Aphrodisia Authors

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's All Good

Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
To set the stage, I'd finished my latest contract with Kensington Aphrodisia and had submitted a new proposal to my editor hoping to again become gainfully employed. Then because my editor had a month to make a decision on that proposal, I wandered off and wrote something for another publisher. Then one day last week I received emails from both my editor and agent. The editor had read the proposal, zeroing in on the title, Hawk's Fangs. She was looking for novellas to include in the 2008 Sexy Beast collection. Would I entertain changing the Hawk's Fangs storyline from book length to novella length? Worth thinking about because no less than Kate Douglas (dear friend and leading Aphrodisia writer) is anchoring the anthology. But I love Hawk's Fangs as it is and didn't want to try to compress and lose huge chunks of the plot in order to shorten 80,000 words to 30,000. So when my agent called, I threw out a suggestion. What if I give the editor a whole new idea to hopefully fit into Sexy Beast 2008? She had some reservations for complex and legitimate reasons, but I was getting excited. All I lacked was a plot. And characters. And setting.
Not the first time.
Okay, I started brainstorming. My editor wanted a sexy beast. I thought PREDATOR. Headed for the Internet with the word cougar running through my mind because the something I'd just written for another publisher had a cougar in it. But I didn't want to repeat myself. What do you know, pumas are even larger and bolder than cougars and range from Alaska to the tropics. Best of all, ancient Native American legends are rich with references to all kinds of predators. I've written a lot about NA legends and have a number of reference books. Started pouring through them about 9 p.m. the same day all the excitement started. Picked up just enough information to be dangerous, specifically that the Apache believed that the night scream of a puma signaled impending death. Is that sexy or what?
Went to bed knowing damn well I wasn't going to sleep. Plotted and planned, ran myself into and out of brick walls, conjured up a couple of characters I couldn't put names to for the life of me. Because said editor had, in part, been drawn to Hawk's Fangs become that hero was a shape-shifter, guess what I did with my nameless hero? Of course it made sense for my heroine to be a modern woman who doesn't buy any of that wo-wo nonsense.
Staggered from the bedroom around dawn, mainlined some caffeine, plunked myself in front of my computer, and hammered out a one page synopsis which I emailed to my agent. By the end of the day, the editor had read and approved it, and I had a whole new gig—a novella called Night Scream which will be in the Sexy Beast 2008 anthology with Kate Douglas!!! As for Hawk's Fangs, well that's all good too.
If only all writing was that easy.
What do I mean easy, I still have to write Night Scream. And find names for these characters.
Vonna Harper

Posted by Vonna Harper :: 9:53 AM :: 6 comments

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