My daughter and I spent Saturday binge-watching House Hunters on HGTV. It’s fun to see what housing options are available all across the country, in various price ranges. I also consider it research to observe the people featured – the different things they are looking for in a home, the way they treat their significant other, their facial expressions and responses to features that are more or less than those they are seeking.
As we watched, we talked about the different types of houses, about floor plans and decorating schemes that we found attractive. We discussed positives and negatives about contemporary versus modern designs, light colors versus dark colors, city living versus more rural areas. We laughed at some of the couples and their disagreements and were surprised by others.
I’ve always been fascinated with houses. I enjoy walking around town, especially in older neighborhoods, viewing exteriors and being curious about interiors. I’m interested in floor plans, decorating styles, and color schemes. I sometimes feel like a Peeping Tom, walking the neighborhoods and gazing at windows. I would love to see the inside of so many houses!
Lucky for me, our community hosts a Showcase of Homes most summers. The Showcase is an opportunity for area builders to show off a variety of architectural style homes with the latest in home innovations, styles, and decorating. Attendees tour the homes and get to vote on their favorite home at the Showcase entrance/exit tent. The Showcase homes are usually in the $300,000-$500,000 range. My daughter and I enjoy attending the event together and living vicariously through our own version of House Hunters.
I’ve also always been fascinated with people, and I believe homes can tell you a lot about a person. I wonder about the families residing in the homes, those in the old, established neighborhoods as well as those who will be moving into these new homes. What is their family dynamic? Who are they? What do they do for a living? What made them choose the homes they’ve chosen?
In this scene from my WIP, Fugitive Heart, the hero and heroine haven't seen each other in eight years, and he's been staking out her house, looking for a fugitive.
J.T. peered through the darkness, studying Dana’s house. It was time to move. He’d already wasted too many hours trying to avoid her, both tonight and in his past. Dana’s property would provide some evidence proving that his nephew Bobby had been there, or hinting at where he’d gone. And with any luck at all, Dana would never be the wiser.
Old feelings of inadequacy accompanied him across the street, beating in time with his pounding heart. Tall, thick hedges lining the perimeter of her yard warned him, much as they had when he was a 17-year-old kid coming to pick up his date. Keep out. He’d ignored the warning, but his father’s words had been harder to shake. You’re not good enough for her, boy.
Damn his father for making him doubt Dana’s love, and for making him doubt himself, even now. For God’s sake, he was a successful investigator. He could do this.
He wasn’t here for Dana. He was here to help Liz by finding her son. He crept up the paved driveway past the hedges and into the narrow strip of grass next to the house. He’d come too far to quit now.
He paused in the shadows of the house to listen. The breath he'd been holding floated briefly in the cool air, a cloud of white against the dark of night, and then it dissipated into nothing. He shivered and adjusted the collar of his leather jacket around his neck, an uneasy feeling gnawing at his gut.
Staying close to the house, he kept moving. There was no time for second thoughts.
Near the back door, two chest-high windows were dark. Cautiously, he peered in. Neon blue microwave lights shouted at him from the darkness. 10:37.
Ignoring the whisper of doubt telling him it was too early, J.T. darted from the house to the side of the garage a few feet away. Someone had painted the small windows of the big doors with black paint, and the side door was padlocked. He glanced around as he dug his lock picks out of his pocket.
What is your impression of the heroine, based on this scene from my hero’s POV? I'd love to hear your thoughts!