Romancing the Book

Award-winning romance writer collaborates on trilogy

By Pam Glass | Photo by Daniel Coston

South Charlotte resident Tara Sheets is a USA Today bestselling author who recently published Book 3 of her “Providence Falls” trilogy. She wrote the time-traveling love story with renowned author Jude Devereaux. Below, Sheets dishes on the cowriting process and getting ideas onto the page.

What was it like writing a trilogy compared to one novel?

It takes more planning, since each book has its own plot points and story arc; a wider, all-encompassing story arc needs to tie it all together.

How was it coauthoring with Jude Deveraux, a NY Times bestselling writer?

Our collaborative journey took over two years. We knew we wanted a small-town setting, but we weren’t sure if we wanted it to be a mountain town or something along the coast. At the time, my family and I had just moved to Charlotte from Seattle, and I was enamored with the beauty of the entire state. Jude mentioned she used to live in Asheville, so I decided to base the story in North Carolina, and I used Asheville as the inspiration for the fictional town of Providence Falls.

Where did the trilogy idea come from?

Jude and I belong to the same literary agency. After reading one of my books, she approached me about collaborating. We both enjoy writing romance with elements of magic and whimsy, and I was thrilled with her idea of star-crossed lovers reuniting after hundreds of years.

Why romance?

As a reader, I like having the assurance that no matter how dire the circumstances are, the characters are redeemable and love will prevail. When writing, I am completely immersed and “living” the story, so I prefer a place with heart and humor.

Your debut novel, “Don’t Call Me Cupcake,” won the 2016 Golden Heart Award, sponsored by Romance Writers of America. What do you attribute its swift success to?

I had been entering writing contests for a couple of years. “Don’t Call Me Cupcake” won first place in several contests across the country. This (success) led me to my current agent. Not long afterward, we secured a three-book deal from a major publishing house.

Describe your writing process.

I start with a general outline and make sure each plot point aligns with my characters’ internal and external goals. It is all very dry and technical in the beginning. For me, this early process is the hardest part because I must be very strict with myself to ensure a solid framework. After that, the fun begins! I let my imagination run wild.

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