I need to confess something. I frigging love cemeteries. The old, beautiful ones that date back well over a hundred years. When I lived in London, I would stroll through Brompton Cemetery to let my mind wander. It’s a very important part of my writing process. Long walks to spur my creative juices.
When I moved back to Boston, I missed Brompton. But I found a good substitute: Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass. The first time there, an idea for a story flooded my mind. I continued walking for several hours for the idea to wash over me completely.
Now, this means just the kernel. Not the entire story. That usually takes more time to come to life.
But I had a very clear idea of a woman who had lost her wife, visiting the cemetery, thinking she’d never find a love like the one she had.
I started writing the book with the opening scene in the cemetery.
This was the first draft of Heart of Ice, the age-gap romance cowritten with Miranda MacLeod. Our cowriting process involves me penning the first draft, Miranda working on the second draft, and then both of us working on the remaining drafts until it’s ready for publication.
The problem was, about 30k into Ice, I called Miranda and said, “I think I just wrote 30k of backstory.”
She laughed, because it’s one of my habits, and it’s a stubborn part of my process for how I get to know my characters. You see, I love characters. They speak to me. All the time!
Miranda read what I had so far and agreed with me. Every word I’d written had to be chucked. Or, at least not appear in the actual novel.
A few days later, we met up in Concord to discuss the story. The good news was we had a firm grasp of Laurie’s story. Jack, the younger love interest, took a bit more time to let us in. This is another aspect of my process. I don’t like to rush a story. If a character needs more time to let me in, I allow for it to happen kinda naturally.
Our meeting took place sometime in January, or perhaps February (days, weeks, and months are muddled now). I know for certain it was pre-COVID, because at the time, we planned to meet every two weeks in Concord, which was a short train ride away for me, to go over the chapters we finished.
Ah, we were so naïve!
After my trip to London in early March, I ended up getting pretty sick, so Ice had to take a back seat. Luckily, I had drafted a large portion before leaving the country, allowing Miranda to work on it while I was doing my darndest to get better.
By the time I came back to life, so had the story. Miranda is a whiz with second drafts.
We started working diligently on it, and I have to admit, I think this is one of my better, if not the best story that’s come out of me. It looks nothing like the original 30k, and that’s a very good thing.
PS: While the cemetery doesn’t play a role in the story, Miranda let me bury Laurie’s wife there. So out of the original 30k, only the burial spot remained in the novel.
What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?
Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.
Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.
A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.
Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?
Best-selling lesbian fiction authors TB Markinson & Miranda MacLeod have written a scorching ice queen romance about love striking twice. Read it today!