It’s been soooooooooooooooo long since I blogged…5 months, to be exact. But when The Whispered Kisswas chosen as this week’s “featured title” on my site, I was asked to blog about it, and decided this would be just the perfect thing to get me started…again. (*The Whispered Kiss being featured at www.marcialynnmcclure.com means that all versions of the book are on sale all week! Hardcover, softcover and e-book! So if you’ve been needing extra copies, or haven’t read it at all, here’s a chance to get a copy cheap, by the way. )
The truth is that, The Whispered Kiss is one of my favorite books! Like very book ever written in the entire world, it gets some guff from reviewers here and there (mostly for being too sappy, or because of Coquette’s first name), but it’s honestly one that I love, and that I loved writing.
When I was getting ready to write this blog, my mind was a void (which it often is, ha ha!). I couldn’t get started, so I asked friends to ‘jump my battery’ so to speak, and give me some suggestions of things they’d like to know about The Whispered Kiss and it’s origins.
I’m going to start with Teya’s posted comment: “I love the beauty and the beast reflection of the book. My question is, was that it’s inspiration and if so why and if not how did it come be like that?”
Well, Teya…bingo! Beauty and the Beast was ABSOLUTELY my inspiration for the book! I’ve always, always loved the story of Beauty in the Beast, and would still tag it as my favorite fairy tale…or at least in my top two. One reason I love the Beauty and the Beast theme, is because the thread of Beauty and the Beast can run through so many different real-life situations. If you don’t take the beast part as literal (a guy who physically turns into an animal-type thing), you can actually see Beauty and the Beast stories all around you. I think that’s why the idea resonates so strongly in me…and it’s what inspired me to write The Whispered Kiss.
Even though The Whispered Kiss is a historical romance, the wounded bad-boy theme is believable—because haven’t we all known a situation like Valor’s? Whether it’s the boy or the girl in a relationship, we’ve all known someone who has been brutally injured emotionally and has had to go through a healing process…one that often includes anger, bitterness and resentment. Heck! most of us have our own personal experiences on some level, that helps us relate to Valor.
Next I’d like to address Kelsie’s suggestion. She wrote, “I always like to hear the history of the characters names, any inspiration and trivia tidbits.”
Kelsie’s comment is kind of fun for me, because one place where The Whispered Kiss once got hashed was by a reader who went on and on about how much she hated Coquette’s name. Thick skin or not, I am upset when someone trashes one of my character’s names. After all, you might as well tell me you hate one of my kids’s names, right? But I so so soooooooooo love Coquette’s name! Since Beauty in the Beast is oft times associated with a French setting (being that the first published telling of it was La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740), I wanted to pay tribute to that by using a French name for the heroine. However, my main reason for naming the heroine, Coquette, is because I LOVE the word…and I have loved it since the first time I ever heard Bing Crosby sing, “Katrina” in Disney’s animated version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
“And yet when you’ve met, that little coquette, Katrina…you’ve lost your heart!” the song goes.
In truth, the word coquette most literally means a woman who flirts…and it’s also a species of hummingbird. But it can also mean, enchantress…which is the definition I choose to acknowledge with my heroine in The Whispered Kiss. To me, Coquette is a very pretty name that brings to mind femininity and the appearance of vulnerability.
Of course, these days, the qualities of femininity and the appearance of vulnerability are sometimes considered weaknesses in a woman. But I whole-heartedly disagree. First of all, femininity is fun, soft, nurturing and important. And as for the appearance of vulnerability…just because a woman inspires protective instincts in a man, the world should not assume she’s weak or not empowered. The phrase “Steel Magnolias” says it all. So there you have my thinking behind naming Coquette. A synopsis would be, she’s a very feminine woman, inspires the protective instincts in a man, yet is strong in spirit, mind and body.
As for Valor…well the name just came to me as sounding really cool…and then a moment later, I realized that the meaning of the name fit what Valor is. Though he slipped up for a time and became bitter and resentful…vindictive for a moment even…Valor literally means: determination and boldness in facing danger, especially in battle; heroic courage and bravery. That’s what Valor exemplifies to me at his best—what Coquette needs to unearth in him by healing his heart.
Yikes! That turned out to be a pretty long explanation of my inspiration for the names of the hero and heroine in this book. Sorry.
Now, my friend, Astasia, had several questions for me. I’ve listed, and answered them below.
What playlist did you listen to while writing this? I listened to a playlist I compiled of pieces by my favorite composer, Brian Crain. Some of the titles of the tracks I listened to are, A Walk in the Forest, A Voice From the Past, The Secret Letter, Eclipse of the Moon and Crimson Sky. Brian Crain is AWESOME!!! His music is what will be the intro on the audio editions of my books. ?
Which scene was your favorite to write? Oooo! I have no idea! I could tell you what my favorite scenes are…but those weren’t necessarily my favorite to write. Um…I did like writing the one where Valor and Coquette are at the dinner party and she’s freaked out by Lord Springhill and Valor picks up on it and stuff.
Do you have a ceiling mural? Ha ha! Nope! My bedroom has a sign over the door that reads, “An Autumn Haven,” and it’s all about coziness and warmth.
