Janni Nell Asks The Audience


Author Janni Nell stops by to give us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of her novel Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator. And don't miss her question for readers at the end of the blog entry.

Hi, I'm Janni Nell and I am delighted to be here as a guest blogger. Today I’d like to share a deleted scene from my debut novel Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator, but before I do let me tell you a bit about the characters:

Allegra Fairweather is a fearless investigator. It’s easy to be fearless when you have a guardian angel, who always rescues you from danger. Allegra’s latest case has taken her to Scotland where she’s had to deal with wailing banshees, vicious ghosts and a village determined to keep its secrets. She’s relied on Casper more that once to save her life, which has brought them closer than ever before.

I had always planned on having a scene where Casper tells Allegra his real name. As well as enhancing their intimacy, I felt it would give Casper extra depth. Working out where to include that scene wasn’t as easy as I’d expected. There didn’t seem to be a right place for it.

Doing a bit of lateral thinking, I considered incorporating it in another scene. Like the one where Casper talks about his family history. It would have worked there but would it have worked well? I didn’t think so. Names are very important and I felt that revealing Casper’s name needed a scene of its own.

Finally I decided to write the scene and work out where to put it later. The following is what I wrote but I wasn’t entirely happy with it. My gut instinct was screaming, Don’t reveal Casper’s name! After much deliberation, I decided to listen to my gut. I feel so mean not revealing his name in the scene below but sometimes you have to go with gut instinct.

* * *

Casper and I perched on a hill overlooking the village and Loch Furness. Our usual camaraderie seemed richer this morning and deeper like the beginning of a love affair.

After reminding myself sharply that Casper was forbidden to become involved with a mortal, I nevertheless indulged in a little fantasy that involved kissing him and quite a lot of petting. Nothing more I swear. You don’t believe me? Oh, okay, I’ll fess up. It did involve more than petting. When I got to the part of my fantasy where I yelled, “Yes! Yes! Oh Casper!” I stopped dead.

Casper wasn’t his real name. It was a nickname I’d given him when I was six years old and his habit of appearing and disappearing had reminded me of the friendly ghost. Not exactly the name I wanted to be squealing in my sexy, romantic fantasy.

As the sun set over the dark water of the loch, I murmured, “You’ve been my guardian angel for nearly twenty years and I don’t know your real name.”

He quirked an eyebrow. “I thought you liked calling me Casper.”

“Well I do but – What do they call you on Cloud 9?” He lived there with a lot of other angels and it suddenly bothered me that they probably knew his real name and I didn’t.

He didn’t answer right away. His gaze held mine. Remarkable eyes. Green and brown and amber like the colors of a sun-dappled forest. I could lose myself in them forever.

“Please,” he murmured, “go on calling me Casper.”

“I’m not sure it suits you any more,” I said stubbornly, but the truth was, it no longer suited me. He hadn’t changed - the tall broad warrior’s body had always rippled with just the right amount of muscle – but my feelings for him had. It was like a cloth had suddenly been pulled from my eyes and I was seeing him for the first time. He needed a new name to go with my new feelings.

I said firmly, “I want to know your real name.”

“It won’t change anything between us,” he said.

Okay, the rules forbidding a relationship between mortals and their guardian angels wouldn’t magically disappear just because I knew his real name. But at some deep instinctive level I felt it would bring us closer.

“Tell me,” I said.

He leaned forward until his lips softly brushed my ear. The touch sent a sexy tremor from my head right down to my toes. He whispered his name.

* * *

What do you think? Should the scene have been included? Should I reveal Casper’s name in a future book?

- Janni Nell