Sunday, November 22, 2009

Anatomy of a Love Bite

One of the most asked questions any author faces is: "Where did the idea for that story come from?" I thought why not blog about it. Hey, I blog about sillier stuff. Instead of focusing on one book, I thought why not go whole hog and talk about what inspires a series. Fair warning this blog contains blatant self promotion and more than a little ego spanking. That said, stay tuned for the…

Anatomy of a Love Bite.

It was a dark and stormy night sometime in the Spring of 2008. Really. It was. Check the weather reports if you don't believe me. Anyway, Lynne Connolly IMed me to say a publisher was about to open submission for comedic paranormal shorts. Sounded perfect for me, since I am a comedy writer. At the same time in another window I was talking to another good friend Savannah Chase, in case you're wondering. She said something. I said something. We both LOLed and suddenly the idea for Love at First Stake popped into my head… along with my heroine, Savannah Marshall. But, I needed a hero to match her. Okay, this is going to sound crazy but in yet another window I was chatting with another friend, Helen Ravell, just to give everyone their due. Whereas I wanted Savannah to be a little ditzy but strong, I wanted my hero to be her opposite. Telling Helen my idea, a hero started to take shape. From that brainstorming session Donatello Ravell was born. Rudolpho came as a complete surprise and reflects no other IM windows I may or may not have had open.

A week later, I had the nearly perfect 20k story written and subbed. Now during the two month wait to hear back, I prayed it wouldn't be accepted. Weird for an author to say, but it was true. The whole world inside that 20-something thousand word story kept nagging at me. It wanted to be bigger, longer, and instead of a short story, I had a novel forming in my head. Luckily, I got my rejection and that freed me to start playing again. Over the next 4 months, I tweaked, wrung and basically teased the world I wanted out of the shortie. But, that still wasn't enough. I saw a bigger world. I just didn't know how to get it out. So I shelved it to percolate and worked on a few other things.

Skipping ahead a bit, I heard a new company was about to open. So I dragged Love at First Stake out again and read it over. A small amount of tweaking went on yet again and I subbed it for a second time. Biting my nails I waited. Exciting, isn't it? Since you're reading this, you know I heard back with an affirmative from Desert Breeze Publishing. Feeling pretty good, I beamed, but a pesky question from Gail Delaney set my mind to wandering. In a conversation about the book, she said, 'From the ending I see you left it open to do a sequel. Where do you see this going?'

Okay, as I said, L@1stS was left open to a sequel, but that question burned a hole in my brain, as I scrambled to come up with something other than 'duh'. My muse slapped the answer in my head. At the time I thought it was a good one that soon changed. I waxed poetic about all these siblings floating around and how I'd toss them in the love abyss in each book. See, sounded good to me. Sounded good to Gail, too. So, now we had 3 books in the series in our collective heads. The second, Love to Stake Another Day—available now!—would be about Sav's brother and Donnie's sister and I'd toss in Rudolpho's crazy daughter as the villain. We'd work on the plot for Book 3 later but it would probably be about Eli, Donnie's younger brother.

Before Gail left me off the hook, she asked, 'So what would the series title be?' I was on the hot seat again. Several titles floated through my head. Vamps in Love? Nah! Love Sucks! Yeah it did at times, but no. Love Bites? Okay we both liked that one and sounded much better than Love Sucks, even though Vampires suck blood but in the case of the series, the books wouldn't. Suck that is. We had a title and a second book in our heads. Time to get to work.

Now, we come to Love to Stake Another Day. I was halfway through my first draft, when inspiration smacked me a good one. Each book in the series would be a stand alone book, but part of something bigger. Suddenly conspiracy theories and subplots floated through my head. Each book would tell a main story, but underneath it all something darker lurked. Somewhere down the line all these subplots would converge and explode. I get chills just thinking about it.

That brings us to Book 3, Love Free Stake Hard. Instead of Eli, I saw Demetrious as the hero in this third volume. So, Eli gets pushed back to book 4. With each book I wanted to build upon what has gone on before and pump up the tension. LFSH will have all the elements of the first two, but will finally reveal some secrets I started in L@1stS. I can't divulge anything just yet, but I promise when you turn that last page, you'll be asking yourselves, 'He didn't just do that. Did he?' Or you could be asking yourself, 'WTH was he thinking?' I'm betting on the first one.

Somewhere in the middle of Book 3, still in production by the way, I had another moment of inspiration. L@1stS always felt like there was a story that needed to be told that lead up to the meeting of Sav and Donnie. I approached Gail and said I have this idea for a short, a freebie that would give some insight into the Love Bites world and help bridge the distance between Books 1 and 4. I explained what I had in mind and Gail said run with it. Love Bites ½ was born, or as I like to call it, Love a Little, Stake a Little. And now another piece of the puzzle fell into place. With more pieces to come as the muse sees fit to let me know about them. For now, that is the story thus far of how the story thus far came to be. Whew, I'm tired just writing that last sentence.

Well, that's the Anatomy of Love Bites, sort of. As you can see, inspiration isn't a one time thing. Like a child it grows, adapts and gives you migraines along the way. As an author you either learn to adapt along with it or it'll put you in a nursing home with padded cells. I've already got mine reserved and waiting.

I hope any of this made sense to you. Like I said, people always ask where our ideas come from. Sometimes a two or three line answer leaves out a lot of the details and the Vampire is in the details. 'Snicker'

Okay boys, slip me in the coat and cart me away. I'm ready for the cell now.


Before I leave, I just have to thank the man who makes every cover paint a story. Nik, I couldn't do it without you. Well, I could but it's more fun to see what you'll come up with next.

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