Kansas City novelist Darlene DeLuca loves writing about women’s friendships, especially the “I’ve got-your-back-girlfriend” type featured in her Women of Whitfield trilogy.
Here, she discusses her motivation, process, and how a single novel blooms into a trilogy.
Please welcome Darlene to Write Despite.
Three friends. Three books.
When I sat down to write my first women’s fiction novel, The Storm Within, I wanted to write about a woman who faced tragedy in her life and was helped through it by a group of amazing women friends. I wanted the power of friendship and the impact of other women in our lives to take center stage and be a central theme throughout the book.
So I created Claire Stapleton, then I set about ruining her life with a couple of big events and a series of small incidents that would leave her reeling, confused and in need of a serious course correction.
Enter amazing we’ve-got-your-back girlfriends. These women who had known Claire for years, raised children together, gone on vacations together and shared so much history jumped in and kept their friend from going over the edge. They supported her with handholding, late-night calls, and intervention. They were there when she needed them most.
Though they were secondary characters, they became important in their own right. Each woman’s life intersected with Claire’s, and it became obvious as I wrote that each of them had their own story—and that I should tell it.
The writing might have been easier had I set out to create a trilogy in the first place. I could’ve mapped out more connections, probably would’ve kept tighter notes. As I wrote books two and three, I had to go back to the original novel many times to make sure my facts and tone for each character were accurate.
Sometimes, I’ve finished reading a book and wished it had a sequel or a series. I’ve found myself imagining what would’ve happened in a character’s future—or what I would’ve wanted to happen. It turned out that continuing the stories of these friends seemed natural.
Creating the Women of Whitfield series enabled me to dig deeper, to stay in the town of Whitfield, immerse myself in that world and explore those relationships further, to really build their lives and weave them together. By the time I was done, I felt as though I’d created real people—women I’d love to be friends with in real life!
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from book one. It refers to a gift the friends sent to Claire: “This tree is like us, dear friend. Lots of individual branches going every which way, but with deep roots and a trunk that’s a little bit twisted but fused together forever.”
Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction that explores relationships—what brings people together or keeps them apart. Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love, and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page. Darlene enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate, and a warm, sunny beach. Follow Darlene on FB, Instagram, and Pinterest.