After writing crime novels for nearly 30 years, my writing took on a heartfelt change with The Builder, a contemporary romance set on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Released as an eBook exclusively on Amazon.com, The Builder began 15 years ago as a screenplay collaboration between with John Bensink, an established television writer. It was a story we both believed in, but other projects seemed to push it aside. Plus, it was a new genre for me, and I think it took me a while to feel comfortable writing a romance novel.
The breakthrough began in 2007. My dad, with whom I was practicing law, began a long battle with health issues, and during that time I struggled to continue a new crime novel, which I eventually abandoned to begin writing a love story set in Ocean City.
I spent three years writing that other romance novel, and did it more as an escape from reality than the potential for commercial success. My agent kept warning me the book was going to end up being too long, and 700-plus pages later, she was right. But I finished the manuscript, which ultimately inspired me to get back to The Builder.
John Bensink was on board to expand the screenplay to a novel, and we returned to work. I transformed the outline into the completed manuscript, while John undertook the duties of editor, thereby returning us to the respective roles we each held when we met in New York City in the 1980's.
It's very different to see a romance novel in my booklist, but I'm extremely pleased with the way it turned out. And while I'm currently working on a new crime novel, I hope for more romance titles in the future.