The blog has been hijacked (in a good way) by Carrie Lofty & she has a giveaway

The Key Scene

By Carrie Lofty

For everyone romance I’ve written, I begin with a key scene in mind. Often, this scene is not the opening or the finale. In fact I rarely know the finale at all! I’m a dedicated pantser, and what will happen next…generally you’d have more of a clue than me. Let’s just say that I adore the process of seeing a story unfold.

That said, I do have a key scene. We’ll call it the kernel of what a book means to me, where it started in my mind, where—basically—I fell in love with the idea so completely that I felt compelled to spend the next several months writing the darn thing!

For example, in SONG OF SEDUCTION  I started with a picture of Gary Oldman from the movie Immortal Beloved, where he portrayed Beethoven. I adored that image so much that I based a great deal of my romance around how to get the hero and heroine to that moment, and how I could make that feeling of longing and art come to life in an original way. That image drove me to write.

Other times I’m inspired by a song, one that evokes a powerful image in my mine. In my debut, WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS, I listened to a song call “Fall in the Light” [] and saw the hero carrying the heroine away from a burning cabin. I told my husband for weeks, “Soon I’ll explode the cabin!” When I finally got there, however, I was in tears. The thing I’d joked about as my signpost was actually a really emotional signpost.

If you’ve noticed, these “key scenes” often come about because of external inspiration. Music, movies, photos—they fuel my imagination. For STARLIGHT, however, inspiration came from a very unexpected source. I was trying to internalize the cadence of the Glaswegian accent, since my heroine, Polly, is from Glasgow. I used one actress in particular, listening to her over and over until I felt that pattern of speech in my head.

(I do this a lot with accents. Don’t worry. I’m not totally nuts.)

In doing so, I started to imagine how she would talk about where she grew up, what she wanted from life, and how she coped with difficult times. The “key scene” for STARLIGHT, even down to influencing our choice of title, came from that kernel. Many reviewers have commented on the “happiness” or “Northern Lights” scene, which makes me especially happy. I’ve never had my “key scene” resonate so well with readers.

Here’s a sample, where Alex has taken Polly to a park where they can watch the Northern Lights:

“How have you managed to survive here? It’s dirty and poor and violent,” he said. “Yet, you keep smiling. How?”

She grew quiet, making Alex wonder if he’d stepped past some invisible boundary. But she was still Polly, and that meant taking him by surprise.

“You want to know the secret?”

“Is there one?”

“Of course. Otherwise I’d have gone mad a long time ago.” She rested their twined hands on her stomach and breathed out. “You make shields. A half dozen or so. You stake them all around, all overlapped to keep out the pain and disappointment. But you leave a tiny crack, right in the front. That’s for letting the happiness in.”

Alex forgot to breathe. He looked to the sky once again. Being able to name each star held nothing to the way he saw the aurora anew. Through her eyes. He had wanted to show her a natural marvel, to give them both something beautiful to sustain them through what promised to become an ugly few weeks.

Instead, she had given him a gift. He saw color like a field of flowers and movement like a dancing angel. Science fell away to reveal only beauty. When he could breathe again, he unconsciously mimicked her soft exhale.

Eventually, enough of these “key scenes” start to gather and I have the makings of a complete story. But each romance begins with one—one image, idea, thought. For STARLIGHT, it was Polly letting the happiness in.

What’s next for me:

Now that RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick STARLIGHT has hit the shelves, I’ll be looking forward to the release of HIS VERY OWN GIRL , a historical romance set in World War II. It’s not women’s fiction. It’s not literary fiction. It’s a genuine romance, complete with sexy times and a happy ending. Look for it September 4th as a Pocket Star digital original novel. I cannot wait to see how readers respond! 

I’ll also be launching a new co-written pseudonym, Katie Porter, with my long-time friend and critique partner, Lorelie Brown. Our “Vegas Top Guns” series of contemporary erotic romances will debut from Samhain on July 31 with the release of DOUBLE DOWN, which is also a RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick. Two more from the series, INSIDE BET and HOLD ‘EM, will follow in August and September. You can learn more about these and future books at our website (HERE).

Where to find me:

Website |  Twitter | Facebook 

I’d like to give away a copy of STARLIGHT, and I’ll ship anywhere.

Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook

The second exciting, romantic addition to the Christie family series!
Esteemed astronomer Alex Christie, the eldest and most steadfast of the Christie siblings, has never possessed his late father’s ruthless business drive. But to protect his frail infant son from his cruel father-in-law’s bid for custody, the young widower must undertake Sir William Christie’s posthumous million-dollar challenge: to make a Glasgow cotton mill profitable. At sea in an industrial world of sabotage and union agitation, Alex meets Polly Gowan, daughter of a famed union leader, who hopes to seize a mysterious saboteur without involving the police.

Because a sympathetic mill master would aid her cause, Polly becomes Alex’s guide to urban Scotland. From soccer games to pub brawls, Alex sees another side of life, and feels free for the first time to reveal the man–vital and strong–behind his intellectual exterior. Polly is utterly seduced. Their ambitions, however, remains at odds: Alex vows to earn the mill bonus to save his child, while Polly fights for the needs of her people. Is there strength enough in their sparkling passion to bind them together in their quests–and in a lasting love that conquers all?

Just answer the question: Think of your favorite book or movie and tell me what the “key scene” is for you. Why is that scene so important to you?

Thanks again to Books ‘n’ Kisses for having me!

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36 Responses to The blog has been hijacked (in a good way) by Carrie Lofty & she has a giveaway

  1. Yadira A. July 6, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    I love watching Pride & Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley) and the key scene for me is when Lizzy defends her family to Mr. Bennett and accuses him of all that he’s done wrong while at the same time he’s trying to express his deep feelings for her. Loved the combative dialogue in that scene.

  2. kerry July 6, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Im not sure what my key scene would be – I have a lot of favorites, but I think mine would come from Kate Daniels when she finally accepts that Curran will be in her life in a significant way and tries to quit pushing him out of her life.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway

  3. Melody May July 6, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    In my favorite book we have Olivia who has been searching for her husband for 2 weeks and finally finds him. She tells him she’s living him. Alex throws in her face that he already left. She tells him she’s going to his country estate because she’s pregnant. She storms out praying what she says work to get him back. This is from a Scandalous Pursuit.

  4. Melanie Rovak July 6, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    I know it’s an old movie and I’ve seen it 100 times but one of my favorite movies scenes is in Dirty Dancing when Johnny pulls Baby out of the corner away from her dad puts him in his place and pulls her on stage to dance. I guess it’s my favorite because he stood up for her and showed her family and an entire room full of people how good they were together and how much they loved each other even though they were complete opposites and nobody thought they should be together.

  5. Marika Weber July 6, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    For me in the book Shadow Dance, when Noah puts down his gun beside Jordan’s bed. At that point you know that he was giving up his playboy ways for her. *sigh*

    Great post and congratulations on the release.


  6. Betty Hamilton July 6, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Who could think of “When Harry Met Sally” and not think of the orgasm scene!! It just solidified what I had always know…. a woman can fake it where a guy cannot.
    I love your post… best wished with the new books!!

  7. Emily July 6, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Most recently I would say At Peace by Kristen Ashley, there is a scene that is the complete turning point for Joe, he let’s go of his baggage and sees what is before him when Vi finds out about her brother and begins breaking frames and screaming uncontrollably. Joe becomes her rock. It is a powerful scene and you can see it in your head, which brings the characters to life.

  8. Maria D. July 6, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    I have a lot of favorite movies and books but one scene that I always remember is actually from a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie – The Magic of Ordinary Days – it’s the scene where Ray tells Livy that she’s always been the one for him – even if she is carrying another man’s child – he finally lets her see behind the walls he’s set up and it helps her to see him for who he really is and finally accept the love he has for her and enables her to give him love in return…it’s a sigh worthy scene. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Audra Holtwick July 6, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I love the the Outlander book where at the Standing Stone Jamie sends Claire through to save their child

  10. Ileana A. July 6, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    For me is Pride & Prejudice, the scene when Darcy propose to her, and Elizabeth denies. The pride of both of them collide along with the prejudice Darcy have for Elizabeth’s family. You can feel the struggle both of them have.

  11. erinf1 July 6, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Thanks for a great post!!! Congrats on the newest release! I’m gonna have to jump on the P&P bandwagon… my “key” scene is at the end when she is walking after realizing she’s in love w/ Darcy. The sun’s coming up and then she looks over and there’s Darcy! My fav scene too!

