My first eleven books were Historical Romance. I wanted to do something different–something I had always wanted to do. I wanted to write a Contemporary Paranormal Romance about vampires. Switching from writing about the people and lifestyle of the 1800s to present-day shouldn’t be a big deal, right? WRONG!
In my humble opinion, I was pretty familiar with the customs, language, mannerisms, etc., of the Old West. As I’ve talked about before, I was so lucky to have a ‘real’ cowboy dad, who lived by old-fashioned values, and loved to tell stories about the days of the American West. It was fairly easy to write my own stories of romance and adventure in the Old West based on tales I had been hearing all of my life.
It only took me a couple of chapters into my new book (and new genre) to realize I was in trouble. Writing in a contemporary voice as opposed to a historical voice was a whole different writing style. I rewrote those first chapters over and over again. They just didn’t sound right.
I decided to write the entire book and then I would worry about finding my contemporary voice. Easier said than done. After writing a chapter or two, and sometimes even just a few pages, I would delete it all and start over again. I wanted to give up. I desperately wanted to write this book. It was a vicious circle.
My beautiful daughter-in-law, Heather Blake, was my oldest son’s wife. She was also an avid reader and one of my biggest fans. Ever since she had became a part of our family, she was my writing mentor. I would call her constantly while writing a book and bounce ideas off of her. Heather was always straightforward, and I knew I could rely on her to tell me exactly what she thought. We had talked many times about my idea to write a vampire book, but when I was finally ready to give her a rough draft…whoa…I was not prepared for her response.
I will just write the highlights of her comments the way I remember them. Keep in mind, this book was also my first attempt to write erotic romance. “Oh my God! Why didn’t you warn me that this book was so explicit? Do you know how hard it is to read that stuff knowing that your husband’s mom wrote it? I just skipped those parts. Okay, so Mateo is magnificent. I can picture him clearly in my mind. What a hunk. Love him! But, Dawn…yuck. She’s supposed to be this experienced camper and big-time hiker, but she can’t remember to bring matches? Please! What a ditzy blonde. Can’t stand her. Mateo deserves so much better.”
Ditzy blonde? Yuck? Mateo deserves better? Oh my God! By the way, there is another blog post here called ‘Ditzy Blonde’ that was inspired by Heather’s reaction to that first draft. Needless to say, it was back to the drawing board. I started over again, virtually changing everything but the locale and the names of my characters. Heather had also mentioned that she wanted to know more about the history of Mateo’s vampire clan, so I worked hard on developing a story about the Blood Clan and their origins.
Motivated (and a little gutted) by Heather’s candid remarks, I rewrote this manuscript over and over again. There’s another blog post here entitled ‘The Death of a Manuscript’ that was inspired by my relentless quest to find the voice I needed to finish this book.
It took me five years to write this book, which was just insane. I gave up completely on it several times, and stubbornly refused to work on it for months at a time. But, I thought about it constantly, and my love for my characters, Dawn and Mateo, kept drawing me back in. They had a story to tell and they deserved a chance to tell it.
Throughout all this time, my wonderful daughter-in-law was my constant sounding board for all the story changes and ideas. Tragically, she suddenly became ill two years ago and passed away on July 29, 2015. I loved her (and still love her) like my own child and one of my best friends. Her loss is indescribable for all of us, but especially for my son and their two boys. How I wish Heather could be here now to read the finished book, and to celebrate the release of Superstition with me. I would give anything to hear one more ‘brutally honest’ critique from her. On release day, I will be looking up at the Heavens and whispering, “Thank you, my beautiful angel.”
Tomorrow is Sunday Funday. I’m going to be posting some fun (and silly) stuff about Superstition. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
Now available for pre-order in eBook and paperback! Watch for news about the upcoming release of the audio book. Release date: June 9, 2017