One of the interesting things about the popular fiction market is the way that it changes. Tastes in fiction are fluid, and constantly on the move as people develop interests in new areas, or ideas come into fashion. I think that this dynamism, while it can be frustrating, is also fascinating.
And it offers authors the chance to try new things.
Many of you will be familiar with the medieval romances that I wrote in the 1990’s. I wrote a lot of them, because I had so much fun. What I liked about writing medievals was the world-building, that challenge of creating a slice of a lost time and place so tangible that readers might feel as if they were standing right there. I loved doing the research, and I really enjoyed weaving myths and legends into the fabric of my fictional worlds. I particularly loved my heroes. My guys were usually wounded or otherwise compromised, and they were always caught between a couple of apparently bad choices.
So, when the historical market became less vibrant than once it was, it’s not really surprising that I focussed on the challenge of bringing a fictional world to life on the page, on a world that would require me to move into the university library for a while, on exploring a big slice of mythology and legend, and on noble heroes caught between a couple of seemingly bad choices.
This year, I launched two new series, one of which is being marketed under Claire Delacroix – a familiar name with a new world – and the other of which is being marketed under Deborah Cooke. I think they both have a lot in common with my previously published work.
The Dragonfire series by Deborah Cooke (http://www.deborahcooke.com/) features dragon shape shifter heroes in a contemporary setting. These dragon shape shifters are called the Pyr, and are an ancient race which has become divided over time. They’re charged to defend the treasures of the earth, which the good Pyr believe includes humans. The Slayers, which are Pyr turned bad, believe that humans – and the Pyr who defend them – must be exterminated to save the planet. The Pyr are male, and they mate with human women – the mark of meeting their destined mate is a sensation of heat called the firestorm. This series begins with the Pyr on the cusp of a transition, a last chance to save the earth in the big battle with the Slayers. Each book focusses on the firestorm of one hero: each Pyr hero is both noble caught between two bad choices in each book – his duty to his fellow Pyr and the demands of his courtship of what is usually a skeptical mate. I’m loving the challenge of making these fantastical men seem real and human, even with their abilities, and loving the interaction of their mythology with our own. The series is a lot of fun to write. Dragonfire began last February with KISS OF FIRE, and continued in August with KISS OF FURY. The third book in the trilogy is KISS OF FATE which will be released in February 2009.
FALLEN – first of my new trilogy from TOR – is set in a gritty urban future, a post-nuclear world without a lot of hope for humanity. Unbeknownst to most people, the Apocalypse is close at hand, and volunteers from the angels are sacrificing their wings, taking flesh to help save humanity. This isn’t the kind of thing that Lilia Desjardins, our heroine, is inclined to believe. She’s outspoken and idealistic, a pragmatist who believes that her estranged husband’s death wasn’t the accident that the police have determined it to be. She sets out to discover the truth, at any price. The most formidable obstacle to her quest proves to be a homicide detective named Adam Montgomery. Montgomery is one of those angel volunteers, caught between two bad choices – his attraction to Lilia, a woman suspects he shouldn’t trust, and the completion of his earthly mission on earth. Will they learn to trust each other in time?
These books are indisputably new directions for me, but I think they show the hallmarks of my earlier work. They certainly are a lot of fun to research and to write, and the challenge of something new is invigorating. Writing these books has been a great creative adventure for me – it would be an even better ride if you joined me.