posted by Doranna
Okay, weird little stutter start to this one--because those of you who want an update on Connery Beagle can find one in his words on his LiveJournal...
My author copies of Dun Lady's Jess arrived the other day. Holy moly, are they beautiful! I admire it endlessly, from the glossy cover to the interior detail (I did the bit graphic that's scattered throughout...me!) And that they're here means they're also shipping from Amazon Canada. I note, even, that they're currently discounted! But don't take my word for it. Go admire at Amazon Canada.
About the same time, I started work on my second Nocturne, having just finished up the first Ghost Whisperer book. And it occurred to me...I've come full circle.
Oh, some might not see it that way. Jess is fantasy, and although it's mainly a book about heart, it's nonetheless plot-driven as opposed to relationship-driven.
(Some people don't like these characterizations, feeling that one perhaps precludes the other. So yes, for the record--as far as I'm concerned, a good book has a little bit of everything--no, make that a lot of everything. But there is still a dominant flavor, one that defines the decisions the author makes, and that's the description process that works best for me; I personally find them very different experiences in both the writing and in the reading.)
So, wait, where was I. Oh, right. Jess. Jess quite clearly belongs on the fantasy shelves. The fantasy world is complex and developed and plays an important role in how the story builds; rather than being defined by the needs of the book's primary relationship, it is what it is, and the characters (and the author--!) have to work around that. The fantasy elements are, in fact, the plot points that drive the entire book, while the relationships themselves are, if achingly clear to anyone who knows and loves Jess as I do, not the primary focus of the story.
But the Nocturnes--my books in the Sentinel shapechanger series--are clearly relationship-driven stories. More than that, they're quite deliberately intense; the hero and heroine have a distinct physical awareness of one another right from the start. (Even the fact that I can so casually say "the hero and heroine" drives home the relationship-focused nature of this series.) The fantasy elements of the story were developed around what would create the most conflict and drama for my characters--the characters of these first two books, and the ones I hope will follow. There's an expectation of happily ever after for these books--a happy conclusion for the relationship, and although this is the one area where I rarely fall neatly into line (real life is messy, and I prefer to leave readers with implications and promises, not already tied bows), the book's satisfaction nonetheless relies on the resolution of the relationship story. Sure, the good guys have to thwart the bad guys, but that's not the Prime Directive.
(Actually, the Prime Directive would be that Kirk's shirt gets ripped and then he gets the girl, but that's another story, and probably not something that would have come up if I weren't writing this so giddily late in my day.)
At this point, you're probably thinking...so what is she talking about? She's just convinced me her full circle thing is totally bogus.
But oh, it's not.
Because in the end, when it comes to fantasy--when it comes to paranormal--and when it comes to me--it's all about the wonder you can create when you're given leave to play with the biggest what ifs ever. What if we could change form? What if we could perform magic--true, tangible, way beyond spoon-bending magic? How would it affect who we are, and the decisions we make, and how we relate to people? How would we react to the unknown, those of us presented with it? How would those of us familiar with the wonders deal with those who weren't?
And once more, after a break to play with mysteries and action-adventure/romance (the Bombshells) and some franchise work--all great fun, and they all fit right there on the circle somewhere--I have the chance to dig in with these elements, to outright wallow in these elements. From Jess to the Sentinels...different genres, different focus...
Excuse my greed, but...I'll take it!
(In fact, if you noticed this blog was a bit late to go up...it's because I was so engrossed in my second day of writing first draft on Dark Sentinel that I forgot to come up for air...)