Some authors specialize in standalone tales while others create series. I find that I write a little of each, depending on how the characters speak to me. (Yes, I'm strange that way because I hear fictional voices.)
The seeds for my latest novel, Focus On Love, were planted years ago while I was writing Dance Over Me. In that first story, I had a devious diva as the antagonist...and in order to make her a believable character, I brainstormed a possible redemption story just in case I got to write more stories in the dinner theater setting. Except in order to turn the brat's life around, I'd need some time to pass between the first book and the telling of her story.
But which character from the cast could also carry a story of her own? After a little thought, I landed on the first heroine's roommate, Liz. All I really knew about her was that she was an actress with a photography hobby and a chip on her shoulder about God. How could I create a story from that?
First, I've learned to ask why. Why was photography just a hobby? Why did she resent God's work in her life? I dug deep with more questions until I uncovered the moment in her past when everything changed. When she turned her back on her family, the rules, and her childhood faith in order to pursue freedom instead.
Next, I asked what it would take to change her mind. I decided to have her meet someone what had given up his freedom because of his family. Since Ryan came wrapped in a handsome, Montana cowboy package, she would take a closer look...and see love in action. Because of his faith and living example on behalf of his family, she would learn to focus on love instead of religious rituals and her life would be changed.
With the seeds of Liz and Ryan's story planted, I found myself circling back to my original theme from the first book in the series. In Zephaniah 3:17, it says "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
That word rejoice means to whirl about and can be translated dance. Thus the title Dance Over Me. And I already knew the last story would involve a diva learning to sing a new song. Which left the message "he will quiet you with his love" for Liz as she learned to focus on God.
Just like that, I had the themes for an entire series all tied together under the umbrella of God's amazing love. Dance. Focus. Sing.
I’ve got a launch-wide bundle of autographed books and a Shutterfly gift card giveaway running from February 1st through the 24th. Here’s the link to that: https://candeefick.com/giveaways/focus-love-prize-bundle/There’s also a photo contest running through the 17th using the hashtag #FocusOnLove
About the book:
Free-spirited Elizabeth Foster turned her back on her father's photography business to pursue musical theater, but a career on the stage remains second to a career behind the camera. The possibility of a one-show contract means she's a few weeks from unemployment forcing her home, and her dreams of pursuing professional photography reemerge. With photography and theater opportunities unfolding before her, Elizabeth faces her biggest challenge yet—listening to her heart.
Meanwhile, sought-after photographer Ryan Callahan has put his career on hold to help his sister's family, but the promise of a bigger assignment could lure him away so he can begin building a family of his own. With professional opportunities and personal obligations pulling at him, Ryan faces his toughest challenge—balancing family, relationships, and work.
If given the choice, what dreams would develop for Elizabeth and Ryan? And will they learn to trust each other enough to focus on love?
BIO: Candee Fick is a multi-published author in both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job, writing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.