Did you come up with the ‘whispered kiss’ idea or were you introduced to it? Ha ha! Katie asked the same question. I was never introduced to it, that I remember. I just thought it would be deliciously romantic! (I must mention that, the ‘mumbling against my mouth’ kisses are ones I know WELL from experience, however! )
What was your comfort/brain food while writing this awesome book? Ha ha! The same as it always is…a package of Milk Chocolate Chips and a jar of Jiff Peanut Butter! Mmmmm!
Next, Kirsten asked: “What was your inspiration for the book? Why did you choose the specific timeline, place setting, and certain characters? Do you ever dream about your characters while you’re in the middle of writing the book (I ask because occasionally I’ll dream about the characters as I’m reading it!)?”
My inspiration for the book (other than the basic idea of Beauty and the Beast without the thread of magic in it), would totally be the simple fact that the idea for the title popped into my head while I was driving somewhere one day! It’s not the only time that’s happened…that I’ve thought of a book’s title before I’ve even thought of the concept for the story…but it was the first time it happened this way. Once the title popped in my head and I started thinking about it, the Beauty and the Beast plot thread began to simmer in my mind and Voila! Ha ha! I’m so weird, right?
As for the timeline, setting, etc…it’s simply what I imagined when I thought of Valor and Coquette’s romance…i.e. the surroundings in which I envisioned them.
And do I ever dream about my characters? Absolutely! Both waking and sleeping! To me, each story is real in my mind, you know? Like a movie, or memory. Though, maybe your dreams are a bit different. I did have a friend call me after she’d read The Heavenly Surrender years and years ago. She told me she dreamt all night about being on an airplane with Brevan…and that he was the most delicious kisser ever! Ha ha! ?
Okay, Marche asked me the question that is always, always a quandary for me. She asked, “Do you ever picture any celebrities when writing about your characters? Who would you pick to star in the movie (if it were made into one)?”
It might surprise you to know that, while I’m in the process of writing a book, I never ever picture celebrities! Each character has their own appearance in my mind, and that’s how I always see them. It’s also why I have trouble imagining who could play them if a book was ever made into a movie.
For instance, here’s one description of Valor from the book: “Her breathing stopped, her breath dying as she gazed on his perfect face, intense amber eyes, narrow and straight nose, square jaw, and strong chin. The brown of his hair, windblown, gave him the look of some wild predator.”
Honestly, I cannot think of one movie star that measures up to how I see Valor in my mind! Ha ha! I way open for suggestions!
One thing I did want to mention (because Jennie commented that the book frustrated her at first because of all the misunderstandings) is that, to me, that lack of communication and multiple misunderstandings thread in the book, is probably one of the things that makes the relationship so real. We can’t ever assume someone feels one way, for they might feel completely opposite of what it appears they do. We have to talk things out…communicate with one another. Otherwise misunderstandings begin to snowball…to fester and grow to a point that is ridiculous. I’m all about communication and working things out NOW…instead of waiting until a more convenient time. I think Valor and Coquette realized that in the end…and that’s how life is a lot of the time. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to suffer deep hurt and harm to learn important lessons.
Now for some Trivia Tidbits, as Kelsie suggested.
1. I LOVE Nutmeg! Honestly, quite often, I just take the jar of Nutmeg out of my spice cupboard, rip of the lid, and inhale to my heart’s content! It soothes my senses and gladdens my heart. It may sound weird, but to me, it’s TOTALL aroma-therapy! I also love the taste of it, and use Nutmeg in my French Toast, instead of cinnamon.
2. My friend Amy (one of the friends this book is dedicated to) is hysterical! I called her one day to talk to her about something in the book I was working on. Amy had been reading The Whispered Kiss chapter by chapter as I wrote it. Once I’d written the chapter where Valor and Coquette first kissed, Amy called me…and when I answered the phone she exclaimed, “Let the games begin! Do we get to see him naked?!” It made me laugh so so so soooooooooooo hard! She kills me!
3. Lions are one of my favorite, favorite, favorite wild animals! In fact, as a chilled I used to collect little lion figurines, stuffed animals, etc. I still love lions and wish I had a place to keep a collection now…but I already collect too many things I have to find places for, you know?
4. The very first cover of The Whispered Kiss featured a lavender rose against a muted gray background. That image was taken from a painting that famous artist Jared Barnes did just for me…just for the first The Whispered Kiss cover! Jared gave me the original painting and I cherish it more than he can ever imagine!
5. Of all the covers of my books that incorporate a human element (some I like and some I do not), The Whispered Kiss is one that I really like! Not that the people on the cover are really who I imagine Coquette and Valor to look like…but I just like the unusual color and the concept.
I’m not sure whether or not you found anything interesting in this little blog about The Whispered Kiss…but I hope you did! And just to make sure you find SOMETHING to like about it…how about some Almond Roca? Ha ha! So random, right?
Leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, etc…or e-mail a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org concerning anything to do with this blog about The Whispered Kiss, and I’ll choose someone to receive a 42 oz. can of Almond Roca! Ha ha! That’s like 100 pieces of Almond Roca! A dream come true, right?