The making of PLAY WITH ME

Today I happened to stumble across an awesome review done on YouTube, where the reviewer pointed out that you couldn’t tell through the entire book who Liza was going to hook up with eventually. Believe it or not, there’s a simple reason for it.

I didn’t know either…

When I began telling this little novella in the heroine’s voice, her name was Samantha. And Samantha was always meant to be with Tony. At the beginning as much as at the very end. I brought in this hot guy, Ryan Hunter, just to give the whole book a little spice. The heroine should have a nice time with him, lots of fun, but nothing more. She was never meant to fall in love with Ryan. And that kiss she shared with Tony at the end of the book should have been the final one. The one that brought the two of them together.

But a funny thing happened that changed it all. During a break after I’d written half of the story, I read the book of an author friend of mine. Her heroine was named…tada…Samantha.

Damn, I thought. I can’t do that. Can’t name my heroine Sam right after reading that book. My friend might think I copied her. And that was the last thing I wanted. So I banged my head on the keyboard a few fierce times, trying to come up with a different name. A name that had it all, just like Samantha. It must be simple, there must be a way to cut it short, and it must go well with the last name Matthews. Finally I found what I needed. Liza. Short—Liz. It was perfect. In a simple replace command, I changed all the Sam’s in the book to Liz. Great. Job done. The only trouble with it? My heroine suddenly had gotten an entirely new personality.

(c) Courtney Boyett and Willie Totten

That’s what happens when you pick names for your characters. You also pick personalities with that name. Hair color, style of clothes, traits, habits, talents, and moods. For me, it all comes with the name. And Liza wasn’t how I had shaped my heroine so far.

Basically that meant I had to go back to paragraph one and make adjustments. And suddenly, the girl spoke to me in a way that Sam never had. I wanted her to be in love with Tony, but Liza just fell for Ryan. There was nothing I could do about it.

And apart from it all, one thing was crystal clear. Tony would hook up with one girl only. With Samantha. And if there was no Samantha in this book, then he wasn’t going to be the lucky winner in Play With Me.

You see…the simplest thing like renaming the heroine can change a story entirely. 😉

On that note, expect a great story in T IS FOR…

Keep reading! (Preferably my books. 😉 )



6 thoughts on “The making of PLAY WITH ME

  1. I’m glad that Liza and Tony didn’t end up together because I wanted her with Ryan. I do like stories where childhood friends get together. The M&M nickname was really cute. However, as soon as Ryan entered the picture all bets were off. He came in with a force. I was rooting for Ryan. Ryan never took Liza for granted. In a way I’m glad that Tony took Liza for granted because that opened the door for Ryan to get his chance. I like Liza a lot better with Ryan. Everyone thought of Liza as Tony’s groupy. I really liked Liza’s sense of humor in the book and her dynamic with Ryan. Plus, I like the twist that she didn’t end up with the best friend. It was different. If Ryan wasn’t in the book then I might have wanted her and Tony together. I do think Tony’s a good guy but he was a real idiot in PWM. I guess Tony was always meant to be with Sam..

    Does the Sam in Tony’s story have the similar personality the origional Sam had or is it completely different? What was the name of the book your friend wrote and what was it about? I can’t wait for Tony/Sam’s story. All the excerpts are great!

  2. You summed it up perfectly, Caitlin. I couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂
    Sam is a spunky one. Yes, she comes pretty close to the original, even though the original already had a lot of the”later” Liza. If that makes sense. I’m confusing myself right now, so just ignore me…

    However, the book I read was TORN by Christine Hughes. We once wrote for the same publisher. The book is paranormal YA but without real romance (just very little there).

  3. Thanks so your saying the Sam in book three is close to how you origionally pictured her? I really like the Sam that is in Tony’s story. I like that she seems to stand up to Cloey. In PWM, I saw Tony as more naive and a little innocent in some ways. He was friends with Liza for years and never put a move on her. However, Tony seems to have more heat in some of those excerpts with Sam. It seems like Sam brings out several different sides of Tony. I read the recent excerpt with Tony and Sam on a staircase. There is some real heat between them. I think Tony and Liza were more cutsey whereas Hunter and Liza were kind of steamy. It seems like like Tony and Sam will have a little more heat too.

  4. I absolutely loved Ryan and Liza! At first, I wanted Liza to be with Tony, but the second Ryan came into the scene, I was like “RYAN! RYAN! RYAN!” 😛

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