Teaser Tuesday: Miss Gwen

As many of you know, I’m currently working on Miss Gwen’s book, oh so cleverly titled Pink X.

Miss Gwen is being, shall we say… obstructive. I’m currently on the eighteenth version of Chapter One. Let’s hope that this is the final one.

I’d love to say that this is unusual, but it isn’t. Some books take more writing into than others. Sometimes it’s a matter of pacing, of trying to find just the right place to enter the narrative. Night Jasmine was one of those books. I originally opened the book with Robert and had to move it back around to Charlotte.

Other times, the problem has to do with the character. The writing and the re-writing become a process of pulling away the layers to get at the heart of who this person is and what makes her tick. Mistletoe was that kind of book for me. I knew Turnip rather well, but Arabella was a mystery to me– at least, until I’d rewritten Chapter One a half dozen times.

You would think, having been intimately acquainted with Miss Gwen for nine books now, that she would be easier to write. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The face Miss Gwen shows to the world is as full of prickles as a hedgehog’s carapace (does a hedgehog have a carapace? never mind). I wrote cranky Gwen, defiant Gwen, and selfish Gwen before managing, FINALLY, to make it down to what I believe is finally the real, rock-bottom Gwen.

The word I’d use to describe this Gwen? Gallant. There’s a d’Artagnan element to her (let’s ignore the fact that Dumas hadn’t written it yet). Beneath that stern, chaperone exterior, there’s a swashbuckling adventurer waiting to be unleashed on the world. She’s fearless, passionate, and obstinately loyal, and she masks all of these with that protective armor of prickles, with snorts and sarcasm and a particularly pointy parasol.

Now that I’ve got down to the essential Gwen-ness of Gwen, I’m hoping she’ll stop being so obstructive and let the book start cracking along!


  1. Melissa on May 1, 2012 at 8:20 am

    That dovetails (or dovedales?) neatly with Miss Gwen’s role as a pirate captain in Garden Intrigue. I’m glad she’s giving you more peeks into her private privateer. Let’s hope Miss Gwen can unbuckle and unleash a bit in Pink IX. 🙂
    (Ask J. about the SW Unleashed line…xtreme action figures!)

  2. Jeffrey on May 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Miss Gwen is one of my very favorite characters and in The Garden Intrigue you wrote she showed a “sprightly figure.” I’ll predict that behind that prickly exterior lurks a woman full of passion and feeling.

  3. Jessica S. on May 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Just don’t forget the scene where she sings Cole Porter…I have been looking forward to that for a long, long time 🙂

  4. Angie on May 1, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I’m very excited to see what you do with Miss Gwen’s story. I love how she has developed throughout the series (particularly when she starts to show off her swash-buckling tendencies in Emerald Ring!)and can’t wait to see what kind of a leading lady she will be 🙂

  5. Elizabeth P on May 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I love that Miss Gwen is finally getting a book of her own. I always pictured her prickly and confident on the outside but sad on the inside. Looking forward to her book!

  6. Shannon M. Howell on May 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

    It is a relief to know that established authors have the same problem (and go through draft upon draft) as well. Sorry she was being difficult.

    Now, as to my own difficult characters, I’ve got 3 who refuse to be named. They are currently XXX, YYY, and ZZZ (for ease of “replace all” when they finally consent to being named.

  7. Sheila on May 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I can’t wait for more, and I do hope you include her back story, i.e. why she got so prickly. This is going to be wonderful !

  8. Jane on May 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    It’s both heartening and alarming that you still have uncooperative characters after nine novels! Thanks for the insight into your writing process.

    Hmm, maybe the reason Firousi’s being so sulky is that I just haven’t given her enough to do. She’s used to running things….Back to work!

  9. Mara P on May 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Miss Gwen reminds me of Amelia Peabody from the CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK series. Both are very confident, bold and parasol wielding ladies.

    No one wants to see either lady come at you with a “parasol.”

  10. Lauren on May 2, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Mara, I’ve often thought that Miss Gwen is what Amelia Peabody might have become without the independent income and Emerson….

  11. suzan on May 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I have loved Miss Gwen thruout the novels. I’m very much looking forward to this new book. She certainly has alot of surprises up her sleeve. I love the prickliness but somewhere in there is tenderness also.

  12. Céline on May 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    As I told you on your FB page, I think Miss Gwen sailed to France to possess my body without my consent, which left me sharing my soul with her and she had such a strong mind that I WANTED to poke those people with this black pointy umbrella….. but i am really really curious to read the true her. The real true her.
    Will we see Jane a bit in the book?
    (Do you already know who will be Jane’s undoing? i know, i’m a bit curious and way too far in the future!)

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