Lisa Pietsch writes about terrorists and terrorism — and as a former US Air Force military cop you can trust the details she packs in her stories. So I’m thrilled to welcome her back today as she relates how her characters hijacked her NaNoWriMo project.
The short version:
Two characters hijacked my story.
The long version:
It was National Novel Writing Month (November 2009) and I was working on the fourth manuscript in my Task Force 125 series. I wanted to keep the story short since it would be released in ebook format and action packed since that’s what my characters and readers enjoy. My goal was to shoot for 35000 words which is smack dab in the middle of Novella word counts.
I started writing and things were going swimmingly when my main character needed to hire a bodyguard. So I tapped on the take-out window of my imagination and said “One bodyguard please, easy on the eyes”. Within seconds, this is the character that came out.
Jay Stanstead was a career man in the British Special Air Service (SAS). He spent twenty years jumping out of planes, cut more throats than he cared to count and drank more pints than he could remember. He’d invested his money well and had a comfortable retirement courtesy of the crown but his life was missing something he couldn’t live without – action. On the suggestion of a mate, he met with an American named Brock Benjamin who ran a private military company that specialized in providing freelance work for guys with a certain type of military experience. Jay enjoyed the freelance work and made a good reputation for himself. One day, Brock called him and two other men in for a special job. Brock showed them a photo of a woman and explained that she was an international businesswoman who needed a personal security specialist, a bodyguard.
No woman, real or photographed, had ever made Jay’s heart stop until that day.
Jay wanted this client. He had to have this client.
The pay was excellent and the conditions guaranteed were first class. All three men expressed an interest in the job.
Brock stood, smiled and announced he expected to see one man in his office in ten minutes after they’d worked it out amongst themselves.
Jay broke bones that day to be a bodyguard, to be Sarah Stevens’ bodyguard.
Jay was much more than I was expecting and I must admit my heroine was a bit surprised too. Not only that, but two of my most macho characters developed man crushes (the “wow, I want to be like him” kind as opposed to the “wow, I want to sleep with him” sort). So Jay, this charming British action man jumped into the story and created some fantastic scenes.
I was totally enamored with Jay for about a week when a new character showed up.
Giselle Dumais is in her early sixties and still grabbing life, and men, by the balls. If it is hot and at least twenty years her junior she’ll try to mount it. She has an oral fixation and is either chain smoking her unfiltered Moroccan cigarettes or enjoying the company of a younger man in her bed. Either way, she’s smoking something.
This woman threw such a twist of comedy into the manuscript that my face hurt from laughing. She was French, bold and oh so brazen. She reminded me very much of my mamere (my family is originally from France and only a few generations out of Canada).
All of the books in the Task Force 125: American Swift series feature a team of six main characters. Sarah Stevens is the heroine and she works with Vince (a former U.S. Marine), Will (former U.S. Navy), Brian (former U.S. Navy SEAL), Jason (former U.S. Army Green Beret) and Chris (FBI Intelligence Analyst). They all work for the C.I.A.’s Special Activities Division as Paramilitary Operations Officers (what one may commonly refer to as super spies).
I know those characters and expect certain behaviors from them but I was just not expecting Jay and Giselle. They’ve hijacked the story with action, romance and laughter and I have to say this story will be much longer than 35,000 words!
If there is one thing I love about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) it is the speed with which these surprises pop up.
If you’d like to find out more about my characters and win a free copy of the first book in the Task Force 125: American Swift series, The Path to Freedom, leave a comment telling me who your favorite action hero or cougar is and why they are.
Thanks for reading!
Lisa (Thibault) Pietsch is a Franco-American novelist who lives in Denver with her Air Force husband, two young sons and two very large dogs. You can find her and her stories online at www.LisaPietsch.com.
(You can also follow Lisa on Twitter.)