A few days ago, I was pondering the progress of my latest novel, the fourth book in the “Pine Mountain Estates” series whose title has yet to be decided, when Hank Johnson showed up.
If you’re reading this blog post, you know who I’m talking about. He’s the male protagonist of The Envelope, my most popular novel by a long shot.
I don’t mean that he showed up at my door. Now, that would be scary. What I mean is, he waltzed into a scene I was planning for my current book.
The scene doesn’t take place in Zimbabwe. It doesn’t happen in Dallas. It doesn’t even occur in southeast Oklahoma, the home base for my latest series. It takes place in Phoenix, Arizona.
Twenty years after Hank and Sheila got married.
That night, I dreamed about both of them inserting themselves into the cast of “Pine Mountain Estate” characters.
Yes, authors dream about their characters sometimes. Especially if they are characters the author has fallen in love with. Especially if the author is a genius and a fantastic person.
So how I ended up dreaming about them…
Anyway, I love the characters in my “Texas Hearts” series, and I love the characters in “Pine Mountain Estates.” And, honestly? If I could go back and do it again, I would have continued the “Texas Hearts” series, following the characters as they grew older. For a long time after publishing the last novel in the series, I actually missed writing about them.
Then, seven years after I published The Envelope and about twenty years after I wrote it, Hank and Sheila wrangle their up into my conscious mind and tell me that they miss me, too, and could I please figure out a way to bring them back to life?
Turns out insinuating them into the plot as minor characters was easy. But no sooner had I done so, than wheels began turning in my mind.
I got dizzy, so I turned them off.
But before I did, the wheels had generated some vague ideas, ideas about how the cast from “Texas Hearts” could gradually join up with the cast from “Pine Mountain Estates.” It would be fun, because all the “Texas Hearts” people are my age and older now.
Okay, all except the baby of the bunch, Antonia (sorry, girlfriend. I know you’re getting close to perimenopause by now).
Anyway, Hank and Sheila Johnson are back. And I think the others will be on their way soon.
I’m looking forward to it.