Friday, March 18, 2016

How this story came to be… The Serenade Serial
Two years ago, I finished the Ward of the Vampire Serial, a story that had come to me unexpectedly between two projects and held me—and my readers—from installment to installment for months. When I said goodbye to the heroine, Angelina, and her vampire love, Morgan, I thought I was done with this world, a universe with different rules from my usual vampire stories. 

A few months passed, and while I was tinkering with my blog, I came across the bonus comic I posted to go along with Ward of the Vampire, and in particular this picture. It shows Irene, the woman who made Morgan a vampire, and who plotted to insert Angelina in his life. I knew, right then and there, that I needed to tell her story, and discover along with my readers why she was so intent on meddling with Morgan’s life.

I started off by going through Ward of the Vampire again, and noting down all the tidbits I’d given about Irene, from her appearance to the way she speaks or acts to her love for the piano, which was my ‘key’ into her mind and heart. I decided I wanted to write a companion story to Ward, completely standalone but happening in parallel, and that told me where Irene was: first in Paris over Christmastime, then in New York for the New Year.

All I needed now was a hero…

I named him Rachid, made him human and a pianist to get him into Irene’s world, and decided he would already know about vampires, something that would intrigue Irene.

But how did he know about them in this universe where vampires were so secretive?

Easy, my muse replied. We’ll give him a vampire boyfriend.

Wait, what? A boyfriend? No, no, he’s supposed to find love with Irene! How does a boyfriend factor in this?

Easy! (My muse thinks all twisted plot points are easy.) The boys can have an open relationship, and both fall for Irene. And she’ll only like one of them at first, but that will change over time.

But… but…

No buts! Get writing! And oh, just for kicks, Irene is the sort of person who would never use the word ‘love’ when it comes to her feelings. Good luck with that! I now had two heroes instead of one, and an unreliable narrator to boot. I should be used by now to the way my muse thinks, but she still manages to surprise me.

As I found out when I started writing, Irene was not an easy person to fall in love with. She had secrets she kept from the world, secrets she kept even from herself, and she wrapped her heart in many layers of armor over the years. Maybe it was a good thing after all that she now had two heroes who wanted to see past the exterior she presented to the world…

Over the course of five installments to the Serenade Serial, I had fun giving her the happy ending she claimed she neither wanted nor needed, and all I hope was that readers enjoyed the ride as well!

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