Save My Soul
was actually written before Blood Lust
. Originally it was going to be a demon romance series. I was paranoid about jumping on the vampire band wagon and didn't want to blend into the noise of all the other vampire stories. Demons were getting popular in the paranormal romance world and they were "close enough" to vampires that I would enjoy what I was writing, without it being vampires.
The incubus in particular is extremely close to the vampire. Where the vampire feeds on blood, the incubus feeds on sexual energy. But in a sense the vampire feeding ritual has always had a sexual subtext, so it makes it feel even more the same.
Most of my books, if you asked me where I got the inspiration, I'd just get flustered because the ideas for a lot of my books are really more several different small, unimportant ideas coming together into one larger idea. It's really pretty boring. I might wake up with a snip of an idea and add it to my idea file, not knowing how or when it's going to fit into the world or whether it will be an important part of a book.
It's extremely rare for a whole idea to just come out of thin air in some lightning bolt of inspiration like the way people imagine it is. But Save My Soul
was one of those rare books in which it did.
It was a few days before Halloween one year and I had decided I wanted to do Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). But I didn't have an idea yet. I was thinking about this while driving through the historic district of my town. While driving past a house I've loved since I was a kid (in fact, when I was a kid I used to say that some day when I was rich I would buy it), literally about 75% or more of the plot for Save My Soul
just dropped into my head while I was looking at this house.
It was such an eerie experience that I almost believe there IS something in that house. Though it's never up for sale like the house in Golatha Falls in my novel. And I would think if some mysterious (and sexy) dark presence was in the house, it would be up for sale frequently, which would make it feasible some day when I get rich, for me to buy it. ;) Of course, an argument could me made for someone NEVER wanting to sell the house if there was a sexy dark presence in it, but I digress.
There were parts of the book I didn't know initially, like aspects of the ending. That came to me (don't worry, I'm not about to spoil it), about a fourth of the way through the rough draft. But I resisted the ending. I didn't like it. I refused to write it. I thought it was cheesy and contrived. But my subconscious was obviously conspiring against me, leaving all sorts of tiny little clues throughout the book. So by the time I got to the end of the book, that HAD to be the ending.
And I guess in a way, it's a really good thing that I consciously resisted it. I think if I'd liked it and been on board that it would have come off cheesy. The fact that I resisted it so much and surprised myself when I realized all the clues I'd been leaving for an ending I didn't want, caused the clues to actually be somewhat subtle (a few readers have seen it coming, but most have been surprised.) I think it really works and now it's one of my favorite book endings of the series. I just had to get used to the idea and see how it would actually play on the page.
During the early writing process... the first week or so, my husband was out of town and some nights I was actually a little freaked out going to sleep alone. After all, I was writing about demons who get into your dreams and I guess there was some mental residue there about how freaky that was. But once I knew Luc fancied himself the Emeril of the demon world, he wasn't so scary anymore. How can you be scared of a cooking demon? I ask you.
After that, I was totally cool with Luc. Ironically, I was never that scared of the idea of Cain. Which is ludicrous since he was the actual villain and can be quite ruthless. He's just so funny and sarcastic that you forget he doesn't value your little human life at all.
Where Blood Lust
occurs in Cary Town, Washington (fictional city I made up), Save My Soul
happens in small town Golatha Falls, Georgia (another fictional town I made up.) I'm a fan of fictional towns and cities I make up, partly because it's so hard to get a real place "right". People who live there can get pulled out of the story by a minor detail being off, the sorts of things only locals would notice and that I can't learn from an Internet search.
So I try to remove that barrier and start all readers off on the same footing of a fictional place where nobody has to get pulled out of the story because I put a coffee shop on the wrong street corner.
Golatha Falls is the exit point for the Cary Town werewolf pack. After they use the demon portal charms to get out of Cary Town by way of the demon dimension, they re-enter the human dimension into Golatha Falls because Golatha Falls has a rather large forest, good for hunting, not unlike the forest just outside the city proper of Cary Town. Though the forest outside Cary Town is inside the jurisdiction of the police state the vampires have set up there. It's necessary so the shapeshifters living under their rule have hunting grounds.
Golatha Falls has a lot of small town quirks. Some readers really like that about it but it may be a tiny bit jarring for those who have gotten used to Cary Town. Though Save My Soul
doesn't mark an exit from Cary Town, we'll revisit the city several times in the series. As we will Golatha Falls.