(I know we've gushed about Maven LJ's books before, but, good dog, the woman can write! If I can write a book half this good before I die, I'll be a happy, happy puppy.)
Linda is here this month to tell us her side of the Raintree backstory...
Lightning StrikesYou know how it is. Some stories come together slowly, with frequent and necessary modifications and pulling of the hair and ranting to friends, and others come together as if they’re a gift, falling into place with characters so immediately real you have no question about how they talk, think, feel. Though Linda, Beverly and I did have our infrequent hair pulling moments (See Linda’s blog about the sword – and yes, Kitty is in my current wip) this trilogy began as a gift. One minute we were talking about maybe one day doing a series together, and the next we had names, the beginnings of the overall plot, and traits like Raintree green eyes.
You know by now, I imagine, that this all started more than five years ago. I said it was a gift, not an express train.
I made one trip without Linda and Beverly. My husband and I went to Wilmington, North Carolina, where we walked the downtown streets and drove along the beach (where I picked out Gideon’s house) and – most important – I got a tour from a retired homicide detective. I’m always leery of giving the names of professionals who help me, mainly because while I do take and use little bits of information they pass along, I also sometimes take liberties, and I don’t want readers out there thinking it’s a true to life police procedural, and whoever told me one thing or another is SO wrong. No, I take and use the tidbits which suit me, and make up the rest. You never know what’s going to stick. He did point out a small place and said, “Best soul food in town.” Who knew that would make it? We drove past the police station, and down Wilmington streets, and most importantly he talked. About old cases, about crime statistics, about knowing someone’s guilty and not being able to prove it. (No, he does not talk to ghosts.) This was all incredibly helpful when it came to pulling Gideon together professionally, even though, as I said, I took many liberties.
I remember that somewhere along the way Linda and Beverly asked me about Hope’s magical talents. I told them she didn’t have any. Not sure why, but that’s just the way it is. She’s the lonely little petunia in an onion patch, the only “normal” person in a sea of paranormal. That’s her challenge, to accept that which is beyond her own experience. Not only to accept, but to jump right in and test the waters.
Writing the Raintree trilogy with Linda and Beverly was so much fun, even when we painted ourselves into the occasional corner. Like the moment when we realized all three stories would have to take place at the same time, or when Linda looked at me and said, “Hey, Gideon can’t fly!” (Okay, Linda never says “hey” and she does not speak in exclamation marks, but you get the idea. Call it poetic license.) Give a guy electrical powers and then try to give him a cell phone and a microwave. Make him play hell with all things electric, and then give his brother slot machines. What was I thinking? And yet, that’s who he was from the very beginning, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Detail, detail. I spent one long afternoon checking flight times and driving times (thank you Google Maps) so that the characters could all arrive at Sanctuary at the same time. I did tarot readings for all our characters, and they were oddly spot on. For most of my books I have a nice thin folder of notes. For Raintree I have a box.
Raintree: Haunted was a large part of my life for the past five years. I’m going to miss all the plotting and planning. I’m going to miss Gideon and Hope and Emma. Even though they aren’t my characters, I’m also going to miss Dante and Lorna, and Mercy and Judah.
Work isn’t supposed to be this much fun. When it happens take it as the gift it is, and enjoy.
Breaking news!! Haunted is #1 on the Waldenbooks list this week!
One lucky blog commentor will win an autographed copy of Haunted, so she, too, can develop a major crush on Gideon. You know how it works: comment to enter. Winner will be posted Thursday!
***Remember, tomorrow the Playfriends take over Romance: By the Blog in our second Blog Swap and Scavenger Hunt with Michelle Buonfiglio.