Clare London (clarelondon) wrote,
Clare London

When characters turn into real people and hijack your brain...

Today's guest is Madeleine Urban, author of many successful books at Dreamspinner Press. She often writes with a partner, and her works feature strong, sexy men seeking romance and adventure, in different genres from contemporary to science fiction. Find all the details HERE!

Madeleine Urban is a down-home Kentucky girl who's been writing since she could hold a crayon. A longtime science fiction and fantasy fan, she loves to mix those genres with romance to get explosive, satisfying results. She lives with a partner and two canine kids, visits Disney World twice a year, and still believes dreams can come true.

Today she's sharing with us the history of two of her most favourite characters, Ty and Zane. Please welcome her!


One fateful day some three years ago, Abigail Roux and I, Madeleine Urban, sat around bandying what to write next. We'd written Caught Running and it was very popular on LJ (before publication), and we'd just written and posted a novella about construction workers (Under Contract, which later went into Love Ahead paired with Over the Road, which was written later). We'd written an entire 80,000 word first draft of the story that would eventually be Warrior's Cross and shelved it, because it needed more work, and we weren't interested at the time. We'd poked at a few other ideas, pitching job ideas from which to build characters. That had worked for us before: Abigail was a sports coach and athlete whereas I was a high school teacher and nerd (Caught Running); my husband had been a truck driver (Over the Road); I'd been a waitress, and Abigail knows a lot about guns (Warrior's Cross). Abigail had some years before written The Archer, which is about agents of a secret organization. We sort of built the idea of Julian Cross from that.

And then, just on a wild hair, I suggested FBI agents.

Hoooo boy. If only we'd known.

Cut & Run wrote itself, practically from beginning to end. There was no skipping around, no thinking of great scenes and slotting them in later. Beginning to end. The boys didn't really have permanent names or personalities at first. We'd written the biggest part of the story to get a feel for the story before we started thinking names.

We knew where they were from before who they were. We'd written the scene where they reluctantly shared a little about each other (West by-God Virginia--"Wild and Wonderful"--Texas--"Lone Star"), so that sort of gave us a little information.

I do remember a discussion about last names, because after throwing several out for both characters we settled on Garrett and Grady and wondered about them both beginning with G. I don't really remember how Abigail came up with "Ty." I think she came up with his first name first, then conceived the idea of him hating it and going by his middle name (Burns introduces him as "B. Tyler Grady"). I came up with "Zane" because of where he was from, and because I wanted something just a little different, but not terribly so. I thought of "Zane," and I knew it was perfect.

All of a sudden their personalities started to come together. Ty Grady was that annoying, brash, and abrasive asshole totally dedicated to his job; Zane Garrett was that tortured, sort-of reformed addict trying to keep his job. They argued, and then they beat the shit out of each other. It really set the stage for their relationship.

After that first fist fight, Ty and Zane came alive, and they haven't looked back. They hate and love with equal temper. They bleed and hurt, and it's not that we're going out of our way to mangle them. They... stumble into things. It's just them. They have both the worst and the best of luck. Maybe they're a little larger than life, but there are people like that out there. If something can go wrong, chances are good it will, and again, we really feel like we're not just creating the circumstances. The events happen.

Those events have shaped these two men, and Ty and Zane have captured our hearts. Abigail and I just can't let them go.

But as alive as they are, we had the worst time coming up with Book Two, Sticks & Stones, which comes out on Jan. 25 from Dreamspinner Press (It should be listed on the Coming Soon page soon). We have so, so, so much story to tell that we just couldn't decide what the hell to do next! We wrote and wrote and wrote (at least a hundred thousand words, maybe more) and finally figured out that we couldn't just throw out the next "adventure" and be happy with it. No, Ty and Zane demand that we tell the story as it happens, as they grow together. We're more than two-thirds done with Book Three, Fish & Chips, which is previewed in the back of Sticks & Stones. But then this happened:

The weekend of Dec. 4, Abigail was driving home and got an idea. Not just an idea, but an idea. She talked with me about it, and I balked. She talked a little more about it, and I cried. She reminded me that the core idea of it was actually an idea I'd come up with back in our early post-Cut & Run time when we were throwing ideas around, and I caved.

They hijacked our brains! After about two days discussion, we wrote 70,000 words in approx. twenty days. It remains to be seen what we'll do with the material.

Ty and Zane can be really motivating when they put their minds to it.

It's not a pretty road, but real life isn't always pretty. And to me, these two men are real. They live and breathe and yell at me and Abigail regularly. They hijack our brains and keep us from writing anything else, which is quite frustrating. Yeah, we adore them, but we have two light contemporary romances over half-written! But can we work on them? No. Because Ty and Zane could give a rat's ass about light contemporary romance. They like fighting, and they like fucking. We love them fighting and fucking, sometimes at the same time! They like teasing and yelling and yes, sometimes we even get the odd and a little bit scary tender moment that they truly don't know what to do with.

So are Ty and Zane real people? We think so, and we're utterly addicted to them.

Much love,

~~Madeleine Urban~~
Author of M/M Romance
If I think it's romantic, it's romantic. And to hell with what anyone else says.
mrs.madeleine.urban @



Today's Quote:
"No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam." Charles Lamb.

Today's Daft Google Search for 'Clare London':
"I can't get Robert Pattinson out of my head" (wtf?? LOL)


Follow this month with Clare (look at the goodies so far...):

Jan 01 : The New Year is ushered in with the release of the Immortal Fire anthology IN PRINT.
Jan 02 : author Chrissy Munder wonders whether following current affairs in our writing is a delightful touch or just dates us some time down the road.

Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? Email me at clarelondon11 @ and I'll happily find you a space ♥
Tags: blog month
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.