his.

A friend of ours detailed food for a baker of Oriental cookies, so the details that went into Carina's proposal for B&B were all things our friend had urged his employer to do, like letting other bakers use their cookie machine to avoid down time.

Like Greg, a daughter's ex saved enough to put himself through law school by working in the oil fields off Texas' shore. It's fun to put people I've known in my novels. It's the next best things to visiting with them again.

Only Carina and Larry are products of my imagination. She's one classy lady, the kind of woman we'd all like to be. And Larry? Sorry, he's a slime.

Here's a link to the Desert Breeze website, where Temp to Permanent is available for download.


Thank you Toni for your invaluable advice these past few days.  Best wishes with your books.


R. Ann Siracusa said...

Hi Toni, More good advice. Ideas for stories come from everywhere. Writers need to keep their eyes, ears, and minds open to what's going on around them, and ask...what if?

Toni Noel said...

Hi, Ann. Stop for dropping by.

I just wish I wasn't so bombarded with "what if's". It leaves me no time top write.


Toni Noel said...

There I go again, making another typo.

I meant to type "Thanks for stopping by."


Zee said...

Great post Sherry! Toni and I share our work of accounting and I must say, Toni is correct! There is nothing fancy or adventurous about accounting. Thank goodness for books which provide a much needed outlet.


Sandra Cox said...

Great blog and sounds like a great read.

Toni Noel said...

Hi, Zee and Sandra,

Thanks for stopping by.

I'd like to say I chose a profession that helped prepare me to write.

Wrong. there's nothing romantic about crunching number under pressure, but a lot went on in those offices that may someday wind up in my novels.

I can't wait.