Monday, December 17, 2012

Magdalen Braden: Love in Reality



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 Magdalen Braden, author of the delightful romance Love in Reality, is my guest this week.
I keep wondering how things work. That’s curiosity, which—if it doesn’t kill you—is not a bad thing. Trouble is, my curiosity was never a very marketable skill…until I started writing.
My first contemporary romance, Love in Reality, is out this week. It’s the story of a law student, Libby, who ends up on a fictional reality TV show, The Fishbowl, pretending to be her identical twin, who’s a bartender. What really triggered it was my curiosity about shows like Big Brother, where contestants are locked in a house with lots of cameras and microphones. Each contestant has to talk to a camera about how the game’s going. Those “journal entries” end up on each episode of the show.
Only you know they’re not spontaneous, right? Someone has to ask the right questions to get the player to talk about the aspects of the game the executive producer most cares about. Turns out, those people—the one’s asking the questions—are producers.
So I had in my mind a rather intimate relationship between the producer—a man—and the contestant, who’s female. What if their conversations—after the camera was turned off—got personal? What if the producer was attracted to the contestant? What if they fell in love?
Here’s the thing about writing: It’s all problem solving. Every idea I have generates scads of problems I then have to solve. How did a law student end up on a show that would never cast a law student? Why’s she pretending to be her twin sister? Why is the producer attracted to her so much that he’s willing to break the rules to spend time with her?
And, because of my background as a lawyer, I asked really arcane questions no one else would even think of, like whether the heroine has committed “fraud in the inducement”? (Short answer: no.)
Well, it took a few incarnations before I was confident I had a workable plot. (Mind you, by that time I’d written the entire book two-and-a-half times. But that’s a whole different blog post!)
Here, then, are the answers to the questions: Libby (our law student heroine) is working as her twin, Lissa, at the South Philadelphia bar because of a family friend’s cancer. The producer, Rand, wants “Lissa-the-bartender” on the show because he hates his boss, Marcy, who’d never cast anyone that confident. He doesn’t realize it’s really Libby he wants to go on the show. And she would never have accepted if her summer law job hadn’t fallen through.
Oh, and she thinks he’s cute. Which is okay, because he’s really attracted to her too. But she’s not being honest to him, and he’s not being honest with himself, and reality TV is a really screwy environment in which to fall in love, so…let’s just say, they have a lot of work to do before their happy-ever-after.
And all of that started with the image of a man asking a woman questions.
Magdalen is a 2012 Golden Heart® Finalist
You can find out more about her at her website: http://MagdalenBraden.comJoin Magdalen on Facebook
The Love in Reality page at Harmony Road Press: http://harmonyroad.com/books/love-in-reality 

12 comments:

Jerrie Alexander said...

Magdalen, great post. I love how you go through the 'what ifs' before starting your story.

Good luck with Love in Reality.

Ellis Vidler said...

I've read this book, and it's a fascinating look at reality TV as well as a good story. I love the characters, especially Libby. Magdalen, you've written a good story!

Magdalen said...

Thanks, Jerrie -- I love author's "How did you get that idea" explanations, and as I'm a visual learner, it really was from a single image. Also, I'm definitely a "child of television," so it's a moving image! LOL

Magdalen said...

Thanks, Ellis -- Interesting you say that about Libby. I think that's one of the things we, as authors, lose as we write a book: the ability to see our characters as our readers see them. I had a secretary once (this was ages ago, before they became administrative assistants) who was gorgeous--she looked like Princess Di only with red hair. Anyway, after a while, I couldn't see Valerie the way I had when I first met her. She'd just become her, if you know what I mean. Same thing with Libby.

So I'm glad you liked her. :-)

WS Gager said...

I will have to get this book. I've thought about writing one loosely based off the Bachelorette where she falls in love with the host who doesn't want to see her pick any of the bachelors. Thought it could be really funny. Maybe someday.
Wendy
W.S. Gager on Writing

Polly Iyer said...

Your book sounds like a lot of fun, Magdalen. When a writer become her character, everything's bound to rings true. She's not make-believe anymore, she's real. Best of luck with your debut.

Cindy Sample said...

What an interesting post, Magdalen. I enjoyed learning the method behind your plotting. And the storyline sounds terrific. Perfect for a TV movie as well!

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Magdalen,
How exciting to see you here, that your book is out and that it sounds like a fun read. Can't wait to get it.

I enjoyed your post posing the story questions, then how you made them work.

Best of luck and continued success in your writing career. Oh, and email me, I've got a couple of questions for you :)

Hugs
LA

Magdalen said...

Wendy -- There's a real life version of that: some crew member on the Bachelor had some "personal contact" with one of the women vying for the Bachelor's hand! I think they threw the woman out of the show. But yeah, a Chris Harrison character and the Bachelorette? I'd totally read that book!!

Magdalen said...

Polly -- What an interesting observation. I'm not anything like my characters, but they do grow out of some part of my jumbled-up insides. Then again, sometimes I steal them from out in the world. I just confessed in a Christmas card to "borrowing" a friend's first name and glorious head of hair for a character. LOL

Magdalen said...

Cindy -- Thanks for the vote of confidence. I agree, a TV movie would be fun. In fact, I adapted Book 3 of The Blackjack Quartet for a screenplay (part of my MFA course). It's harder than it looks. But if a TV producer for Lifetime came calling, I wouldn't hang up.

Magdalen said...

Hi, LA -- And thanks for introducing me to Ellis!

Email is on its way.