Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A ROYAL CONTINUUM, behind the scenes


I skipped Tuesday's blog on purpose. No, really, on purpose. I wanted to keep the attention on my newest release so Backlist Tuesday is being pushed to the end of the week.

Today I'd like to talk about A Royal Continuum. I'm always interested in how writers create their stories, what goes into the whole process and how they come up with plot lines and characters. So I guess I'd better start at the beginning.

In February 2007, Amber Quill Press released Firebreather, what was initially written as a single title story for the BeastmasterI Pax. Firebreather was about a shapeshifter, Ferin Dekker, the Dracon king, and his dealings with a human female, Lea Venlay, who intrigues him on every level. The story revolves around Ferin and how he brings Lea into his culture and into his heart, despite the enmity between their families. In the course of binding her to him, Ferin shares Lea with his brothers and best friend, respectively Matthias, Adrian and Lucas.

Okay. That's Firebreather in a nutshell. I had intended to let the book stand by itself. But Firebreather was such a fun story and had such a wonderful response (was a bestseller on AQP's list for several months and hit #1 on Fictionwise in erotic romance) that I began toying with the idea of writing about Ferin's brothers. In a flash, Matthias's story began to unfold. A plot not so much built on danger and rebellious Dracon, but on character tension. And of course, the promise of hot, hot lovin'. :)

At the end of Firebreather, Matthias and Cora Venlay, Lea's sister, seem to have an attraction. Yet when I began writing, Cora just didn't fit. Matthias needed something more... And then she hit me. Ava Tailstack, cousin to the villain in Firebreather, suddenly popped into existence. She reveres family, but has problems with self-blame since her cousin brought down the Tailstack name, which further troubles Ava since she's been in love with Matthias forever. A wonderful character. But...not enough for Matthias. He needed more. And he found it with Tanner Flay, a half-breed Dracon with issues, the least of which is that he's straight and finds himself attracted to a man and a woman way out of his league. Half-breeds are rare, and not accepted in either human or Dracon culture.

With Ava and Tanner, the possibilities for conflict exploded, and I was having a blast trying to find out how Matthias could possibly mate Tanner and Ava. Matthias was royal, and I wanted a title to express his tie to Ferin. Firebreather II? Return to Dracon Mount? A Royal Match? Yech. Those titles totally didn't work. And then I thought about the story. Matthias has to continue his line. Hmm. He's royalty. Hmm. A Royal Continuum. Ah, I liked it.

I wrote a great first draft pretty quickly. Good juju. Until I reread what I'd written. I had to go back and make sure I stuck to all the rules I'd created in Firebreather. If Dracon and humans can't procreate, how the hell does Tanner exist? And there were inconsistencies in the physical lovemaking scenes I had to get straight. Names and spellings to correct. Tanner became Tannon for pages on end. Hello, Asheville has two "e's". Ack. A lot of crap to get right.

But I fixed it. And then Karin, my wonderful editor with AQP, fixed some more. Galley edits came back, and more corrections were made. Whew. So I hope it works now. I'm very proud of A Royal Continuum and wanted right away to get to work on Adrian and Lucas's story, which has so many twists and turns at this point that I'm not sure how to direct it. Alas, my current WIP is taking me FOREVER to finish, so I have to push the last installment in the Firebreather "series" aside. (I hate to say "series" because to me, that implies the books need to be read in order to be understood. But the Dekker brothers each have their own story that is related, but not dependent upon the other stories.)

Tanner is a great character, and a lot of his story still has yet to unfold. I'm thinking some revelations about Tanner will come out in the last book, tentatively titled Icebreather. (Still not sure if that works.) Then again, maybe not, because the focus of the story is Adrian and Luca. sigh I really need to finish my current stuff, get to another AQP book for the Bite Me Pax, a collection of stories about vampires coming out in Jan 2008, and a work for Loose Id I'm very excited about coming out in Dec 2007.... and THEN I can start Adrian and Lucas's story. whew

More later!


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