O’Connor, Liza: Ghost Lover
by Liza O’Connor
Completely broke and with a criminal record to boot, Senna Smith is one day from eviction from her apartment when Brendon, her promiscuous roommate from London, suggests she go to England, marry him, and manage his fortune. With few other options, she agrees to an open marriage. But she’ll never, ever, have sex with him, knowing if she falls in love with him, he’ll break her heart.
As trustee of Brendon’s family fortune, there is no way Brendon’s older brother, Garrison Durran, is going to let him marry a self-professed American gold-digger. As Senna tries to embrace castle life and English society for Brendon’s sake, Gar discovers Senna is the perfect woman for him–beautiful and intelligent, kind and caring. Now, if she wasn’t already engaged to his brother…
The ancestral ghost of Durran Castle has to intervene if the Durran brothers have any chance of an heir. He can’t leave them to fix matters on their own. They are useless buggers when it comes to love. As counselor to Gar, matchmaker for Brendon, and lover to Senna, a ghost’s work is never done.
CONTENT WARNING: Allergy warning: Ghost cat in book.
Brendon moved to the window and stared out. “I don’t think you realized how bad things became for me when Nan died. I’d lost the only person who cared for me. I had no one left. The million dollars I lost on a roulette wheel wasn’t done just to get rid of the cook. I did it to get your attention. While you didn’t give a shit about me, you’ve always loved money. And it worked. You finally noticed me.”
“And sent you away,” Gar said with remorse.
“Yeah.” Brendon turned and gave him a faint smile. “Not exactly the response I’d hoped for, but it turned out all right. I met Senna and since then life keeps getting easier with each day. Now I find I even like you most of the time.”
“Well, the feeling is mutual. You’re still eccentric, but you’ve a good heart and good intent, and I’m proud you’re my brother.”
Suddenly the door opened and Senna walked in looking at both men with concern. “Are you two having a fight?”
“Not at all.” Brendon smiled. “In fact, Gar told me he’s proud I’m his brother.”
Senna’s eyes filled with appreciation as she grinned at Gar.
Her smile almost broke Gar’s heart. God help him, but Brendon had nailed the truth. He did love Senna, and more than anything, he wanted her to be his wife.
I had the opportunity to chat with author Liza O’Connor and during our conversation I asked her how her characters are developed. Here is her very interesting response to my inquiry.
How I create my characters…
I don’t consciously develop them.
All my plots begin as a dream in the hazy sleep/wake hours of early morning.
Then if the dream fascinates me, I wake up, run downstairs, and type like a lunatic. The results look rather like a cat walked over my keyboard.
Once I’ve written a couple of chapters of nearly illegible gibberish, I go back and slowly try to make sense of what I wrote.
Here is where the initial character turns to flesh and blood.
But first, let me tell you a bit about my background. As a child and teenager I spent a great deal of time on stage. (My mother was a very fine actress.) I also showed some talent for acting, perhaps because I didn’t ‘act’, I became the character. While I don’t walk the boards any longer, when I write, I still become the characters. What a character does depends on what has happened before, what was said before, and how he or she feels. I never force my characters to stick to my preconceived plot. If the person they are at that moment cannot do or say what is necessary to take the plot in a certain direction, they may alter the plot.
If later, I don’t like where matters are headed, I go back to an earlier point and find a character who can alter the future by being nicer, meaner, or whatever it takes to move the plot in a different direction.
When writing a character, I constantly ponder their motives. Why did he say that? Suddenly a back history comes to me. An abusive father punished Gar with harsh beatings for his younger brother’s mistakes. Why didn’t he punish the younger brother? He did at first, but he almost killed Brendon once, and the doctor had warned him next time the police would be called in. So instead, the father told Gar, Brendon was his responsibility. Gar was ten years older then Brendon and could take the beatings, but it wasn’t fair. Nor could he control Brandon.
This is the source of the intense anger and resentment between the two men. From Brendon’s perspective, Gar became his father’s enforcer, threatening and bullying on a daily basis. While Gar saw Brendon as the source of his beatings. If Brendon would just behave, but no, he thought of no one other than himself.
And now they love the same woman. That’s a disaster for sure!
They are so different. What type of woman could draw them both in? What does she offer that both desperately need in their lives?
Kindness, genuine, heartfelt affection.
How did she come by this?
A dreary orphanage visualizes in my head. She was raised by nuns. While not all of them weren’t kind, but many were, and she would seek the loving nuns out, bring them dandelion flowers, and ask them about their lives.
But the other orphans—some were mean vicious bullies. To protect herself, Senna would attack at any sign of provocation, gaining the first strike advantage. Soon the older girls learned to leave her alone. As she grew older, she didn’t need her attack-first attitude any longer, but what we learn as a child stays with us. Thus, her “strike first, think later” attitude came to roost. She’s now a convicted criminal, guilty of Attempted Manslaughter, which makes getting a decent job impossible.
But even here something good came out of it. The judge ordered mandated Anger Management classes. The lessons helped her not to lash out in anger. She teaches the technique to Gar so he also has a tool to control his anger.
Now, before you think, wow, this has to be the saddest book ever, it’s not. While some issues are spoken, they are handled lightly. I’m just sharing my process of giving a character a three dimensional history.
Hope you enjoyed it. And don’t worry Ghost Lover is a Humorous Contemporary with a touch of ghost. Life is better for everyone with Senna around.
Thank you, Liza, for spending time with me and the followers of Room With Books and Goddess Fish Tours.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog, Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.
Liza will be awarding a digital copy of “Worst Week Ever” to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and a grand prize of one $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Virtual Book Tour.
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