It all started with a line. I know that is stating the obvious, but it’s true. Back in 2007, I’d just begun my writing career in earnest. My first book had been published and my second was due out in April, so I thought I knew what I was doing. Back then, I was big on first lines. First lines were gateways to adventures. Still are, but that’s beside the point.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. So anyway, I had two books started already. One would go on to be Mis-Staked, published by Champagne Books, and the other was only a chapter or two of a book titled Immortally Yours, now, published by Desert Breeze publishing. I mean with two books more or less kicking my butt, why would I even entertain thoughts of starting a third, not to mention I had edits coming on the book coming out in April. Yep, I’m a glutton for punishment. Least I was in those days. I’ve learned my lesson on multiple books at the same time, tyvm.
But, this line was so intoxicating, I couldn’t let it go. I mean, it floored me with all the possibilities that went along with it. I knew right away it was going to be a paranormal romance. As I stared at the line, I saw a Southern Belle uttering the line. In fact, it was my wife’s voice echoing in my head.
“Not to sound totally insane, but how much wax does it take to do a bikini line when you’re a freaking werewolf?”
Not to say she’s hairy or a werewolf, but it was so a thing she would say. I had my heroine, but how did she become a werewolf? I’ve lived in the south my whole life and werewolves weren’t exactly common place. Goth kids in vampire makeup you could see everywhere. Tripped over them at the mall, Walmart. You name it. Werewolves? Not so much.
Then it hit me. What if lycanthropy was a sexually transmitted disease? That insane thought gave me the how. My heroine, who I named Madison, was rich and had gone on a vacation to Europe. She somehow got lost and ended up in Transylvania. Still, with me? Good, I know I’m hitting you with a lot of back story, but the biggest part of writing is getting to know your story and characters. I sat in my recliner living this back story in my head for a few minutes and fell in love with Mads. She is my wife so it was kind of easy.
Lost in Transylvania demanded a tall dark mysterious man. And, Nicholi Grant was born, or created rather. Madison, being who she had gradually become in my head, would have no problem having zee roll in zee hay with a tall dark mysterious stranger with the devilish good looks of Gerry Butler. My good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick made me say that, but it’s true. Nicholi does sort of remind me of him.
I had my first line, a Southern Belle and a mysterious one night stand who apparently turned out to be a werewolf. Sounded like I had a book on my hands. Nope, but I was close. I still needed a plot, a story to toss them into and shake like some fish in cornmeal and Tony’s. If you’re from the South, you’ll get that analogy. If not, I’m sorry.
This put me to thinking. Okay, it put me to watching a Buffy marathon on TNT. Then it hit me! Rather, my wife did and told me to stop mumbling to myself, Angel was on. Back to the Eureka. I needed monster hunters! But not as the main plot, a subplot building to the conclusion of the overall story. Still, what was Mads’ and Nicholi’s story?
There was so much to choose from. How did she become a werewolf? Will she forgive Nicholi for giving her a paranormal STD? Why did Nicholi show up after so long? It had been a year since their one night stand. These questions led me to wondering about Madison’s life in general. They were well off, but what if the family business was in trouble? Now, I had something to work with!
Namely, a multilayered story about a woman who’s a werewolf and meets the one night stand who turned her into a werewolf and just so happens to be trying to buy her family business, while a group of monster hunters are trying to kill them all.
Whew, try typing that three times fast!
Summing up the epic in those words doesn’t really sum it up either. The one line that would go on to become, Were Love Blooms is the story of a romance born in Europe but fully realized in the heart of Dixie. It is also about everything I grew up being surrounded by. A book about family. A book about a small town. A book incorporating the world I know and the world living inside my head.
As I look back on the seven years since I jotted down that mind numbing line, a lot has changed. It took me three years to finally finish Were Love Blooms. Thanks to Gail Delaney, I let Madison’s story play out. She read the beginning and said that I had to finish this book. I did and Desert Breeze ultimately published it. My wife and I have survived 16 yrs of being married and are stronger for the bad times, and happier because of the good times. I’ve seen three publishers go under, and found a home with Desert Breeze. I’ve seen over 20 books published and discovered a bigger world inside my head than I thought lived there. I’ve become a grandfather. I’ve seen the world grow bigger and smaller at the same time thanks to the internet. Lastly, I’ve been able to share my imagination with others for over 7 years and met readers and authors who have become friends and family to me. In short, life has been and is good. I am truly blessed.
Were Love Blooms and the entire Southern Werewolf Chronicles aren’t just the story of two people in love. It’s the story of me growing in my craft and in the process becoming friends with the world. To those of you who have read the Southern Werewolf Chronicles, thank you for spending both your money and time for a glimpse inside my head. To those of you who haven’t, I invite you to come and read for a spell. I might be biased, but I think the price of admission is well world the ride.
Desert Breeze Publishing
other online booksellers
Wishing you a good week, and of course, happy reading!