When so many of us were children, it was no thing whatsoever for our parents to let us run off in the neighborhood with our friends, with the street lights as our reminder that it was time to come home. Or to drop us off at the mall–you know, that place we went to find cool stuff before the internet happened?–and they’d pick us up once we’d had our fill of cheap pizza and cheaper accessories from Claire’s Boutique.
The “good old days,” right?
Me? I liked to hang out the library. I’d curl up in a chair with a stack of novels featuring a windblown hero on a horse, and read to my heart’s content. Sometimes, literally all day until my mother finished work and picked me up.
It worked out well, for a kid who loved romance novels being raised by a single mom… Until the day I was attacked at knifepoint at that very library I’d loved spending so much time in. I didn’t read another romance novel for almost twenty years.
It was a gifted Kindle, a free download of Lara Adrian’s Kiss of Midnight, and a remembered love of vampires that made me fall in love with romance again. Then came J.R. Ward, and then Suzanne Brockmann, and eventually the decision to write my own series before I bled our bank account dry. I remember feeling like I owed these women my life–hell, I still feel that way–because they gave me something I thought I’d lost forever, and in doing so irrevocably changed my life.
So the thing is, I approached writing my first novel with a healthy dose of naivete and more determination than I’ve had in just about anything except perhaps raising my children. It was one of those things they tell you never to do: I was rocking my newborn son to sleep, and an idea for an opening scene popped into my head, so I figured I’d write it down. Once I got into my Chronicles of Yavn world, more scenes came and the world got bigger.
Eventually I had enough material for at least seven books, I figured, maybe more. But… but… buuut… (as my youngest child would say). But things change. Plans change. I am no longer under contract with my publisher, so my originally envisioned series has become a trilogy. Helooo, adaptation.
At first, this was a hard thing to reconcile and I spent a lot of months wringing my hands. You hear a lot of authors talk about knowing when to end a series, and making a decision to wrap things up after a certain number of books, but for me it didn’t work out in quite that way. Well, there are no guarantees in life. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. And sometimes the thing you were so afraid of turns out to be for the best.
Re-writing Hunter by Night so it could either read as a standalone or cap the Chronicles of Yavn series made it an infinitely stronger book, in my personal opinion. I’m more excited than ever for it to be out in the world in a couple of weeks, and I’m so proud of the story. Most of all, I’m proud having arrived at where I am, at having written these three stories. I hear authors express sadness when they end a series and I can’t even find it in me to be disappointed. This is the series that gave me a passion for romance when I thought I’d never crack open another novel, and for that I think it will always be my favorite.
Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to be an investment banker. Christ on a cracker, I don’t think anybody can imagine me doing that now. 😉
So plans change, and series change, and characters change. The ones you think are throwaway secondary characters–like I thought Lee and Alexia of Hunter by Night were going to be–turn out to be so much more.
Anyway, I guess if you’ve gotta go out, go out on a bang. Lee and Alexia are fireworks all the way, and I can’t wait for you to meet them.
About Hunter by Night:
A supernatural war is about to ignite a scorching hot romance
Lee protects his vampire race, and hates humans as much as the enemies he kills. Just as he’s assessing new recruits to join the vampire king’s army, all hell breaks loose. The estate’s security system fails, evil is heading their way, and human-hating Lee is stuck protecting Alexia, the queen’s human best friend. But as dangerous obstacles force Alexia and Lee closer, an undeniable attraction is revealed, and the two must find a way to compromise.
Find it at: Apple| Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
His boots sped over the damp earth. Moments later, they arrived at one of the local properties where show horses had once been trained. The economy was tough these days, especially for humans. Dilapidated fences ringed the perimeter, and downed dressage posts lay on the ground in a dirt ring in front of the house. The humans had clearly loved their horses. The nicest kept building on the property was the barn. It stood close to the house. Closer than some people kept them.
He went there instead of the main house. The building appeared sturdy, and it would be a less obvious place to hide. Upon inspection, Lee found that some straw remained in the upper loft area.
