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Laura Bradford | When a Bludgeoning (or a strangling…or a poisoning…or a…) Just Won’t Do

February 18, 2010

LAURA BRADFORDKAYLA'S DADDYIt started just like any other story I’ve ever written. I was in the car, driving my kids to school, when a ten-second newsbyte on the radio caught my attention.

A decades-old letter was found behind a desk in a Pennsylvania post office–a letter that went undelivered for forty plus years. I imagine the radio guy said something else, that he filled in a few more facts…but if he did, I didn’t hear him.

Because I was stuck on the letter…

What if the letter had carried news of an inheritance or condolences over a lost family member? What if it had been a cry for help?

Before we reached the school parking lot, I knew I had the makings of a new book. As a writer, you just know these things.

Over the course of the next few months, the story percolated in my mind. What should the letter say? Who sent it? Who was the intended recipient? What happened as a result of it not arriving at its intended destination?

I considered characters–good guys and bad guys. I considered potential motives. I even gave thought to murder weapons.

But no matter how hard I thought about the letter or how many cool ideas I came up with, I had one problem I couldn’t ignore.

No one wanted to die.

No one.

As a mystery writer, that’s a problem. A very big problem.

Even worse, that little writer voice that calls the shots in my life demanded I write it as a romance.

A romance!

Now don’t get me wrong, I respect romance writers. They’re a talented group of people who can twist the basic “boy meets girl” plotline in amazing ways.

But I wasn’t a romance writer.

And, truth be told, I wasn’t really a romance reader, either.

Yet the voice continued, gnawing at my ever thought for months. Write a romance, it would say.

Uh…no, I would say.

Write a romance, it would say.

Uh…hello? Didn’t you hear me the first time, I’d say.

Fortunately for me, I got tired of fighting.

I sat in front of the keyboard and wrote a romance that surrounds a decades-old letter–a letter that had been lost behind a desk in a post office. And as I wrote, I became hooked…

On the writing…

And the story…

And the genre…

Just last month, Kayla’s Daddy debuted with Harlequin American Romance. It earned a 4 ½ star “Top Pick” from RT Magazine and was selected to kick off the line’s “Babies and Bachelors” year long series.

My book.

My romance.

And it’s all because the voice knew…

And I finally listened.

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