FOR LOVE OR VENGEANCE from THE CALLING/REBORN Vampire Series comes on out September 23. It’s hard to believe that nearly 10 years have elapsed since the first book in the series, DARKNESS CALLS, came out in 2004 and that the series now has 11 books in it, 12 if you count FOR LOVE OR VENGEANCE (which also happens to be my 40th release!).
Wow! As you know I’ve been re-releasing the contemporary novels that I first did before starting THE CALLING/REBORN Vampire Series. A lot of people asked me back in 2004 how I made such a leap from sweet, sexy and humorous contemporary romances to something as dark and gritty as THE CALLING/REBORN series.
So here goes with that explanation. . .
One of the main characters in the books, FBI Agent Diana Reyes, actually popped into my head while I was writing one of the contemporary romances. She was screaming so hard to be heard that even though I was on deadline to write the contemporary, I set it aside to write a chapter or two with her in it. She finally quieted down when I did that, but not for long.
Especially when in 2001 I fell into an emotional abyss caused by so many things.
For starters, without warning our publisher put the line for which I was writing into “hiatus.” A euphemism for dead in the water. The last two books for that line were never released, but I will be bringing them out as indie releases soon!
Suddenly I was without a publisher and wondering what to do. I had an agent back then who wanted me to be a Latina Terry McMillan. That was so not me, but I tried and tried and just got more and more frustrated.
Diana Reyes started screaming in my head again, but then 9-11 happened.
September has always been a pivotal month for me. My mom’s b’day is on September 10, but she has now been gone from life more than she was in it. But she is still with me every day, especially on that day.
On top of that, I loved school and loved college even more. I lived for September and the return to Villanova. Those bright and beautiful fall days filled with such promise for the future. So much so that when we had such a lovely September day, my hubby and I would say we were having a Villanova Day.
That all changed on a Villanova Day in September. A bright and beautiful day that would forever change me. I’ll admit that. I am not the person I was before. There is an abyss of anger and pain inside of me that will NEVER go away because on that day my Nation, my America, was attacked and so was the city of my heart, New York.
For weeks after 9-11, I could not write much less think about anything. I had to keep a brave face on for my daughter and tell her everything would be fine while inside I was thinking, Will it?
My writing was nowhere. My city was in ruins. The faces of the dead stared at me every day from the street corners. I cried more than I laughed while trying to make believe everything could be normal again.
Diana Reyes started screaming in my head again.
In some ways, I am more like Diana than any of my other characters. I understand her abyss because I’ve been there. Because it lives inside of me.
I also understand her need for justice and her belief that someone needs to stand up for the dead.
She has my bad traits also, but I’ll keep those to myself for now. You may be able to guess what they are from the books. LOL!
From the darkness of post 9-11 New York City and the emotional upheavals of that day, I finally could not ignore Diana any more and I sat down to write during a Christmas holiday break. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. In fact, I finished that first draft of DARKNESS CALLS in just a couple of weeks, the pull of the story and of Diana and Ryder was that strong.
I had to finish it for me and to revive the hope that things would be okay. That there were still people who stood for good and that good will always win out over evil.
In each of the stories of THE CALLING/REBORN series, there is that satisfaction for me. The good guys may bleed and suffer, but they always will find a way to win the day. They always will find that the strength of love can overcome the worst face of evil, whether human or otherworldly.
So that’s what inspired THE CALLING/REBORN Vampire Series and that’s why I keep on writing it.
Hopefully that’s why you keep on enjoying it! Thank you all for indulging me today with this.