He sat her against a bale of hay. Her clothes, soaked with blood and rain and spattered with dirt and tree sap, had seen better days. Still, after everything she’d just gone through, her dark eyes challenged him.
“Are you okay?” She nodded and brought her hand to her face, but he grabbed it preemptively. “Don’t touch. Do me a favor and look to the left.”
She complied. A deep cut across her cheek oozed steadily. Unexpectedly dark and lovely… for human blood.
Lee’s fangs thrust into his mouth. He ignored the pulsing ache in his cheeks and gums. All that life-giving fluid of hers. All… over… her. “I’m going to stop the bleeding.”
A blink and slight nod was all he got in the way of approval. She sat still, even though she probably didn’t know what he was about to do. And he didn’t explain, because around Alexia, he barely kept his will on a leash. Darkness pressed in around them, but she didn’t complain and didn’t act nervous as he pushed against her. His cheek brushed against hers as he swept his tongue over her cut. The smooth, delicious warmth of her human blood slid down his throat and deep into his gut. A throbbing need took root. Merciful heaven.
He’d dealt with his share of human fluid over the centuries. In battles, prisons… The odor pungent and reminiscent of dirty pennies. Alexia might have soft, olive skin and doe-like eyes, but he’d expected nothing more of her blood than the same astringent copper.
He sucked a deep breath and took another swallow, trailing his tongue again gently over warm, wet skin. Alexia’s blood tasted pure. Clean, with hints of all that tea and raw honey she loved to consume. Lee had never perceived anything so refreshing.
“Lexi…” Unable to say anything else, he licked from collarbone to chin, cleaning the blood from her skin. Across her jaw. More. Dear fucking God… like breathing, he wanted more.
I am glad you found your love of reading again, and that you started writing yourself and enjoy it so much. In this time of self publishing, that was not an option for you? Continue this series you love?
What is your next project going to be?
Thank you so much. Right this very moment, continuing the series is not a viable option. I can’t say for sure what will happen down the road. I do have a contemporary series in the works – book one came out in January, and I hope to have book two out before the end of the year. I’m sure there will be other projects on the horizon, but right now I’m hesitant to commit to specifics since we’re heading into summer and I’ll have little ones running around the house. 😉
Congratulations on the new release!!! 🙂 I hope you’ll self-pub the rest of your series, or do you have something new you’re dying to write?
Thank you! Short-term, my plan is to enjoy the last summer that I have my youngest kid at home with me, and I think it’ll be nice not to have deadlines for awhile. At this particular time, it’s not an option to self-pub in this world, but I don’t know what the future holds. I have a contemporary series in the works, and I’m sure there will be other things as well. 🙂
Elisabeth, I am so glad we met at RT so that I can actually hear you saying “Christ on a Cracker!”
This story about rocking your new born is SO MUCH like how I began writing, and I’ve heard it from many others. I’m fascinated by that motherly generativity that takes shape so soon after giving birth!
Also, your insights about the ins and outs of publishing, and how our stories change because of practicality, remind me of the true nature of creativity–it’s not about creating in a boundless space, but taking the formula, the confines, the reader expectations, and making something new and beautiful within them.
I love your excerpt, and I’m pleased I finally bought the first book in the series and I can finally dig in. It’s up next on the TBR!
Amber! I’m so thrilled we got to meet too (and I wish we lived closer together!), and I agree it’s pretty awesome the number of stories I’ve heard about motherhood being a springboard to writing. It’s sort of fascinating, how one form of creation begets another.
It’s definitely been a huge learning experience, the need to temper creative drive with practicality, and that learning experience has been great because I think that’s kind of life in a nutshell. I’m always explaining to my kids about the differences between want and need, and sometimes I have to remind myself, too!
I hope you enjoy King of Darkness! I just cracked open Blood Vine, too, so what awesome timing!
Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Elisabeth. I hear you on balancing kid-time and writing-time, especially over the summer. And enjoying both. 🙂
Love the excerpt – look forward to reading it! Vampires rule.