I like imagining what my characters would be like if they lived today. In the case of Phoebe and Max of book #2 in the Landon Sisters series, TO COVET A LADY’S HEART, they’d be larger than life people. Max would be a professional poker player who’d write a tell-all memoir about life behind the cards and win American’s hearts on Ellen talking about the book. He’d not be cut out for corporate life, but would make for an amazing, albeit unfulfilled, CEO if life pushed him in that direction.
Phoebe would be a voracious romance reader, favoring the Entangled Indulgence line above all, but going in hard for Brazen, Scorched, and—naturally—Scandalous, the last being comforting and familiar because it would remind her of her past life, though she wouldn’t be consciously aware of that fact. She’d be one of those savvy thrift store shoppers with a semi-quirky, but always elegant, sense of style who find their picture in the “caught on the streets of NYC” sections of magazines looking like she stepped out of a fashion shoot while in fact having paid no more than about $20-30 for her ensemble, not counting shoes and underwear. Though she’d love life’s luxuries, she’d also be ready at a moment’s notice to go backpacking in the Rocky Mountains for a week or ten days, handling the outdoors like a born mountain woman.
(I have a If They Lived Today write-up for each of the main characters in the series on my website: http://www.ingridhahnauthor.com/if-they-lived-today/)
The most important thing to both of them, just like in the book, would be Max’s orphaned nephew, Thomas. Max adores the kid, and does a very bad thing in the name of getting “custody” of him. True, Max could have simply taken the boy. But that would have crushed his mother. And Max is not the kind of guy to hurt his mother. If they lived today, Phoebe and Max would have a hard time not buying every last awesome thing that their beloved nephew might possibly enjoy. They’d get into playing with the cool stuff, too. And it might bring them to a new interest. Or renew an old one they set down years ago.
Maybe I imagine that for them because that’s what happened to me. For me, the gateway was Crayola paints. I walk through an aisle of art supplies and want to buy everything. For my child, of course. Definitely not for me. Reminding myself that it’s his childhood, not mine, I’m usually able to walk through without coming to the checkout with a surprising and unexpected number of items.
That didn’t work with paint. I bought two packs, one classic, one neon, and some brushes. But I wasn’t happy with the effects I could get with the Crayola, except on cardboard egg cartons, which is far from the same thing as a canvas. And really, the paint is for my child, so what business do I have using it?
A few years before becoming a mother, I started saving for an art class. Every Christmas, every birthday, I asked for cash that I set aside to take one. Well, that didn’t quite pan out. I did take one finally last spring, but not painting, clay. It was a blast and I have no regrets, but it didn’t do much for my color and representation skills. As a kid, I drew all the time. All. The. Time. But I gave it up around the age of nineteen when I was disillusioned by art school. What I wanted—needed—was a classical art education. What was offered was trendy blah blah blah. (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, unsurprisingly, nails this art school phenomenon with her character Blue in NATURAL BORN CHARMER.) And if you don’t think drawing is a use-it-or-lose-it skill, you would be wrong. Very wrong.
But those Crayola paints did something to me. I took a deep breath, went down the paints aisle at my local art store—this time for myself—plunked down my credit card, and couldn’t wait to break them open that night when my husband came home to take over parenting duties. I have to say, it’s amazing. But on an audio book, make some tea, and watch the brush swirl the color around the canvas. My efforts are not so amazing, as you can see, but I don’t care. I’m a beginner again, and I’m 100% cool with that.
Want to see what I paint next? I post my efforts to Instagram without shame. Even the creative yet not so well executed fairy houses I made in my clay class. Find me @Ingrid_Hahn and check them out! Tag me in your own efforts or direct tweet me on Twitter @Ingrid_writer if you have something you’d like to share. I’d love to see what others are creating!
(For the sunflowers, I used Vase of Sunflowers, 1898, by Henri Matisse, as inspiration. For the apples, Still Life with Apples, by Paul Cézanne, c. 1890.)
Grab To Covet a Lady’s Heart, book #2 in the Landon Sisters series right now for only 99¢!
After a lifetime of rakish behavior, Lord Maxfeld must pretend he’s reformed and find a fake wife. And there is nobody more suitable than Lady Phoebe. Trouble is, Phoebe will not agree to a false engagement and leaves Max no option but to blackmail her into agreeing to his scheme.
Phoebe will go to great lengths to avoid anything remotely dishonourable and blackmails Max right back—directly to the altar. Once married, though, Phoebe wants more than just Max’s ring — she wants his heart, something he can never give….
Book #1: To Win a Lady’s Heart
When John Merrick, the Earl of Corbeau, is caught in a locked storeroom with Lady Grace, he has but one choice—marry her. He cannot bear to tarnish any woman’s reputation, least of all Lady Grace’s.
Lady Grace Landon will do anything to help her mother and sisters, crushed and impoverished by her father’s disgrace. But throwing herself into the arms of her dearest friend’s older brother to trap him in marriage? Never.
Corbeau needs to prove that he loves her, despite her father’s misdeeds. After years of being an object of scorn, not even falling in love with Corbeau alters Lady Grace’s determination to not bring her disrepute upon another. However, if they don’t realize that the greatest honor is love given freely without regard to society’s censure, they stand to lose far more than they ever imagined.
Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she is not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen. Please connect with her on social media!