Before I can really dive into the plot of a new project, I usually need to map out the relationship between the hero and heroine. Once I have a handle on what obstacles they’re facing, the very compelling reasons they have to surmount those obstacles, and how and when they’re going to overcome them, the rest of the story comes together much more smoothly. This also helps me to keep my focus where it needs to be – on the characters.
When I read or write a book, I’m most interested in the characters. I need a vehicle into the story, a narrator that I can relate to on some level, no matter how small. World building is fun, and I can get lost in the details of a new universe for weeks. But I can never let my readers get lost in those worlds. It’s my job to guide them through the sights, and for that, I need to create characters the readers enjoy spending time with (even if they spend much of that time yelling at them to admit they’re in love with each other already!).