Are any of the characters based on real people?
The very beginning part of the book has never changed. I always knew the action would start with the bank robbery and work from there. And my ending never changed either. But there are things I took out, which I explain further down in a *spoiler section.
Why did it take SO long to finish?
Because I had zero confidence in it and continuously second-guessed myself. I always felt I had a story to tell, just wasn't sure I could actually tell it. I was nervous that I used too much dialogue or wasn't descriptive enough. I'd constantly go back and rethink scenes and make sure it all made sense. Plus I did most of my writing in the winter months and slacked off once summer time came. But that was mainly because I was still just writing it as an outlet. To which I affectionately referred to it as my 'therapy' which probably sounds silly but I still think of it that way.
Once I was finished writing the whole book, it took me a long time to build up the nerve to allow anyone to read it. And then it needed to be edited, like a million times. Trimming and correcting things, took an enormous amount of time.
*The following questions/answers contain spoilers from the book so if you haven't read it and plan to, don't scroll any further...
Did I always plan on a sequel?
This is a definite YES!
I knew from the onset that Liam was going to leave at the end. And that I had to stop the story at some point or I'd literally have a book the length of War and Peace on my hands. But I had more story to tell and wasn't anywhere near ready to say goodbye to the characters.
And YES, I'm currently working on the sequel and it's coming along very nicely. Believe me, I've stopped second-guessing and I'm just writing it through.
A lot of readers assumed Liam and Remi were going to end up together, why didn't I make that happen?
Because I like angst. And don't always want a neat and tidy, put on a bow on it, happy-ending. I wanted the reader to begin reading the story and assume Liam and Remi were going to fall in love and all's right with the world. But when that didn't come to fruition, I knew it was going to leave some readers disappointed, which is sort of the reaction I was searching for.
To be honest it was quite difficult not to get them together cause regardless of their lack of declaring undying love for one another, there was an obvious underlying attraction between them. But it wasn't in Liam's character to give in so easily. Or even admit any sort of feelings. But I think his overprotectiveness spoke volumes. Along with the music box and him giving her the keys to his apartment. All subtle gestures that I felt were just enough to show he felt something. I didn't want Liam to lose his dark edge and turn soft.
From Remi's standpoint, her admiration for him was more front and center. Even after she regained her memory and wanted him to leave Philadelphia, she had gotten used to having him around. And actually missed him. To her, Liam represented security and the fact he went above and beyond to save her life, a couple times, he was by far her rock.
And other than him putting his arm around her or briefly holding her hand, the physical contact between them was purposely kept at a minimum because I wanted that moment near the end, where he finally embraced her to truly resonate with the reader. Because that close physical interaction with Remi was huge for Liam. And at the same time, it gave her exactly what she needed in that moment.
What things did I change?
Here are some of things/scenes that were changed or deleted:
In the aftermath of the heist, while Remi was in the hospital. I originally wrote a scene where Liam snuck into her room to check on her. That scene is one of my favorite Liam moments (even though it didn't make the cut) because it was an early indicator of Remi becoming his weakness. That said, I ultimately decided against it because it felt out of character for him and the plot worked better if he claimed he wouldn't seek her out or see how she was doing.
If you want to read it, here's a screenshot of the deleted scene (click the image to zoom):
The part while they were in the vault and she asked what she could call him, I originally had him come up with the name 'Pete' but I preferred leaving him nameless.
I also had plans for a mystery skeleton key that would be used later in the story or sequel. I needed a reason for Liam to go back to the vault after he and Tom left her there. So I had Charles give Liam the order of retrieving something from another safety deposit box (which was the key). But that key ended up being a thorn in my side as I couldn't think up a good reason for it. So I went back through and removed all skeleton key references.
After Tom's shooting/death, I had Tony (Remi's dad) figure out that Liam was the one who saved her at the bank. And had Tony be upset but okay with it being that Liam was technically a hero. But after talking to my sister about it, she suggested that I take that out because Tony would probably want to kill Liam and it was better to keep it a secret. Considering that both Melanie and Scott knew the truth, one more person would not be good. So my sister was right, it definitely worked better with Tony staying in the dark.
When Olivia offered Remi the job, I originally had her also give Remi a check for $25,000.00 as a reward. And then for Remi to offer to split it with Liam. But this time it was my husband who suggested I remove that part, because Olivia offering that great job was enough of a thanks. And he was right, the extra money would have been overkill.
If there are questions or things you are curious regarding Behind the Mask just submit them on the Facebook Page.