Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Story Behind The Story: J.S. Wayne’s “Angels”

First, I’d like to thank Judith for letting me come over and trash the place. (Sorry about the half-naked women curled up under the piano and the thong dangling from the light fixture. Erm . . . uh . . . yeah.)
I’ve been talking a lot about “Ancient Magic” lately, so I wanted to reverse gears for a moment and discuss the story behind the “Angels” series.

It starts back in my early twenties, when I began to get interested in comparative religion. At the time, I’d found myself confronted with some very weird things I couldn’t fully get my head around, and being the curious and scientific sort, I started looking for some answers to the questions these strange experiences had left me with. But every answer I found seemed to lead to another question, which could only be answered by looking deeper in another direction.

I covered a lot of very strange territory during this time, ranging from serial killers to Akkadian fertility rites to the hierarchies of angels and demons. Then I took this esoteric knowledge and filed it away, but didn’t do anything much with it (that I’ll admit to in a public forum!). And it sat in my mind and waited for the time I could utilize it.

Now, fast forward to October of 2010. While seeking inspiration for something to write just to kill some time and keep the mental gears lubricated in preparation for NaNoWriMo ’10, I stumbled across a contest on Writing.com I’d entered once before and won. It had been several months since I’d entered this contest, partly because of real-life obligations and schedules and partly to make sure other people got a fair chance to enter, so I hadn’t bothered with it. But on a gray, foggy, drizzly morning, I started thinking about an erotic paranormal romance story.

This was a huge deviation from my normal writing, because I was all about urban fantasy and paranormal horror. Sex was fine, even a hint of romance if it happened to serve the story, but I couldn’t see myself actually writing a “true” romantic story complete with a happily ever after. As such, it posed a unique challenge for me.

But what to write about? Vampires? Meh: too many shades of Twilight lately, and besides, I’d already done vampires for my last entry. Werewolves? Same problem. But what else could I write about that had a chance of being sexy and still dance on that slightly forbidden line I love to walk so much?

I pondered the problem while driving down to the convenience store in our one-horse town. (Actually, this is an unfair assertion regarding where I was living at the time: The horse population was approximately two thirds of the human population. Add in the other quadruped residents and the humans were solidly outnumbered!) I plugged in my MP3 player, hit “Random,” and settled in for the drive.

The song that came on was Melissa Etheridge’s “Angels Would Fall.” I’ve always liked this song, and found myself singing along. By the time I arrived at the C-store to take care of my Mountain Dew addiction, the germ of an idea had begun to form. I paid for my liter of corrosive, probably carcinogenic go juice, hurried home, and started listening to the song again. And again. And again.

The dreary fog of the day, the chill in the air, and the song all conspired to unlock some door in my mind behind which all that knowledge I’d amassed waited. In four hours, I’d completed the first draft of “Angels Would Fall” and submitted it for the contest.

That story became my first contracted story with Noble Romance, and I settled into being an erotic romance author. Soon, though, my inner editor attacked me with a follow-up story. The suggestion was that while I’d more or less tied up the story in a neat little bow, it needed something more. Perhaps taking a look at how other beings of Moradiel’s stature would view his defection from the Host was in order, to fully bring home the gravity of the situation. This idea quickly became “Angel of the Morning,” my second “Angels” tale, and I submitted it in March.

In short order, I had a contract for that, and I went about my business, trying to work on a few other story ideas that had presented themselves. But the angels kept circling and wheeling in my mind, and I started to write another short story. This one was initially supposed to be entitled “Angel of Harlem.”

And here’s where I ran into trouble.

No matter how I tried, I couldn’t make the story cohesive and self-contained. All the elements were there, but there were just too many potential threads I’d leave dangling if I tried to force everything I wanted and needed to include in <10k words. So, I fired off an email to Bryl Tyne, my editor at Noble, asking him what he thought about it (admittedly, in a tone of, shall we say, slight panic). I explained the problem and told him that I’d pretty much have to write a novel to get everything in I wanted.

He said, “Go for it!” Three weeks later, Angels Cry was completed, and two weeks later, after the beta readers had their way with it and I did a quick rewrite, I sent it off for submission. It released on September 12th, and remains my favorite romance work so far.

So now you know the tale behind the stories. I hope y’all enjoy them!

Thanks again to Judith for letting me come play today. Keep watching the tour for more fun tidbits from your favorite authors!

Until next time,


J.S. Wayne

Find me on Twitter: @jswayne702
Catch up with me on Facebook: Author.JSWayne
Check out my blog: jswayne.wordpress.com
And see my available work at www.nobleromance.com/authors/155



Anonymous said...

Hi, Judith!
Thanks so much for letting me hang out today. :) Hope the readers are having as good a time as I have! :)

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed reading "the tale behind the story"; it was really interesting. And the outcome was quite rewarding, too.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Kathryn Merkel said...

I've always found music to be so inspirational. Thanks for sharing how you were led to write your Angels series.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

Anonymous said...

@ Tracey: Thank you so much! I've always been looked at a little oddly by my uber-macho guy friends, because salted in among the metal and rap on my MP3 player are a lot of songs that aren't considered "guy stuff." Guess how much I care? ;)It's been a whirlwind ride, but rewarding is a great description of my first nine months in publication!

@ Kathryn: I absolutely cannot write without music. If you read my work carefully, you can generally get a good idea of what kind of music I was listening to at any given moment. :)
Thanks so much for stopping in!

Gabrielle Lee said...

It's always nice to see the stuff that inspires an author. Makes me love the book all the more when I see the inpirations.


shadow_kohler said...

Hi! Great post! I love when an author shares where there inspiration comes from and how they write. It definitely gives a reader more appreciation for the book. ;) Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

@ Gabrielle: Thank you so much! It's funny how disparate threads can come together to form a story; you'd be amazed some of the roads I've come to my stories by. What do 1500s Irish nobility, the geography of the Boston area, and USMC rank structure have to do with each other? (Believe it or not, they DO have some relation in one of my stories!) But the best part of creating a story is having people at the end be interested and wanting to read it. That's the greatest feeling in the world for a writer. :)
Thanks for coming by!