A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fantasy and Shadows

Where does a book come from? Who knows? To write a book takes a combination of hard work, heavy thought, ruthless determination and a little magic. To sell a book takes all of the above and a healthy serving of luck, which is why when we writers do sell one we crow as proudly as new parents.

When said book is a bit of a stretch and takes you in directions you never dreamed, that just makes it the sweeter.

My Gothic hommage INHERITANCE OF SHADOWS is being released by Carina on 12 March. Frankly, I doubted I would ever finish it, and seriously never believed it would sell. It’s set in the indefinite present, may or may not have paranormal elements and the hero and heroine… oh, but I’m telling you too much.

It’s funny – I have loved traditional Gothic romances all my life, but have never cared much for high fantasy. I certainly never intended to write any, but… In INHERITANCE OF SHADOWS the heroine Aurora has come to Merrywood, the estate of her late father’s friend, to attend a convention honoring her late father’s books. She never knew her father and was raised with little or no knowledge of him. He wrote a series of high fantasy novels that have spawned a rabid fandom, intellectual debate and a series of fan-based conventions. He also committed suicide in front of her when she was barely three years old. Or did he? That is another mystery she must solve.

Things at the convention go wildly awry; first of all, Aurora’s former love shows up, intending to write a book about her father – the very thing that broke them up in the first place. Aurora begins having strange dreams where she is taking part in ceremonies her father wrote about. His friend, her host, and his colleagues are annoyingly possessive of her. The conventioneers regard her as a-not-quite-human icon, the essence of the books come to life. And she is not the only being from the books seemingly come to life; creatures from the books begin to materialize, creatures that appear to be real and not just costumed conventioneers. Aurora realizes that not only her sanity, but her very life may be in danger… but by then it is too late to leave. She must find out if the fantastic world her father created is totally and truly imaginary.

During editorial conferences (some call them editorial combat) with my wonderful editor Mallory Braus we both found that the idea of a snippet of one of Aurora’s father’s books at the beginning of each chapter would set the mood of that chapter wonderfully. I had wanted to do this from the beginning, but had not mentioned it because (1) I didn’t think it would sell and (2) I had no idea of or inclination towards writing high fantasy. However, with Mallory’s enthusiastic urging I tried, and was astonished when the varied stories of the non-human creatures of my imaginary world flowed easily from my fingertips. So easily, in fact, that some of these chapter head ‘snippets’ were two and three pages long!

After a lot of internal debate – and urging from both Mallory and my trusted beta readers to go ahead and write the seven book series – I agreed to rein in the snippets to a reasonable length instead of completely eliminating them. However, the idea of taking on the series – seven books in an unfamiliar genre!!! – is a bit daunting. I am much more comfortable with my good old-fashioned Gothics, cozy mysteries and a romance every now and then. As I should be. After all, one most intelligent and perspicacious reviewer said I was the obvious successor to Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt!

I’d like to know your opinion. INHERITANCE OF SHADOWS is being released by Carina Press on March 12, so let me hear what you think.

Janis Susan May


Toni Anderson said...

I love high fantasy (especially if there's romance :)). Good luck, Susan!!

Taryn Elliott said... looks really interesting. I just put it on my TBR list on GR.

I've been getting back into gothics and can't wait to see what you come up with.

I love the idea of the snipets per chapter. Really drags the reader into the moment. I do get what you mean about daunting. Writing out of your comfort zone is always scary, but it can be exhilarating too.

Rita said...

It sounds wonderful and I love the snipits idea. You are such a brilliant writer I'm sure the series will be a huge success.

Maureen A. Miller said...

Ah, how I love the old Holt and Whitney gothics. I think your series sounds like an exciting endeavor. There is so much potential!

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