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7 March 2011

Jean Hart Stewart visits my blog as part of her Goddess Fish Blog Tour


Although it's Monday, I'm saving my 'Monday's Word' for next week because I have a special guest today, Jean Hart Stewart.  She's currently touring with her latest historical novel FOR LOVE IS NEW and today she's going to talk to us about her feelings on that perenniel question -
Plot or characters? So without more ado, over to you Jean.


Which comes first? Just like the chicken and egg question, it’s impossible for me to separate the two.

I generally start a new book with the beginning and the end firmly in mind. Sometimes even the last paragraph is clear in my mind and I quickly write it down. My subconscious works overtime when thinking about a new book and I’ll wake in the morning with the characters clearly defined. Except for their names.  Names sometime give me a hard time, and they’re so important. I go to Google for lists of names, generally British, and try to tie them down to the era I’m writing about. The name must be right, as it defines the character even more both in my mind and in the reader’s. I don’t fully know him until I name him.

So I’ve got the characters, even if sometimes temporarily nameless, and the basic plot. The part that really bogs me down is the dreaded, soggy middle. That’s often a huge, worrisome blank. If it stays blank too long, I tend to call on my subconscious deliberately. I’ll concentrate on the known beginning and end, and often waken about two in the morning with an idea of how to take my beautiful heroine and hunky hero where I want them to go. I’ve learned to either write a few notes on the pad by my bed, or else memorize some key words before I fall back to sleep
Usually in the morning I have enough clues to take the story further. Not in the intriguing detail of my dream-like sojourn, but enough to build on.

Sounds crazy, but for me it works.

I would dearly love to know how any writers out there handle their plotting. Or if a reader, please tell me if I wrote what you thought I would. Or do you think all writers are basically a little crazy?

Thank you so much, Jean, and I think most of us are proably slave to our subconscious. (Or is it our errant muses?)  While we're pondering Jean's question, let's hear a bit more about her book.


Lord Christian Cherne, recently invalided out of the Penninsular Army, is looking forward to the pleasures of London. He has one duty to discharge before he searches for a mistress. He must offer his protection to Lady Juliet Sloan. Paul Sloan was killed in battle, leaving Christian a horrifying letter of his sadistic treatment at the hands of Roger Gullis. To his dismay, Christian finds Gullis sitting in Lady Juliet’s parlor when he comes to call. All his plans must now concentrate on keeping Juliet safe. Christian further suspects Gullis of being a traitor and his fears for Juliet increase.

Juliet is attracted, but suspicious of which man is the traitor. As attraction between Juliet and Christian grows, Gullis turns cruelly vengeful.

Will Juliet and Christian be able to thwart Gullis’ plans to help bring Napoleon back to power, even as he finds wicked retribution for his rejection by the two lovers he has come to hate? 


London, January 2, 1815

 “You’re as antsy as a debutante at her first ball, Christian. What in bloody hell is wrong with you?”
Christian threw his best friend an apologetic smile.
“I’ve spent three dammed days at the War Ministry and finally agreed to take an occasional job for them. I didn’t want to do even that. I don’t want to be tied down in any way. Any way at all. And now I must fulfill one last unwanted obligation and call on a certain Miss Juliet Sloan.”
Delaney whistled long and low. “Not really a hardship, my friend. I’ve never met her, but she’s reputed to be a beauty.”
Christian snorted. “I don’t care about getting tied up with a virtuous woman, Delaney, no matter how beautiful. All during this damnable war I dreamed about getting home. I want to start living the life of a carefree bachelor, and all I get is more obligations thrown at me. I want to sample every wicked pleasure London has to offer. Virtuous women are not on the list.”
Delaney laughed out loud at this uncharacteristic outburst.
“Satan’s bones, but you’re really stirred, aren’t you? Make your damned duty call and get it over with."

For Love is New is Now Available !
      Print & eBook Amazon      Print & eBook Passion In Print
 Thank you so much Jean, it's been such a pleasure to have you here and to find out more about your wonderful book. (I love the shaggy dog on your cover, and it's always great to meet fellow animal lovers.) Wishing you continued success and many sales.

Wasn't that an intriguing excerpt?  Don't forget to comment for your chance to win Jean's prize.

Jean will be giving away a download of one of her books (winner's choice) to one randomly chosen commenter on EACH of her tour appearances. She will award the winner's choice of print books to the commenter with the best comment at the end of the tour.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends 11th March and is open to all.

Jean's tour continues tomorrow at
Don't forget - the more comments you leave the greater your chance of winning!