Behind the Scenes: Inside the Grey by Bobbi Groover


My inspiration has been the same throughout the writing of all my books…my horses. They are my inspiration, my passion, and my pets, which is why they play key roles in all my stories. My latest book, Inside the Grey, literally jumped into my head during one particularly misty day.  I snapped a picture of the pasture and the entire story played out in my head.

Since Inside The Grey is my third romance set in the 1800s with many of the same characters, and the time setting had advanced ten years, I looked at the scene and saw my characters riding ‘into the grey.’  I knew who they were, suddenly knew where they were headed, and the crises that awaited them.  During the writing process, the working title changed to ‘Inside The Grey’ but my readers will have to savor the book to find out why.

Writing Process

I can’t say I have a set schedule for writing. I have a set schedule for riding and that is truly where the ideas flow. There’s something about the rocking of my horse’s gait that takes me back to another time and another place.

Once the inspiration hits and the characters become real in my head, I can write for hours or days. I’m definitely one who writes with background noise. Each of my books seems to have a ‘song’ that started the stream of words flowing.  I have my ‘writing music’ that plays continuously while I am typing.  The emotion of the music brings inspiration to the scenes.

Oddly enough, when the music stops, so do the words, as if someone flipped a switch.  All the ideas and scenes I composed on horseback never seem to come to life in the typing stage without my music swirling. Every writer has their own unique writing process. I search the public domain and find pictures of what my hero and heroine look like in my head.  Then I frame their faces and place the frames on my desk as I write.

When I am in the hero’s head, I stare at the heroine’s face and vice versa. For me, this helps the dialogue flow naturally. I write down a general idea of how the plot will move forward from beginning to end, but I must say I do not rigidly adhere to an outline, nor do I write the chapters consecutively.  The reason for this is because once my characters come alive in my head, scenes have a tendency to change.

For example, as I wrote my first romance, Season of the Shadow, I knew exactly what would happen when the hero entered the barn.  However, when he arrived I was shocked at how the hero and heroine had rearranged the scene.  I liked what they had done and wrote the scene their way.  Hearing about this 3 am occurrence, my husband often taps my shoulder while I write and asks, “Anybody talking to you yet?”

Character Development

I don’t know about other writers but my characters are composites of people I have met in my lifetime.  Depending on what type of scene it is, my hero’s wink might be something an old boyfriend might have done.  The way the hero carries himself might be a description of my favorite uncle. The antagonist might be a portrait of someone who has ‘done me wrong.’  It’s really quite fun to ‘paint’ with words to create a character that becomes a real person in your own head.  I actually miss my characters when the book is finished because they’ve been my best friends throughout the writing of the story.
When I say my characters become real people, I really mean it.  They wake me up at night.  I can see them sitting across the room, and they blab until I ask them to kindly disappear so I can get some sleep.  When they refuse, I sneak into my studio and, like a court reporter, record everything they are saying.  I must admit most times they are heading me in the right direction.

Setting and Wordbuilding

Since the mid-1800’s is the timeframe for all my romances, many years ago my mother and I took the dog and traveled to the States where the scenes happened. We visited county seats and perused old newspapers, and walked historical areas and graveyards. Of course, with the internet today, all that traveling and reading can be accomplished with the slash of a keystroke (although not half as much fun). Sometimes I can’t achieve the feel of some scenes from the internet though.  For example, I had a fire scene to write and I visited the local fire marshall. Once I had convinced him that I was not an arsonist and really did write romance (and he and the other firemen stopped laughing), we had a great discussion of how the fire scene could be accomplished with accuracy.  As I left, I heard him telling the other firemen I was definitely going to be dinner conversation with his wife that night.  I just smiled.

Closing Thoughts

Inside The Grey was composed entirely on horseback.  The ideas flowed, and I bounced portions of the plot with my fellow riders as we galloped through the fields.  Jumping fences dressed in our finery to keep up with thirty hounds on the scent, transported us back in time. When I returned to the present day, I simply wrote about my day in the past.

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