  12. Diane Sallans July 6, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    I love a lot of movies – one of my favorites is Pride & Prejudice, but since that has been commented on already, I’ll pick ‘last of the Mohicans’ where he says ‘I will find you!’ just before he leaps thru the waterfall.

  13. Maureen July 6, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite movies and I think when Scarlett and Rhett’s daughter died.

  14. DiDi July 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    LOVE the cover! One of my favorites is Grease, when Sandi sings Hopelessly Devoted to You

  15. Lisa Uranker July 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    On Somewhere In Time where Christopher Reeves finally sees Jane Seymours character and knows from first sight that he loves her. I love this movie.

  16. Jeanne Miro July 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    My favorite scene from a movie is from Love Story. Many of you may have been to young to see it but my husband and I saw it in the movie theater and the college campus used instead of Harvard was shot at Union College in Schenectady, NY which was just two blocks from where I grew up. Because of that I had a personal connection to Jenny before the scene that I connected with.

    The scene was when Oliver speaks to Jenny’s father Philip after he finds out that Jenny is going to die and Phillips says with a choked-up voice: “I wish I hadn’t promised Jenny to be strong for you.” As he leaves the hospital, he runs into his father, who asks: “Why didn’t you tell me? I made a couple of calls, and as soon as I found out, I jumped right in the car. Oliver, I want to help.” His son simply replies: “Jenny’s dead.” When his father begins to reply: “I’m sorry…,” Oliver interrupts him and quotes his late wife’s earlier remark:

    Afterwards, in the hallway, Oliver speaks to Jenny’s father Philip (John Marley), who says with a choked-up voice: “I wish I hadn’t promised Jenny to be strong for you.” As he leaves the hospital, he runs into his father, who asks: “Why didn’t you tell me? I made a couple of calls, and as soon as I found out, I jumped right in the car. Oliver, I want to help.” His son simply replies: “Jenny’s dead.” When his father begins to reply: “I’m sorry…,” Oliver interrupts him and quotes his late wife’s earlier remark:

    “Love, love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

    We saw Love Story in 1970 just a few short months after we were married. My husband was in the Navy stationed at Cecil Field, Florida and was an attached to a squadron there. He had just gotten land duty after serving on the Randolph where he had loaded bombs on planes so the movie really moved him after facing death on a daily basis.

    I had never seen him cry before but this scene deeply affected us both. His service to our country didn’t end there because after he was released in 1970 he joined the Navy Reserve and was a “week-end” warrior on helicopters and then P-3’s until he retired after 25 years of service.

    Because of the many times he was in harms way we always remembered that scene. This year we celebrated our 25th anniversary and for all those year we have always tried to remember that “Love, love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

  17. Carin W July 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Thinking about what to say her has made me realize I like silly movies and I have so many books that I want to call my favorite that this is a really hard question. In general I love the “I just realized I’m in love with you” scene from any romance novel. I like the outrageous plot twist in a mystery or thriller. I don’t generally read horror and in paranormal romance I love the moment when the paranormal must reveal they are indeed paranormal to the love interest.
    Carin mawmom(@)

  18. Jennifer Bielman July 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    IN Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews, it’s when Kate take a sword in the gut to save her friends. It was when I realized she finally had friends she cared about.

  19. Mary Preston July 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    In LONESOME DOVE, it’s when they finally arrive in Montana. It was an epic journey up from Texas.

  20. Barbara Elness July 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Well, I have so many favorites it’s hard to pick any one, but I’ll say my favorite scene is always the happy ending, because I love putting down the book or leaving the theater feeling good about the fate of the people that I became so invested in throughout the book or movie.

  21. bn100 July 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    In The Devil in Winter, it’s when Sebastian saves Evie from being shot and Evie finds her wedding ring around Sebastian’s neck. It showed that he cared.

  22. aurian July 7, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    For me the most important scenes in a book, are the meeting of the hero and heroine, and the first chapter. If I don’t like that, I probably won’t bother reading more.

  23. Filia Oktarina July 7, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I have a lot of favorite stories, and for me key scene was the meeting of the hero and heroine. The meeting always important because it was first impression for hero to heroine or another :)

  24. Linda July 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I’m a big Star Wars fan & I love the part at the ending of episode 4 where Luke accepts and uses the power of the force in taking out the Battlestar.

