To this day, Forty Times Platinum has an identity crisis. Let me explain: Every book falls into a genre and while booksellers freely cross the streams to maximize sales, publishers are very strict that a book must fall into ONE genre.
I didn’t want Forty Times Platinum to be a romance novel. Plenty of them fill my bookshelves and I have nothing against them. But to me, FTP didn’t read that way. Besides, there are very strict rules for a story to be classified a “romance.” For one, the main characters must get together at the end- the Happy Ending rule. It’s debatable what really happens at the end of FTP. I’ve purposely left it open. And then on a webinar, I learned things like infidelity are not present in romance novels. True romance novels really thrive on giving the reader a fantasy to chew on and then swallow.
And so in Commercial Women’s Fiction—or as they say in the biz: ‘Women’s’, the characters are more realistic. “The Sound of her Heart” version definitely had a lot of whimsical elements and so if I wanted to be on the shelves with writers such as Emily Giffin or Lauren Weisberger, the fantasy needed to be toned down.
Before, Jen and Michael were these incredibly famous people living fabulous lives. In order for this story to work in the Women’s market, I needed to anchor them into reality. In the original version, they were loosely associated with the record label Jamie had signed with. To better identity with Jen and Michael, I pushed them both out of their singing careers and stuck them in an office working for my fictional record label- Thompson Street Records.
The ‘exes working together’ factor was such a fun premise to write around. This was another opportunity to present a strong Jen. She’s a tough business woman, who’s left her singing career behind to make other artists’ dreams come true.
That brings us to Cam Harris. In the original version he was an actor. I struggled with this one. It was an easy and satisfying decision to make Jen and Michael more realistic but it took some thought and internal struggles to reinvent Cam Harris. As one of Jen’s love interests, Cam had to be special enough for her.
But Jen was a different person now and an actor was too unstructured for the new premise and the backdrop of the music industry told from insiders. I had to put my thinking cap on for this one: Where could someone be famous, but also have a real job with a set schedule of days on and off?
I wasn’t totally convinced making Cam a New York Yankee fit the less-than-fabulous tone I was trying to present. In fact I had written a whole alternate section making Cam a lawyer for a rival music label. Yawn. No offense against lawyers.
Cam also had to be more age-appropriate for Jen (Jamie is a younger man). I tossed the question out to some people and everyone liked the idea of a love story with a professional ball-player. So Cam became a New York Yankee.
Well . . . it took 9 long months after the pitch conference in September 2013, but I was able to completely re-write what is now titled: Forty Times Platinum.
To be continued.