22 November 2010

Seleste deLaney

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…

When I submitted my erotic paranormal short story, 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.

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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.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Seleste!

    Your post started me thinking how important reader feedback is. I know that as a reader I'm shy about contacting authors. But now that I've glimpsed "the other side", the author's view, I understand there's no reason to be shy. As an author I treasure reader feedback: Reviews, Amazon and Goodread ratings, mentions in tweets, Facebook links, everything!

    More than readers would believe their feedback helps out writing grow, and as you've shown, Seleste, can actually draw out new stories or a whole series!

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  2. I think it's great that you can kick ideas like that around with your husband. Mine's pretty supportive but he's more in the I'll read it when it's finished camp.

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  3. It's sooooo important to me. And not just the "I loved it, I want more" feedback. What doesn't work helps me grow as a writer too.

    Honestly, if it wasn't for my contact with an author several years ago, I might not be published today. Her support and friendship really pushed me to not give up when things get hard (and my Carina Press novella is dedicated to her--shhhhh). So I really value the author/reader relationship from all angles.

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  4. Hi Eleri! Yeah, I got really lucky in the husband department. He's been insanely supportive of me from the moment I decided I wanted to start writing "for real". He gets upset if I forget to send him stuff before it comes out LOL.

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  5. I think it's great to connect with your fans, after all they are the people who buy your stuff. As a writer myself, I have a few friends I bounce ideas off of and I can usually tell right away if they get it or if I need to rethink my idea. I haven't thought of a series yet, or let me rephrase, I've thought of some great ideas that could be turned into series, but I'm not there yet, not to that point so I think it's great you are! I can't wait to read your Blood Kissed stories!

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  6. I loved hearing the way this series came about. Support and validation can be wonderful brain-boosters, sources of inspiration and, of course, goads!

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  7. Thanks Kelly and Taryn! I'm lucky to be surrounded by inspiring people who support and "get" me.

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  8. It's always interesting to learn how series are developed. Your hubby is obviously a great sounding board and very helpful.

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  9. Thanks for visiting with such a great post, Seleste :) Honestly, guest authors make my Mondays so much brighter -- add in lovely comments and I hardly need that second cup of coffee ;) Thanks, everyone!

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  10. Thanks so much for having me here, Jenny :) It was fun :)

    And yes, Shelley, he's a keeper :)

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