Lance Hampton was an accident. When I finally sat down to write the first chapter of Foreshadowed, I had three main characters: Hope Murdoch, Bryce Nelson, and Claire Jones. I imagined a love triangle. Bryce liked Claire, Hope liked Bryce, and Claire was sort of oblivious to all of it.
The premise of the story hangs on Hope’s death vision. She is murdered in the dark. I originally planned on Hope having the premonition. Yet I also wanted her to be a mind reader. So the question was, can she see death, too?
I didn’t have all the answers when I started writing. While I believe in the power of brainstorming and outlining (especially when attempting a series), I also know from experience that writing is exploration. I don’t know how it works, but sometimes the only way to find the story is to write the story. So I started writing.
I wrote the scene where Hope sits in Mr. Kimoto’s class, listening to the thoughts of those around her….
Never going to pass this class…
…he can barely speak English, why are they letting him teach it?…
…wax on, wax off…
…need a gun…
Lance was born. A troubled teen. Suicidal. Perhaps Hope could help him. Perhaps….
And then everything clicked. Lance is the one with death visions. He sees Hope die, and she sees it in his head.
Even though my head is already pounding, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and focus on his thoughts, pushing everyone else’s back until they’re no more intrusive than an electric hum.
…get sick if I see all the blood…don’t want to hang…what if I chicken out?…needs to be quick…quick, before they show up…maybe I could just jump off a building…none of the buildings here are tall enough…what is she doing?
My eyes fly open to catch him watching me. Before I can reflect on how odd I must have looked with my eyes closed and my head tilted toward him, before it fully registers how sharply defined his cheekbones are, his green eyes meet mine, and everything goes dark.
I’m in his head, seeing his thoughts. I can still see with my own eyes—I see his face, the worried, tortured expression in his eyes, but it’s all in the background. The scene unfolding in his head takes center stage. It’s not like the random flashes I usually get, and there are no words at all. It feels stronger than a daydream and plays like a scene from a movie.
It’s pitch-black, but I can hear heavy, labored breathing. Someone is either in pain or very scared. Maybe both. There’s a clicking rhythm of high heels on a hard surface. Someone running away.
Fear scurries across my skin as I realize it’s me. The person running away—the person in the dark—it’s me. I don’t know how I know. I just do.
The darkness is overwhelming. There’s no hint of light. And the “me” in his head stops moving. Crying now—a helpless, hopeless whimper.
There’s a sickening sound—I’m not sure exactly what it is—and the “me” in his head gasps before falling to the ground.
I pull out of Lance’s head and blurt out, “What the hell was that?” without thinking.
The unplanned love story evolved from there.
His lips cut me off—and not with words. His movement is sudden. One moment, I’m talking and the next we’re kissing. His hands cup my face, his lips urgent against my own. It’s my first kiss…and it’s awkward. Not bad, just awkward. My lips sort of stumble, not sure what to do, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. He keeps kissing me, one of his hands sliding to the back of my head, his fingers threading through my hair. Chills tickle my neck and my body softens, melting into him.
Lance Hampton began as an accident. Served as a plot device. And grew into an integral part of the story (and one of my favorite characters to write). Now, here he is, sharing cover space with Hope.
What do you think? How does he compare to the Lance in your head?