On taking risks…
Authors talk about taking risks. For many of us, that’s a really daunting thought. Do we dare deviate from tradition or accepted practices and hope both the editor and the reading public will enjoy it? I was just talking with a friend of mine the other day about this, and how it seems risks will either reward wonderfully or bite you in the rear.
[floatquote]What if a demon possessed the means to overthrow God Himself?[/floatquote]Nevertheless, I chose to take the path of risk with Immortal Hope, and it began with the series question – what if a demon possessed the means to overthrow God Himself. We read countless stories where there’s a chance of taking over mankind, that’s the traditional, the safe path. Not that stories involving the theme are any less or better, just that it’s not as risky. And this particular risk could have backfired in incredible ways. Luckily, my editor found it as compelling as I did
The next big risk I took with Immortal Hope, was that I wanted to craft something epic. I come from a heavy background of fantasy, and epic plotlines with a true hero journey are almost second-nature to me. I actually have a more difficult time writing a book that doesn’t have a sweeping, scooping subplot. And that preference has made it difficult here and there.
[floatquote]I wanted to craft something epic.[/floatquote]But I was pretty adamant that Immortal Hope was going to be a series, and it was going to be a true series with an epic plot, demanding several key players, and the subplot wouldn’t be resolved, or altered, per book. The risk in this is blending that ideal with romance. Romance is predisposed to have a happily ever after and most story-questions answered.
To achieve this I had to actually draw out the subplot further and put more emphasis, per book, on the romantic involvement between hero and heroine. There’s just too much planned to lay it out and tell the story any other way. If I tried, we’d have an 800 page novel – and we know all of about five people would read that monstrosity.
The last significant risk I took was changing up the experience with introducing my knights, and having my knights be so drastically different from both setting and the heroine(s). It could be extremely jarring for a reader to be toodling along, and then suddenly encounter a passage that reads like a historical. In fact, I was so nervous about this, that when I entered Immortal Hope in a contest, I squealed when one judge hit Merrick’s first passage and gushed about how she loved the knight’s tone. I’m not much on squealing, in general, but it popped out without my consent.
In the end, to make it less jarring, I chose a few key words that would make the knights stand out as old-fashioned, but blended as much as possible to make the read smooth.
[floatquote]IMMORTAL HOPE is a different experience, and there’s so many layers to it.[/floatquote]When it was all said and done, and I received the phone call that we had an offer, I felt, for the first time really, that the risk-taking had been worth it. IMMORTAL HOPE is a different experience, and there’s so many layers to it. I sincerely hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did crafting it.
With that said, let’s take a little look at an encounter with Merrick that illustrates the knights’ historical roots.