Wednesday, January 23, 2008
A Playground Hat Trick
The Playground is delighted to have not one, not two but three guest bloggers here today sharing with our readers about the "stories behind the stories" from their anthology WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE.
Allison Brennan, Roxanne St. Claire and Karin Tabke are visiting today and we've built another campfire in the middle of the sandbox to help keep us and our guests warm. It's going to hit 44 degrees today, which is twice as high as it got on Sunday. Pick up a wood skewer, grab a marshmallow and be careful not to burn your fingers.
The Stories Behind The Stories
Deliver Us From Evil by Allison Brennan
Nearly five years ago, I had an idea for a supernatural series. But shortly thereafter, I sold my romantic suspense and my supernatural idea had to be put on the back-burner. I needed to build an audience in one genre before I started writing in another.
After six romantic suspense novels, I had a chance to write something a little different--a paranormal romantic suspense. It was my chance to dust off my supernatural story idea and I was very excited.
But my ideas were all "big"--too big for a 35K word novella. I re-read the opening of the first book of the series--I'd written it back in 2003 and it was rough, but the core of the idea was there. And I realized why I had never gotten past those first hundred pages. I didn't know enough about my hero's past.
The hero of my series is Rafe Cooper. He is the classic tortured hero, but I didn't really know why. Then it clicked--his backstory. His backstory--what made him the tortured hero he is in my series--became my novella.
Rafe is the only survivor of a massacre at the lost mission of California. He's in a coma the entire novella, saved by his best friend Anthony Zaccardi, an historical architect and demonologist from a small island off Sicily. What happened that fateful night when twelve psychologically disturbed priests were slaughtered is known only to Rafe. And while Anthony was able to piece together the truth, he certainly didn't know what Rafe endured--or what he will have to endure when he comes out of the coma.
Deliver Us From Evil stands alone as well and serves as a "prequel" for a series I haven't sold yet. I had so much fun writing it. While there is a supernatural element, as my mom told me after she read it, "It sounds just like you." I couldn't help but laugh--my authorial voice is the same, but having the freedom to explore what you can't see made this story both a joy and a challenge to write.
Reason To Believe by Roxanne St. Claire
Thanks, Playfriends…and especially my dear buddy Marilyn…for the invite to visit the Playground again! I love being here, and especially love sharing the swing set with my super-talented co-authors, Allison and Karin. WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE is my first toe-dip into the swirling waters of the paranormal, and I admit I was a little perplexed at how I would incorporate the world of woo into the Bullet Catcher fantasy I promise every reader.
It turned out to be tons of fun, as it usually is when we force ourselves to push the envelope of our comfort zone. But I didn’t go entirely out of my zone – I cheated when I wrote the novella, Reason to Believe.
Back in 2000, I wrote my first manuscript, a romantic suspense called DANGEROUS SKIES. It had a great run on the RWA contest circuit, finaling with reassuring regularity, and winning several first place slots. Best of all, the work garnered my first agent, an almost-offer or two, and lots of requests for a full, but it was ultimately (and mercifully) sent to that final resting place for all Not Quite Ready for Prime Time manuscripts...the box under the bed. But in that manuscript lived a hero I loved. My first love, really, since he was truly the first fully-developed (in every sense of the word) hero I'd ever created. Chase Ryker, a former Navy fighter pilot, an astronaut who’d flown the space shuttle, an engineer stud (I know, I know, can you spell oxymoron?) with a wry sense of humor and bone-deep belief in every law of science.
When it came time to write a paranormal, I pulled Chase out from under the bed just so I could throw him on it one more time. Did he still have the ability to make me go weak in the knees? Could he still wake me up at night with the perfect line of dialogue and a twinkle of deep blue eyes? Did he still remind me of David James Elliott, when he peaked on JAG? Chase had gotten excellent scores in the contests, a few editors commented that he was memorable and delicious, and, honestly, I’d never really gotten over him. It turns out he just needed a new story, and what better way to torment the Man of Science than to force him to protect – and believe – a Woman of Woo? I really didn’t want to change his astronaut backstory….but somehow I had to make him a Bullet Catcher. I did, and I even used my own manuscript plot points as his personal history, and private pain. I let him grow his hair a little, too, since he wasn't in the military anymore. He still woke me with whispered dialogue, and he still buckled my knees.
So, what do you know? Some heroes never die, they just grow new plots! I hope he’s a welcome addition to the Bullet Catcher cadre and worthy of his HEA, since it was so many years in the making.
Redemption by Karin Tabke
Thank you ladies for inviting me to come by and play for the day! And hanging out with Allison and Rocki is an added plus!!!
I’ll cut right to the chase:
Have you ever read on a back cover blurb about how the hero is a bad boy, or a rake only to read the book and find out the author has told us he’s a rake/bad boy but he really isn’t? In Redemption, Zach Garrett is bad to the bone. But he lives hard, and he loves hard, and in Redemption the balance of humanity hinges on him righting his dastardly deeds done to the one person in the world who holds sway over him. Danica Keller.
I didn’t mince words or paint Zach into a rose-colored corner. He does some crappy stuff: this story is about his redemption. I hope you fall in love with him like I did.
My novella Redemption is the prequel to my Legends of the Fallen series. If I had to describe it in a nutshell I’d say Legends is about hot cops who go bad, and the women who try really hard not to love them—but do, all while trying to keep the bad guys, in this case the Immortals (bad cops who chose the dark side), from retrieving the key to the destruction of humanity as we know it.
Boiled down, it’s also about good vs evil, right vs wrong and how so many of us cross the line for the greater good even though we know we are breaking man’s law as well as god’s law. It’s also about love, and passion, and righting long ago wrongs.
I hope you enjoy!
P.S. All three authors have graciously offered to give away an autographed copy of the book, so three commenters will be selected today to win! Thanks Allison, Rocki and Karin.
KILLING FEAR will be released next Tuesday, FIRST YOU RUN will be released April 1st and MASTER OF SURRENDER will be released on June 24th.