  25. nurmawati djuhawan July 8, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    my fave movies is EMMA (by jane auten), with gwneth paltrow version…
    the key scene that so important for me here when wmma realize that she love mr. knightley as a woman an a man..not as brother and sister (indeed!!)

    i watch this movie many times…so romantic ….

    thx u so much…

    love, nurma

  26. wyndwhisper July 8, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    my favorite movie is “The Color Purple”, and my favorite scene is when they are all sitting down to eat and Sug tells him they are leaving and taking Celie with them. when she pulls the knife out and says she never asked him for anything not even his sorry ass hand in marriage, i just wanted to cheer for her because she finally realized she didn’t have to be treated the way she was and she was free to go at anytime, it was her own fear keeping her there at that point.

    of course it is closely tied with the end when her family finally comes home. it’s one of the only movies i have ever cried in.

    Tammy ramey

  27. Jen B. July 8, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    If I was on a desert island with only one book, I would choose Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. There are many scenes that stick with me but the pivitol moment has to be….(wow, it’s so hard to choose) when Phedre loses her mentor and best friend. Her life had always been dangerous but it’s the first time that she must face the truth that it is deadly. And, the two men where her only family. At that point she was set adrift and she had to scramble to find her footing. I honestly cried when the characters died. I walked around hugging the book after I read that part of the book. I couldn’t put the book down until I had made it well past that section (if you haven’t read the story it is a massive amount of reading to get beyond it). jepebATverizonDOTnet

  28. Carrie Lofty July 8, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Sorry I’m late to the party, everyone! I’ve enjoyed looking through your replies. Dirty Dancing, Love Story, and even the “In general I love the ‘I just realized I’m in love with you’ scene from any romance novel,” that Carin W. mentioned. I hope you all had an amazing weekend. I’m so glad you stopped by, and that so many of you responded positively to my post. I had a blast being here. Best of luck on the drawing!


  29. Hilary W. July 9, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    favorite movie/book… Pride and Prejudice…. Elizabeth goes on trip with the Gardiners, who are relatives of the Bennets. The trip takes her to the North and eventually to the neighborhood of Pemberley, Darcy’s estate. Mr. Darcy arrives he entertains the Gardiners and invites Elizabeth to meet his sister.Shortly thereafter, however, a letter arrives from home, telling Elizabeth that Lydia has eloped with Wickham and that the couple is nowhere to be found, which suggests that they may be living together out of wedlock.From there on, Mr. Darcy becomes the key to piecing everything together for Elizabeth’s life. Going from someone she despised to having tender feelings for.

  30. Brandy Dull July 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Answers Carrie’s question: Think of your favorite book or movie and tell me what the “key scene” is for you. Why is that scene so important to you?

    Book/ Movie : The Hunger Games when Katniss volunteers to replace her sister in the reaping.

  31. Sonali July 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Hi Carrie,

    Well one of my favourite movies/books would have to be Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 1. The point where Bella finds out that she is pregnant and decides to keep it. I quess that is where the twist in the story comes in. I think that is the start of the dominio effect, where everything starts to change.

  32. Olivia Tan July 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    The Devil in Winter – Lisa Kleypas , it’s when Sebastian saves Evie from being shot and Evie founds that sebastian wearing her wedding ring arround his neck. ^^


    thanks ^^

  33. Diane P. Diamond July 11, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    I have lots of favorite scenes, Right now my brain isn’t working too good. I can list some of my favorite books though, Lord and Lady Spy, No Longer a Gentleman, Mine till Midnight and Seduce me at Sunrise. :-)

  34. Jolene A July 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    I have too many fav’s to list just one, but for me, my fav. scenes are when the character’s first meet. I have to have that chemistry, or attraction that screams these two belong together. I need the chemistry to flow and not feel forced. A first touch, kiss, a look, something that has me holding my breath

  35. Karen W July 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    My favourite key moment is in the French Kiss romantic comedy with Meg Ryan, where she’s trying to figure out how to act in front of her ex in order to win him back; and she’s frustrated because she’s not deceptive and manipulative. Luke grabs her and says ‘I want you…! I want you…! I want you to make him feel as though he cannot have you even though you are right in front of him.”

  36. infinitieh July 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    There are so many moments in books and film that I’m having a tough time choosing… revelation scenes are always fun, especially in books during which I have “bah-bah-BAAAAAH” – like old soap operas – going in my head. The latest such scene was in Scott Westerfeld’s GOLIATH when Alek figured out that Dylan was really a girl disguised as a boy. Bah-bah-BAAAAH!

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