Today I’ll do one last FAQ about Paramour. It’s kinda spoilery if you haven’t read Episode 10 or the excerpts yet, so I saved it until after launch. (Again, paraphrased to combine different versions of the same basic question)
Q: What’s with the new cast? Why can’t we carry on with Thomas, Josh and Amanda?
The Sly Answer: We are carrying on with Thomas, Josh and Amanda this season… just not as our POV characters.
The Director’s Commentary, TMI About What A Flake I Can Be, Boring Writer-y Answer: As much as we like the original trio, nine more episodes with those characters and conflicts would have gotten pretty stale as to plot, sex and relationships.
When Emma and I first started talking about planning a next season — this was toward the tail end of edits for All Of Her — I had originally planned to bring in an outsider with a law enforcement background to take over as the heroine. This character would have to finish off the Janus threat for good. That original character actually made it into Season One, during All The Queen’s Men. If you remember Racquel “Rocky” Dussault, she was supposed to be your Season Two main character. She would have fallen into the Janus mess via Nicole’s investigation, which was all nice and logical and neat.
Best laid plans, good intentions and yada, yada, yada. I tried to make it work as planned, only once I started working in Rocky’s POV, I discovered her fatal flaw: I didn’t like her. She still had that resistance or disapproval about having fun with sex. She turned out to lack everything a good Fantasy Heights heroine needs, a solid mix of bravery, openness, curiosity, brains and vulnerability.
After struggling a while to change and justify her, I finally said fuck it and admitted she wouldn’t work, which relieved Emma to no end. She suffered through some truly dreadful Episode 10 drafts. After the third try, we started to kick around other ideas.
Complicating this decision was the unresolved situation with Josh — my original plan to give him a happily ever after would have taken place in the first book of the now-defunct Paramour Project. When I decided to focus solely on Fantasy Heights and not pursue that series, this left a gigantic elephant in the corner: what to do about Josh.
You would not believe how long it took me to decide on a solution. It finally came to me one day while I was outside playing ball with the dog, long after I’d decided how to handle the OMG WE HAVE NO HEROINE problem.
The heroine problem was a lot simpler to solve than the Josh problem. I’d put a lot of development time into the Paramour Project already and one heroine really stood out for me — Sophie Osborne (now Sophie Morris). Of all the disappointments over shelving that series, I regretted not getting to write and resolve her the most. Her backstory is fathoms darker than Amanda’s, but she shared that same brave-but-vulnerable quality I liked about Amanda, PLUS Thomas’s single-minded drive after having lost his way for a while. What more could I possibly want?
(And before you even go there, Sophie IS NOT Josh’s happily ever after. No. No conspiracy theorist fodder allowed.)
Sophie — as a character and an arc — transplanted beautifully. Her original plot threw her into active duty before she was strictly ready, so she felt almost tailor-made for this job. Of course, it helps to have a wild card like Fiona Cornell in the mix. Love her or hate her, without her, Sophie wouldn’t work at all.
Sophie also allows Season Two to be much more character driven instead of a drawn-out discovery process. This allows for people like Rylie, Hector, Ben, Oscar and Quinn to have their own arcs, so that’ll be something new this season.
There was just one last glitch we had to overcome before we could launch Season Two: the fix for the unresolved-Josh problem pretty well broke the entire planned Season Two arc. I cut characters left and right to make it fit, and revisions are still ongoing in episodes 11 and 12 to set up what comes later. Yes, it was a pain, but the solution — once I figured it out — on how to show readers the Josh resolution without being able to use him as a POV character was so blazingly simple that Emma actually swore once I explained how I meant to do it. (Emma rarely swears, so this was an event.)
So, that’s more than you ever want to know about what happened behind-the-scenes to arrive upon Sophie as our Season Two POV character.