I think it was just the two of us staying at our family's cottage in Maine. It was a great visit, we were getting close again. She told me about her boyfriend and his "hanger on" girlfriend that was making the relationship really hard. His name is irrelevant but her name was Abigail. Needless to say, my sister had some pretty strong words for Abigail.
I had been kicking around the idea of a story about a forced marriage between a Saxon and a Norman where he leaves her untouched only to return years later, meet her but not recognize her, and try to seduce her. I had already come up with my favorite line - "You know me not!" (little play on words there)
The idea of someone nasty like Abigail as a secondary character made the whole story come together.
I like to think Carol, my sister, would appreciate my characterization of the woman.
Here's an excerpt from The Saxon Bride when Rowena, the heroine, first meets the woman.
"My lady!" Joan's voice preceded her flinging open Rowena's bedchamber door. "My lady!"
"What is amiss?" Rowena held her breath as she stepped toward her. "You look as if you've seen a ghost!"
On a whisper, Joan found no additional information much to Rowena's irritation. "My lady!" Shaking her head in disbelief, she stepped out of the door just as a tall woman would have pushed her aside.
"So you're the wife my lover is saddled with."
Rowena was unable to exhale the gasp that had been sucked into her belly. Her eyes bulged as she tried to process what the woman had said. She couldn't possibly have heard her right. Like a tempest, the woman stormed into Rowena's private chamber as if she'd every right to be there. Her disdainful gaze did not miss a thing as she looked around the room. "I'm a little surprised he has stayed away from me this long."
Joan's mouth gaped open in disbelief as she looked from the regal woman with the black hair and green eyes and back to Rowena. The petrified look on her servant's face finally broke the spell.
"And who are you, pray tell?" Rowena stood a little taller as she addressed the woman who seemed to tower over her. The woman blinked as if discerning whether Rowena truly had the audacity to speak directly to her.
"No. Better you tell me." She paused, no doubt for effect, assessing Rowena from head to toe, finally lifting the corner of her lip and raising one eyebrow. "Are you 'the wife'?"
I think I succeeded in making Abigail pretty unlikable and obnoxious. What do you think?
Available at Amazon.com The Saxon Bride