BREAKING ALL THE RULES
So many things have changed in the publishing world over the course of my writing career. These days, the changes are coming so fast, it’s hard to keep up with all the new “standard rules” when writing fiction. The governing officials seem to change their minds daily on what is acceptable and what is not in the publishing industry. So why am I writing about this? Well, for starters, every book my new paranormal series, SEKMET’S GUARDIANS break the old standard rules for writing any kind of romance, except for writing erotica, and that is a whole different subject.
I knew I would be breaking a few of the rules when I started writing the first draft of the first book in the series, Eternal Lovers but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to break nearly all of them.
First rule broken… There was no way my hero and heroine were going to meet in the first two chapters. Setting up any kind of series the first book is bound to have more back story while setting the scene and creating a world which would support an additional nine to ten books. Staging is essential.
So rule number two was broken – layering the first few chapters with bits and pieces of back story and history. Mind you, I tried removing some of the back story and slammed my characters into a face to face meeting in chapter two. Didn’t work, there was definitely too much missing and at this point the beta readers were asking, “Why should I care about either one of these people?” So I took the almost 150 pages I dumped, reworked them into 48 pages and reinserted them. I, along with my beta readers was pleased with the outcome. The hero and heroine now meet somewhere around page fifty. As expected their meeting was not one filled with tender moments. The desire is present but so are the fear and the complications. (Conflict is well established at this point.)
Rule number three was broken when I centered the stories on the heroines rather than heroes in a typical paranormal romance. Take a look at the shelves upon shelves of vampire band-of-brother type paranormal romance series. These stories are based upon the mighty, strong, handsome vamps that unite together in a common cause while each takes their turn finding true love. Now I’m not saying I don’t enjoy these stories because I do. J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, Alexandra Ivy and Caris Roane are some of my favorite authors and I love their paranormal series! We, as authors often write for our audience and our audience is more often female so it makes since to concentrate on the mighty heroes when our stories are developing. We want our readers to fall head-over-heals in love with him. Sadly, because the industry dictates how long our books should be, we often leave out chapters pertaining to the heroine. She, of course, appears in the manuscript, usually with him then ends up sitting in the backseat to his heroics. The heroine often becomes a secondary character in the novel she was meant to play a lead role in. Although, my series is a paranormal with gorgeous hunks, my heroines will not stand still and take second chair. Their stories need to be told as they find a way to capture the hero’s heart and soul. Each book in the series is a story of growth, independence and true love – the heroine’s journey.
Rule number four was broken when I allowed the stories to expand. Rather then keeping to one central story or one romance per book; the books in the series tell life in their world as it develops, much like one would experience while watching a night time soap, which is actually what I often call the series. The series was written for adults but not limited to one romantic couple. In Eternal Lovers, the central theme remains the same, bringing Jennifer and Gabriel together but you also experience life with two other couples, the Ancients (the other six heroes) and Set’s Legions (the bad guys) while being introduced to characters who will take center stage in the next book or two. The character’s story from book one continues on to book two and so on. I’m often asked how to I keep up with all the players. It’s easy, they have become more real to me than not. Just because you have a dozen or so friends does not mean you forget them as you make new ones. And so a night time soap was born.
Rule number five was broken when I mixed cultures. Again this coincides with sticking with one main theme in your romance novel. Jennifer, the heroine in Eternal Lovers is a half breed Native American who is raised by her grandparents in a traditional manner. She is aware she has some unusual abilities but never dreamed she was anything other than human. She is also half Selkie. Gabriel, her soon to be lover, is an alien who is turned immortal by Sekhmet when she leads him and his kindred to Earth through a portal between their world’s dimensions. So what have I done? Rather than working with one or two cultures I have intertwined Native American, European and ancient Egyptian myths, thrown in some Sci-Fi and presto one paranormal series emerges around modern day Lake Michigan.
I’m not going to bore you by continuing on with listing the number of rules I managed to break with the creation of my paranormal series. As I said in the beginning of this interview, I managed to break a lot of them and leave it at that. I hope I have captured your interest enough to continue to read the excerpt below from Sekhmet’s Guardians – Book One – Eternal Lovers.
About V.S. Nelson
V.S. Nelson has always enjoyed reading stories with strong relationships and happy endings so it’s not surprising she found herself writing across the romance genre. Even her commercial fiction, Sins of a Man, the memoirs of a Mafia Hit man, is layered with romantic elements.
