I started writing Of Love and Darkness in 2009. Back then it was titled Cursed and Chosen, because the hero was a cursed Rakshasa (evil shifters), and the heroine was a Chala, the only type of “good” shifter who could reproduce, thus ensuring they did not go extinct. I hadn’t been a fan of the title from day one, but it took me until about six months before publication to find one I liked better (read: I asked my friends for ideas). Luckily, SMP was accommodating to my last minute change, since they hadn’t yet created the cover at that point.
I’ve been a fan of shifter books pretty much since I started reading romance, which was much younger than I probably should have. Just to age myself, my all-time fave shifter books are Pamela Palmer’s Feral Warriors series, Katie MacAlister’s dragons, and the Warriors of Poseidon series by Alyssa Day. Yes, yes, I have read shifter books from the past decade, I swear! Those are the ones that got me hooked, though; the ones that started me on this path of writing them myself.
When Of Love and Darkness was just an idea shifting around in my head (see what I did there?), I was trying to figure out how to write a shifter book that would stand out from the rest. Because let’s face it: there are a whole lot of shapeshifter books out there these days. How could I make mine different?
I attended an RWA class during which the instructor informed us that pretty much every trope had been done, over and over again. That was okay, because the reason certain tropes remain popular is because that’s what readers want to read. The key to writing popular tropes (such as shifters) is to put something unique in your book. You don’t have to spend your time and energy searching for an entirely unique storyline, you really just need to ensure one aspect of your book is different from everything else out there.
And therefore William was born. William is Sydney’s (our heroine) Fate in Of Love and Darkness. In this series, a Fate’s job is to protect the Chala from the Rakshasa until they have found a mate. I decided William would be that character, the one who would stand out, who would be different from everything else out there (I hope).
This is Gavin’s (our hero, who’s really an anti-hero) first impression of the Fate, from Of Love and Darkness:
Gavin whipped the car into the driveway of the basic brick ranch home she shared with William, and skidded to a stop inches from the closed garage door. Ignoring her completely, he unfolded his tall frame from the driver’s seat, strode up the steps of the front porch, and headed toward the door.
Sydney climbed out of the car and hurried after him. “Wait,” she said, recalling that he actually did not know her stepbrother. “I should probably warn you—”
The words were out a scant second too late.
The front door opened and a hulking figure loomed behind the glass storm door. Gavin’s steps faltered as his gaze swept over the closely cropped blond hair, smooth-shaven face, narrowed brown eyes, and rigid set of the thick jaw. His gaze travelled south, to take in the muumuu decorated with cabbage-sized flowers visible under a hot-pink satin robe. Thick, tree trunk-like, shaven legs could be seen under the hem of the muumuu, and feet that were at least a size thirteen were shoved into clearly custom-made hot-pink high-heeled slippers with a fluffy, pink ball of puff on top.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Gavin said as he turned to face Sydney, with an accusatory look in his eye. “This is your Fate?”
“This is my stepbrother,” she retorted as she shoved past him, jerked open the storm door and allowed herself to be pulled into a hug by the huge man on the other side.
Thus introduces the opportunity for snarky humor and sarcasm, from both men, as Williams struggles to accept that his Chala, who is like a sister to him, might possibly fall for some alpha male with an over-abundance of testosterone, who, by the way, is not the man she’s supposed to fall for. And Gavin, for his part, can’t figure out how a guy who wears dresses can possibly protect the woman he’s determined should be his mate.
The best part (I think): the obtuse advice William manages to give to Gavin throughout the book, advice that may well save them all, even though William claims he can’t stand the man.
Yeah, it’s definitely a worthy read, and it leads into a three-book series. Yes, William plays a role in all three books. Oh, and each of the other two books has an anti-hero for a hero, too. I think there may be a trend in my writing…
The three-book Twisted Fate series is available on Amazon (in KU if you’re a subscriber!)
Thanks for reading!