I'm picking up again with the Once Upon Stilettos author commentary re-read. In case you missed it, here's part one, which was mostly about the background of the story and the title. I have it on my to-do list to compile the entire commentary for Enchanted, Inc. and add it to the web site, but I'm not sure when that will happen.
Since part one was mostly about the title and the background, I'll do more about chapter one and then also cover chapter two.
So, the date with Ethan … When I was working on the concept for this series, before I started writing it or even had a firm plot outline and specific characters developed, what I had in mind was a number of potential love interests for Katie, and over time maybe one would turn out to be Mr. Right. I didn't want to do an outright triangle, and I didn't want her going back and forth, but I liked the idea of her having a few men in her life who were potential love interests and letting her do some casual dating before one became the obvious winner. I envisioned shipper wars on message boards and people declaring themselves "team whoever."
And then I started writing, and the character who was barely on my radar suddenly became obvious. But I didn't want to go there too soon, so in the ending of the first book and the beginning of this one, I let Katie date someone else, just so we'd have the comparison (and because Owen was way too shy to make a move so soon). Ethan was my idea of the "good on paper" guy. They had a lot in common, and he was the kind of guy a mom would rejoice to see with her daughter. But having some common background and the same magical status doesn't mean it will work out in reality. He's not a bad guy. They just aren't right for each other. That's what I was trying to show in that first date at the wine tasting. He's perhaps trying a bit too hard to impress her, and it utterly fails because this isn't the sort of thing that does impress her. She just finds the whole thing a bit silly.
The wine tasting is somewhat based on an event I went to not too long before I wrote this book. There was a fancy wine shop in the neighborhood where I went to church, and they donated a wine-tasting party for a fundraising auction. One of the choir members bought it and invited the choir. They went through all these wines and then handed out order sheets so you could buy them. I like wine, and I do drink it, but I couldn't honestly tell the difference between most of them at that tasting, and I never could taste all those flavors they said were in there. I could catch things like honey and pear, but not oak or coffee. I went through a few ideas of what kind of date Ethan might have come up with for an impressive first date, but most of them would have required a lot of research to get right, and then I remembered the wine tasting.
Meanwhile, this scene serves to remind us about the magical immunity and how it works while hinting that something might be wrong with Katie's immunity. I didn't plan it at the time I was writing it, but I realized after the fact when I was doing revisions that the wine fit thematically, since potions that change behavior or perception were so important to the plot of the book.
Then we get the meat of the main plot near the end of the chapter, where we learn about the possible mole within the company.