Landing in Arizona, after an exciting teaching career, which took her to the Middle East for several years, she lives in Arizona where she spend most of my time making love to her computer while writing, editing or researching, seven to ten hours a day. The days she’s not writing, you will find her with my critique partners at Starbucks, attending or presenting a workshop or at a RWA meeting.
Being a Native American woman and a Scorpio, she’s always had a fondness for history, mythology, the occult, and the unexplained events which have occurred on this world we call home. It was no wonder she found herself writing a paranormal series.
She enjoys hearing from readers, fans and people with similar interests. They are more than welcome to contact her through her website http://www.authorvsnelson.com
SEKHMET’S GUARDIANSS – BOOK ONE – ETERNAL LOVERS
When two hidden worlds collide near modern day Lake Michigan, Jennifer, a young Native American, is confronted with the reality, not everything is as it seems and things do go bump in the night. The questions she has long since asked are answered in this epic tale of self discovery when she meets Gabriel, the director of Guardians Incorporated.
Born in New Tuat, Netchkhet, now known as Gabriel came to Earth some five thousand years ago to protect the human race.
Disillusioned by an unfulfilled prophecy, he has become cold and distant – even from those of his kind. He secretly waits for his enemy to take his head so he may leave this world for good.
Can a tiny Selkie melt his hardened heart and restore his faith in a power far greater than himself?
When history repeats itself, can he save her from death’s embrace or will they be robbed of a future again?
Excerpt taken from Chapter Five – Eternal Lovers
(Setting - making her escape from Gabriel’s penetrating eyes, Jennifer is standing at the bar when she feels something on her neck.)
She was warmed by the drink, then instantly chilled to her bone when she felt a breathe of air on her neck.
A deep voice whispered, “You smell delicious, good enough to eat.”
She turned to find the dark haired stranger leaning against her, his mouth upon her neck. Not knowing what to do, she took both hands and pushed against his chest as hard as she could, yelling, “Get the fuck away from me!”
Marching right past him she headed back to the billiard room. She stomped up to Raphael, grabbed hold of his hand, pulling him into the other room.
“Ah… Ah… Jennifer, where are we going?”
Looking around, she realized she had drug Raphael to the one room, now empty of furniture, set aside for dancing. They were standing in the center of the room with couples dancing all around them. She reached up and put both of her hands around Raphael’s neck and demanded, “Dance with me.”
Puzzled as he must have been, he placed his hands on the small of her back and began swaying with her to the music. She laid her head against his chest. God, it felt good being so close to him–safe.
“You know all you had to do was ask. I’d never turn down a lady in distress. I’m flattered but curious as to what brought all this on?”
“I guess I’m just over reacting, but there was a guy in there…” She motioned with her head towards the other room. “...who was giving me the creeps. Evidently, he was staring at me while I was playing backgammon with Alice; well at least that’s what Marie said.”
“Jennifer, I’m sure you are use to having men stare at you. You are a beautiful woman. I believe I told you earlier you look enchantingly beautiful tonight.”
She blushed. Raphael could charm anyone.
“It wasn’t just that he was staring at me. I left the room and went to get a drink and the next thing I knew he was leaning into me. He had me pinned against the bar. Lord, I swear he was sniffing my hair. I don’t know if he’s drunk, high or what but he really scared the living daylights out of me.”
“Oh I see… and now you want the security guard and all this time I thought it was my charm that held you captive? I thought maybe you missed me… So what did this would be stalker look like?”
“Yes, no, hell I don’t know, all I could think of was finding you.”
“Jennifer, what did he look like, I’ll go find him and have a few words with him. If he’s drunk or on drugs, I’ll escort him out of here. I can’t have one of Alice’s guests being all upset. Now can I?”
Racing through her memory she tried to picture him in her mind. She couldn’t tell Raphael that he was a delectable yet scary looking hunk with the most intriguing eyes she had ever seen, could she?
“He’s dark haired, yeah black hair, really tall, taller than you, oh yeah, and he’s wearing a black suit with a black shirt and of all things sunglasses. He came to the party with four girls. I think maybe he’s a pimp?”
Eternal Lovers – Paperback - http://tinyurl.com/b8ll29b
Eternal Lovers – Large Print - http://tinyurl.com/ae3u6lv
Eternal Lovers – Kindle - http://tinyurl.com/amvlphl
-- Lynda Again
Wow! Terrific excerpt! In fact, the entire series sounds terrific, doesn't it? I'd actually started reading this one but had to stop to read contest entries. I can't wait to get back to it!