As some of you may have read from previous posts – I know I have mentioned it a few times – but Cranberry Blood was the first story I actually wrote. Well, I wrote a version of it and it was very different from the story being published tomorrow. So, as you can imagine I’m very excited about its release, not to mention nervous. :-P
I wanted to base today’s post on re-telling the process of how this story – and series – was conceived. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce the world to anyone who is new to the series, and give anyone who has any questions an actual place to ask them.
How it all began . . . .
I was stood waiting for the bus on this dark, quite road. The particular bus I had to get to go to work was a small residential bus, so it went all around the residential streets.
Every now and again a car drove past, but other than that it was extremely quiet. Across the road from me stood a fence, and beyond that was a college. With the sky being that odd blue colour it usually was in winter, the building looked like a giant black block. I'm tired and cold, hopping lightly from one foot to the other hoping the bus would show up soon, otherwise I was going to be late.
My focus was fixed to the college and its flat roof, and I found myself thinking it would be quite freaky to be walking down that street, and look up to see a bulky figure sitting there. Feral golden - or whatever eye colour one would find chilling - eyes locked on to me.
I was alone on the street. If people were up and getting ready for work the lights in their houses weren't on; would anyone be able to hear me if I screamed? Would that creature chase me now I had seen it? Was it up there hunting, or perhaps for an entirely different reason?
Believe it or not, but that was how the idea for the Blood Series started. Yes, I imagined I had a Werewolf sitting on a roof looking at me. Okay, it wasn't exactly that straight forward . . .
For years I had been playing about writing scripts, and for a while I had wanted to write something to do with vampires and werewolves. I had always loved old school horror, and anything paranormal, and one of the sayings writers do stick to is – “write what you know, what you love” - well I love me some vampires and werewolves, so darn it; I was going to write a story involving them.
For two months I sat scribbling and ripping up note after note, trying to figure out what type of a story I wanted to write. There were – and remain to be - so many stories out there - stretching back years - with these two particular types of mythological creatures. I knew there was no way I was going to come up with something completely original. So I decided instead of trying so hard to do something different, I wanted to take parts of stuff I loved about those particular stories and just twist it all into something different; something that me and my odd little imagination would give birth too.
I love Dracula - so I knew I wanted to add a little Romanian folklore in there. So, the vampires in the series are loosely based upon the Strigoii.
I love werewolves (old school types) - So I made my werewolves the big bad walk-around-like-I’m-still-a-man-with-a-few-differences wolves. My guys don't have tails, and they don't run around on all fours. Well, they could if they wanted to, but it would be a little awkward and uncomfortable for them. :-P
I love the settings of old horrors, there is always some moors or a forest - So I decided to set some of the series in Scotland. Wide open spaces. Moors. Forests.
And then let’s not forget, the havoc when the big bads come to town - So I set the other part in London.
Last but not least I wanted a kick-ass heroine - or at least a chick who is kick ass in her own right - I wanted my heroine to have a problem though; an addiction, or maybe for her to be trapped in a position that she doesn't want to be in, but has no choice.
After I had figured all of that out the story became a little bit clearer. But, the story was not She-Wolf. Oh no. She-Wolf I wrote in August 2010, and I will get into that in one moment : P
It took me 9 months to write the original. As I stated early, it was the first book I had ever written, so I was still getting use to how to go about everything. Once I finished, I sent it off to some very helpful ladies who gave me their honest opinions. The feedback was positive, and very useful. After reading through CB a couple more times, I realized I had backed myself in to a corner, which was no good.
So in February 2010, I ripped the book to pieces - mentally - and started to re-plan and piece it back together. I took all the ideas, and characters I loved and placed them on my mental "keep" file, then looked at the rest. A week later, I had a new story. My heroine wasn't as weak as she was during the original. She was stuck, and somewhat vulnerable in a sense due to the shit life had dealt her, but tougher. I was completely in love with my new hero, so overall, I was happy. Everything had clicked in to place and the flow of the story - past & future of all the characters - was crystal clear.
So I got to writing it, and had it finished by June 2010. I sent it off to my helpful beta readers and got some great feedback.
If it wasn't for this book, for the heroine & hero - as crazy as it is to admit - there would be no She-Wolf.
She-Wolf (Blood Prequel)
This book was never planned.
There are a lot of characters in this world, and while writing Cranberry I did a lot of history info (family trees, character profiles etc.) So I always knew there was a story between Owen and Clare.
It would be a lie to say that I never thought about writing their story, because I planned - and hope very much - to write a few short stories regarding certain characters in this world. All of them have been through some interesting events/situations at one point or another. All of them have a story to be told. I just never thought that I would be writing Clare's and Owen's so soon after I had finished Cranberry Blood.
She-Wolf started when I was trying to write a different story; Stepping Stones, which is actually scheduled for release this August. I was trying to concentrate on a conversation between the two sisters from Stepping Stones, and I kept having visions of Owen walking in to a strip club and finding Clare working there. That was it. That image, over and over again, until it drove me mad and I had to sit down and write. As I started writing, I realized that their story took place before the events of Cranberry, and that the two stories were actually linked.
(I realize that might sound a little insane. I have characters that are in Cranberry so naturally the stories would be linked? Nope, some of my characters - despite the fact they are Pack members or Colony members - they have stories that don't affect their Pack/Colony or have anything to do with the main story arc of this series. I thought that was the case between Clare & Owen. Oh, how wrong I was.)
I planned for She-Wolf to be a freebie. When it went past 10k I decided it would end up being a novella, and I might query it. By the time it had gone past 40k I was pretty certain that it was actually a novel, something that had Owen gloating in the dark corners of my mind. By 75k I was finished, and She-Wolf was submitted.
Now, despite the fact that the Pack issues with the Rogues in She-Wolf was indeed linked to Cranberry, the story was mainly a romance between Owen and Clare, and it was an introduction to one side of the world of The Blood Series. It was an appetizer.
Cranberry Blood will be the main course. It’s the first book, or rather, it’s Heather and Brendan’s first book; the first step in their joint journey. It’s the book which really kick starts the reason for the series; kick starts the events. It opens the world up wider. We head in to vampire territory in this book, so to speak.
I do intend to write other characters stories; some take place before the series, some during, and possibly after. I currently don’t know when I will be writing them, but I know a lot of these characters have stories to tell.
For those of you who have read She-Wolf – and may read Cranberry Blood - is there anyone in particular you would like to learn more about? Feel free to say, I’m still constructing a list and plans, so I will be happy to add to it. J
To sum up the overall feel to the world I would say that it is dark, gritty, and bloody. The books contain huge amounts of sarcasm, tension, irony, and humour. Now, I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot; I don’t know if this book – or series – is something completely fresh and different. That is something you as a reader have to decide, but I do very much hope that you find some enjoyment in reading these stories; because I truly enjoyed writing them.