9 May 2015

Guest Post by A Perfect Man author Cecilia Dominic

How far will she go to find her perfect man? How far will he go to be one?
When Karen Hardeman sets foot on the Foothills University campus, it’s her first step toward proving her abusive ex wrong. Just her luck, her first writing assignment in Intro to Romance sends her in search of the perfect hero—a quest she’s never managed to conquer.
Worse, her professor forces her to collaborate with the most overconfident, annoying guy in the class.
Seth Sayers is also at Foothills to find new direction—preferably one that takes him far away from the family drama that’s followed him since his father’s death. He didn’t mean to humiliate Karen by rewriting her manuscript from the hero’s point of view. He blames the painkillers the ER doctor gave him after stitching up a wine-induced cut on his hand.
As their collaboration progresses, Karen begins to trust Seth with her manuscript, then maybe a little piece of her heart. But Seth’s half-brother resurrects Seth’s suspicions about his father’s death. Until he finds the truth, he can’t be the hero in anyone’s life. Even his own.
Warning: Some alcohol consumption. Okay, writer amounts of alcohol consumption. There are also some adult situations, but nothing too explicit. It is a romance-writing class, after all.
A Perfect Man will be released May 12 from Samhain Publishing. If you’d like to read the first part of the first chapter, please check out: http://ceciliadominic.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-perfect-man-first-chapter-and.html

The inspiration for A Perfect Man
I started writing A Perfect Man in June 2007. I know this is the date because I have a journal I started at the same time titled “M.F.A. in Genre Fiction Process Journal.” I wasn’t in a real Masters of Fine Arts program, but it sounded very tempting. I was two years out of school, still at my first job, married less than three years, and figuring out adulthood. I’d already tried to avoid “adulting” as long as possible by going to graduate school, but they kicked me out once I got my doctorate in clinical psychology.
In 2007, I would have loved to go back to school, but the husband made it quite clear that a Ph.D. was a terminal degree, and he wanted the option to go back, so no more school for me. Plus, as I wrote in my journal, I didn’t want to do a regular fiction M.F.A., but all my searches for “genre fiction MFA” came up with rants about how M.FA. programs focus on “unpublishable” literature. Plus, although I’d written a couple of books at that point, I wasn’t published, and I felt I needed something more structured to help me get my writing up to publishable levels. So that’s when I came up with the idea for a self-study Masters of Fine Arts in genre fiction program with each semester focusing on a different genre but keeping the same group of characters. I would write a book in that genre each semester, just as my characters do, except I was nicer to them and assigned novellas rather than full-length novels.
Oh, and it gave me the excuse to buy and read more books – always a plus. As I wrote in my journal entry under how this was going to happen, “A careful organization and recording of time spent. Clear goals that mean something. Gadgets and books (smiley face).” Of course the gadgets in 2007 were different from what they are now. Touchscreens were just coming into use, and I didn’t even have a smartphone yet. I had also had my first laptop for about a year or so, and I still had a desktop at home. My cats didn’t appreciate the progression of technology from large, warm monitor to laptop screens.
The first question was, what genre should I start with? I was interested in romance and enjoyed reading it, especially chick lit, so that’s where I began. According to my journal, I also planned to do mystery and speculative. I guess I wasn’t that into historical at the time, but that was also before I discovered steampunk. I picked up romance genre-focused books like Leigh Michaels’ On Writing Romance as well as some general writing books.
So I had my plan, but where would I place this program for my characters? I went to the University of Georgia for my Masters and Ph.D. degrees and loved living in Athens, so I based Foothills University on UGA and set it in the North Georgia mountains. I put a few “Easter eggs” in the book that those familiar with UGA’s campus will recognize.
The next question was who would teach the course? Apparently I was more than a little frustrated with my failure to get published because the character of Doctor Sue Ellen Forrester-Schmidt, or Dr. F-This as my characters come to call her, is like the personification of a form rejection letter – cold, uncaring, and impersonal. I made sure to tell my Samhain editor, who is the opposite of Sue Ellen, that I wrote Dr. F-This long before I met her.
Finally, my hero and heroine were several years in the making, and both went through a lot of revisions before I finally finished the book. Originally the book was just from Karen’s point of view. She was a lot like me when I started graduate school, and she developed her own personality in progressive drafts as I got a better idea of her internal conflict. Seth’s perspective came later when I realized he needed to have his say, too. He was fascinating to write as he struggled to adopt more of the alpha traits he was learning about while maintaining his sensitivity and trying to be a good example for his younger brother.
As happens with many students, I was engaged in this particular course of study much longer than I originally planned, definitely more than a semester. By the time I finished A Perfect Man, I probably could have gotten than M.F.A. degree. Writing the book ended up being even more of a learning experience that I anticipated, especially with regard to character development, so I’m glad I took my time with it. Perhaps someday I’ll find an M.F.A. program similar to the fictional one at Foothills University, but meanwhile I’ll continue writing and learning on my own and with the help of great professional writing organizations like the Georgia Romance Writers.
Seth and Karen meet to write together in coffee shops around Foothills. What’s your idea of a perfect date? Comment below for the chance to win a $5 Starbucks gift card. Please include your email address with your comment so Cecilia knows how to get in touch with you if you win.

Cecilia Dominic became a clinical psychologist because she's fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn't stop writing fiction. By day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction that keeps her readers turning pages past bedtime. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she's been told, is a good number of each. She has been published in short story and novel-length fiction and currently writes urban fantasy, new adult contemporary, and steampunk for Samhain Publishing.

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1 comment:

Hiya! Thanks so much for stopping by the Fiction Dreams site. If you have the time, I'd love to hear from you so please do leave a comment :D xx