What better way to revive a blog than to shamelessly promote a new book? Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I admit it. And I’ve thought about reviving the blog many times over the past stagnant months to update readers on the progress of Jonas Dante’s story, but in truth, I’m sure everyone was tired of hearing that The Far Horizon was coming…coming…coming…but not quite yet.
The first problem was Jonas himself. I had deliberately written about him in earlier books, The Iron Rose and The Following Sea, as the gruff older brother with the devil’s own red hair and a temper to match. He wore common leathers and a battered hat and roared rather than talked. A true pirate in the movie sense.
So who could I find to match him? Who could I find to create a romance around? I’ve done strong heroines before, but this one would prove to be a real challenge. No refined miss like Evangeline in The Following Sea. No female pirate in trousers like Juliet in The Iron Rose. No simpering miss. No stranded damsel in distress.
I toyed for a while with a Spanish hostage, captured during a battle on the Main, but then you run into the ubiquitous plotline: “I will win her over with my charm” of which Jonas had very little. Boom. Worked on that one for about 150 pages before scrapping it altogether. I tried making her a captive heading for the slave market, who impresses Jonas by kicking the slave master in the bollocks…but that seemed too contrived and again, about 100 pages and a lot of pulled hair went into the reject bin. Kidnapping? Nope.
I tried combining the best possibilities from both scenarios…nada. Brain freeze.
I had to find a strong enough woman to win Jonas over, reluctant beast that he was to fall in love or even think of falling in love. And a strong enough woman to fall in love with a blustering, domineering pirate who was not exactly pretty through all his scars, and not the least receptive to any of her feminine wiles.
I came up with Bellanna Harper. A beautiful, cold, calculating jewel thief who first catches Jonas’s roving eye in a dazzling ballroom in London.
The second major problem that caused delay after delay and more hair pulling, was the Pirate Wolf series itself. When I wrote Across A Moonlit Sea, I had Beau and Simon Dante joining up with Sir Francis Drake to raid the Spanish port of Cadiz. I had sea battles and double crosses and body parts getting blown to bits, cannons blasting, sails booming…everything I could think to put into an adventure at sea. I was still with a print publisher at the time and with the modest success of AAMS, I was asked if I was interested in writing a sequel. Out of that request came The Iron Rose where I reversed the roles of the hero and heroine, making Juliet Dante the pirate and Varian St. Clare her captive and sort-of hostage. Again, more sea battles, more devilish conspiracies by the Spanish, more cannons blasting, body parts flying, sails booming….anything I hadn’t thought to include in Across A Moonlit Sea. The result was gratifying. Publishers Weekly declared The Iron Rose to be one of the seven best mass market fiction books released that year.
Then, of course, the bottom fell out of print publishing. Authors were let go by the hundreds, if not thousands, and I was insulted enough by the contract negotiations for a new book that I decided to go into semi-retirement and enjoy my munchkin grandkids until the bloodbath in all the publishing houses subsided.
I wasn’t expecting a bloodbath in my own private life, which resulted in an ugly horrible divorce…not exactly the basis for someone thinking of resuming a career and not exactly in any mood to write romance.
But I digress. People divorce, they survive the shock, they move on.
I moved on and entered the world of ebooks. I was lucky enough to get back all the rights on my print books before the doors slammed shut and the publishers realized they were losing their golden geese.
But then I had the problem of writing something new, and the first one who tapped on my shoulder was Gabriel Dante. I had introduced him and Jonas in the Iron Rose, and readers had asked for more, for stories about the Hell Twins…so out of that came the idea to write ONE more book in the Pirate Wolf series. The Following Sea was Gabriel’s story and again I was faced with coming up with more sea-faring adventure. How many ways could I write a sea battle that I hadn’t already written in AAMS and TIR? Or even further back, in The Wind and the Sea and Bound by the Heart?
I happened across an article, casually read in some online mag, about a treasure ship being discovered a few hundred years after she sank in a storm. Little brain synapses started to spark and twinkle and while I did have to strain my brain and pull out even more hairs over plotting and battling at sea…I think I did justice to Gabriel’s adventure but again, I threw in every last possible scenario at sea that I could think of, and even some that verged on legend and illusion.
Silly me, I thought I was finished with pirates and sea-faring adventures. But even more emails started coming in. Where is Jonas’s story? When is Jonas’s story coming out? You can’t just leave Jonas standing on the beach, he needs a story of his own.
Refer to my dilemma above on how to make Jonas into a romantic hero. *sigh*
So…three years later and serious depletion of hair follicles and brain cells…The Far Horizon emerges. I hope I have done Jonas justice because honestly, there are no more sea battles in me. No more pirates. The series has sailed off into the sunset toward the far horizon, and left me happy, satisfied, and content that I have done the best with the Pirate Wolf dynasty that I could do.
My next project? I’m open for suggestions as long as they do not include pirates or ships or oceans.
It’s been so long since I’ve blogged, I’ve forgotten how to include stuff, so you’ll just have to check out my website http://www.marshacanham.com for the links.