The evolution of a novel

I believe I’ve mentioned before that we originally developed the concept for Blood Bathory when we were writing a fanfiction story back in 2007; we wanted the main characters to be involved in an online fandom, but we didn’t want to use a real fandom in case someone took offense and thought we were poking fun at it. We hadn’t planned to do as much world-building as we did, but it seemed that once we got started, we got on a roll and ended up creating much more for the imaginary fandom than we intended.

In the original story, Blood Bathory was intentionally over the top, cheesy, and campy. I had the original Dark Shadows in mind, and when we were brainstorming, we agreed we wanted it to be something we could have fun with and geek out over. I wrote a couple of journal entries about our writing/thought process when we were doing all the world-building here and here, if anyone is interested in more specific info.

When we posted the story, we got several comments about the show we’d created, mostly people saying they would actually watch it if it was real, so when we started thinking seriously about moving away from writing fanfiction and toward writing original fiction, we thought maybe taking the concept of the show and working it into a premise for a novel might be a good idea. We both love the supernatural/paranormal genre, so it was a natural choice for us. However, we had to make significant changes to the overall concept and plot to make it workable. The tongue in cheek fun we’d had with the fictional TV show wouldn’t work for a more serious paranormal romance.

We kept the main characters pretty much the same. The original had a Will Trask and an Evan St. John, and there was a character named Marielle, who started out as a “Voodoo queen”. We eliminated the Voodoo element from the original and replaced it with the theriomorph concept, making them the servants of Gaia who fight Elizabeth Bathory and the rest of the Blood Cursed, i.e. vampires. Marielle ended up evolving into a shapeshifter who is thousands of years old, a former priestess of Isis who became a servant of Gaia.

We needed to create a strong supporting cast, some of whom include Elizabeth’s daughter Anna, a former California surfer dude turned shape-shifter, and an outspoken forensic specialist who enjoys needling Will and Evan every chance she gets. None of these characters existed in the original concept, so we had to develop them once we began writing the novel.

Developing the concept of Gaia required a lot of thought. How much power and influence does she have over the world? Is she a deity or not? Does she have limits? We had to think things through, especially since we decided to expand the story into a trilogy, and we wanted to be sure we could maintain consistency throughout all three books.

So basically we had to do some serious world building on our world building! But it was really fun, and we’re happy with what we’ve come up with. Instead of Voodoo queens and Evan being strapped to a sacrificial altar, we’ve got shape-shifters and a shoot out at a fashion show.

But the one thing that didn’t change is that Will and Evan are desperately attracted to each other, and their rocky road to romance plays out against the backdrop of a supernatural turf war.

Blood Bathory is now available from Torquere Press!