On Mystic Lake

Behind the Book

On Mystic Lake turned out to be a real turning point in my career. I had written six or seven romance novels at that point, and I felt ready to tackle a different kind of story. Looking back on it, I can see the risk that I was taking, but at the time, I wasn’t concerned with success or failure. I simply knew that I wanted to write a woman’s story. I knew at the beginning that there would be a romance in the novel, but for the first time, I wanted that romance to be secondary. My vision of the novel was really Annie’s story, how she survived the breakup of a long marriage and found herself again. It was in this novel that I came home to the Northwest, also. For years I had been writing books set in other areas; in Mystic, I returned to my own backyard. For the first time I was writing about the change in seasons as I saw them. As I began a scene, I would often simply look out my own office window and describe my surrounding. My editor, when she read the first draft, said, “Does it really have to be raining every day?” It still makes me smile to think about that. Those of us who choose to live in the rainy, gray, beautiful part of the country, learn to barely notice the rain.