UPDATE: The winner of the giveaway copy of Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed is Blodeuedd! Congratulations, and we’ll be in touch to get your address details. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment.
I’m so pleased to welcome fellow Australian author, Anna Campbell, back to Magical Musings. Anna last guest blogged here in 2008. Far too long! And we’re very happy to have her back.
Do cats eat baklava? Somehow I doubt it!
Thanks so much for having me as your guest today, Magical Musers. I love this site – I love how it’s a mixture of great stuff for writers and readers. Especially as I place myself firmly in both camps.
Do you guys know about saving the cat? Not a literal cat, although I’m sure you’d all be willing to dive into a burning building to save a moggy. It’s based on a very influential idea by the late Blake Snyder who wrote a series of books featuring ‘save the cat’ in the title. You know, SAVE THE CAT: THE LAST BOOK ON SCREENWRITING YOU’LL EVER NEED; SAVE THE CAT STRIKES BACK; SAVE THE CAT GOES TO THE MOVIES; SAVE THE CAT CLEANS ANNA CAMPBELL’S BATHROOM…
Sorry, that last one just snuck in from my lurid fantasy life.
Snyder’s idea wasn’t about setting up animal rescue homes instead of trying to write for a living. It was a very clever take on how you introduce characters, especially characters who at first glance are flawed or difficult or unlikeable or even irredeemable. This was particularly useful for a writer like me because if you’ve read a lot of Anna Campbell books, you’ll know that often either hero or heroine aren’t immediately the sort of people you’d want to invite for afternoon tea (perhaps with Greek pastries!).
Snyder’s take on this is you can have horribly flawed characters but there needs to be a glimmer of light, some sign that they are capable of redemption. One way to do that is to have your awful, snide hero dive into a burning building to save the cat (aha, that makes sense of the title at last!) early in the book. Readers melt at big strong guy saving wittle cutey fwuffy cwitter and therefore they’ll stick with that hero until he shows signs of redemption in his dealings with the heroine. Brilliant!
In SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, my latest historical romance from Grand Central Publishing (out 25th September), the hero Jonas Merrick isn’t immediately sympathetic. He’s bitter and solitary and so eager for revenge against his vile cousin, he really doesn’t care who else gets hurt in the process. Then he meets my heroine Sidonie Forsythe and gradually he starts to change into the better man who has always lurked unfulfilled in his black heart.
There’s definitely a few save the cat moments at the start of the book, indicating that Jonas isn’t all bad. And the moments I had the most fun with involved food! Even on the first night, when Sidonie turns up to take her sister’s place in Jonas’s bed, he makes sure she eats something after her long and difficult journey. Later in the book, I wrote a fun scene where the characters swap information about themselves (very reluctantly), sweetened with a tray full of Greek pastries. How can Sidonie resist seduction by baklava? And of course, she doesn’t!
The reader recognizes that this care for Sidonie’s physical wellbeing is a sign that Jonas is starting to care for her, much as he fights against the vulnerability of falling in love. Awww!
For those wishing to use baklava for their own seductive purposes, here are two recipes:
You can read the blurb and an excerpt for SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED on my website: http://annacampbell.info/rogue.html
P.S. No cats were harmed in the creation of this blog. MIAOWWWWWWWW! Oops, just stood on an imaginary cat. Cancel that!
So are you familiar with the Save the Cat principle? Can you think of any save the cat moments in your favorite books or movies? Have you tried baklava? I’ve got a signed copy of that cat-lovin’ book SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED for one commenter today. Good luck!