Seleste deLaney is my very welcome guest today. She's here to share the story behind the story of Of Course I Try (which has won fantastic reviews). Like Kipling's cat that walked alone, Of Course I Try was meant to stand alone. But not any longer. Look behind the scenes to see the birth of a series and a husband who can drive and offer editorial support!
Birth of the Blood Kissed Series
Hi everyone! Thanks for joining me into this little glimpse of the way my series was born. Normally when I write something, I know right off if it has series potential, and some projects I even plan that way from the beginning. Blood Kissed wasn’t one of those; it was a difficult child right from the beginning…
Of Course I Try, to Decadent Publishing, I’d planned it as a one-off. The story was complete, there wasn’t anything left to tell. I totally believed that until my first reviews came in with people saying it was “too short” and that they wanted to know more about Jocelyn and her world.
Let me tell you, I never thought there was anything scarier as an author than hitting send on a submission, but when you read things like that on a story you had shoved aside to move onto the next project, your heart stops and your brain does something like this (I have two voices living in my head at all times, occasionally more, so bear with me for the argument):
OMG. I have fans.
Not for long because they want something you can’t deliver.
Crap, I don’t want to be one of those authors who has a ‘screw the fans’ attitude.
Don’t sweat it. You’ve got other stories. Better to tell them than try to force this one to keep going.
Um yeah…I suppose you could be right…
Of course, the voice that said not to worry is a tricksy one—huge fan of reverse psychology—because from the moment that all played out in my head, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could keep the story going without ruining the initial short that introduced the characters to the world.
I was in the car with my husband as we were driving (back home to visit family I think) when the first part of the answer hit me. I turned to him and said, “I need to know if this is believable within the world of the paranormal.” After I explained my idea to him, my brilliant husband responded with, “Sure, but only if it happened for a reason.”
As he drove, I sat there and pondered why this particular piece of crazy magic would work. Other authors had done similar things (we could think of one at least), but I didn’t want to just rehash something old. Plus, I wanted it to be unique to the characters at hand. So I had to think about things like:
Why was Jocelyn able to reason past Max’s magic?
What made her so special that Max kept her around? Was it love or something more?
What about her could alter him so profoundly?
Each of those little pieces of a story less than 6000 words long clicked into place and opened up an entire world of possibility. The second story in what is now the Blood Kissed series, The Ghost of Vampire Present, will be out for the holidays. It follows Jocelyn on the next stage of her journey, introduces a couple new characters, and leads up to the piece I’m working on right now—the first actual Blood Kissed novel called (tentatively) Kiss of Death.
With the decision to make a series made (and moving forward), I’m both excited and petrified by the thought of those reviewers who asked for more reading the new pieces. What if they hate them? What if they love them? What if they want more than I can deliver?
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. One thing I am sure of though is dealing with vampires always involves a certain level of excitement and more than a smidge of terror. After all, they might kill you, but they might also make you stronger.
Huge thanks to Jenny for having me here today. I hope you’ll stop by my website and say hi on the blog, maybe even friend me on Facebook or Twitter. With stories coming in the near future from Carina Press, Decadent Publishing, and Evernight Publishing, I hope each of you find something in my work that you’ll enjoy.