Week Two: 13 Weeks of Vampires
Spoiler warning: there will be many discussions of plot points and characters below, so if you haven't read these books yet, you may wish to give this section a pass. You have been warned.
Week Two brings us to book number three: SEX, LIES, AND VAMPIRES, in which I show my love of the British Museum, ghosts, and London in general. Also, there's the Hasi Uproar.
Take a flawed charmer named Nell, add a cursed Dark One called the Betrayer who has sold his own kind for centuries to a demon lord, and throw them together in a desperate attempt to save an innocent child…while along the way un-entangling themselves from a Welsh knocker named Gigli who runs a house of ill repute for poltergeists, avoiding death by a revenge-minded vampire, and trying to convince a group of mummies that dead really does mean forever.
HOW THE BOOK CAME TO BE
Most people were expecting that the third book in the Dark Ones series was going to be about Sebastian, but I asked him if he wanted a story, and he refused to talk to me. Since I have better things to do than try to persuade recalcitrant characters to speak, I decided to move on to a new character. A friend of mine asked me to write a hero for her, and to make him as tormented and dark as possible. Thus, Adrian the Betrayer was born.
Since I felt it was important to tie the book into the previous one, I set part of it at Christian's castle in the Czech Republic. Only after that did I decide that Christian had to be in it, too...but Christian as seen by an outsider.
I wanted to go as dark as possible for Adrian, while still making him drool-worthy, so I decided he was going to be in a position where he had the choice of damning a couple of people, or a whole lot of them. I knew that sort of thing would eat away at him, and leave him utterly without hope of ever seeing an end to the darkness that surrounded him. Add in a dash of betrayal by his own family members, and voila, the perfect blend of seriously unhappy man was born.
Nell (who bore a version of my friend's name) came about with all her physical issues because I feel strongly about empowering women to see themselves not as victims of life, but as victors. So I did the worst thing I could think of--I gave her the means to do something wonderful, and then snatched it away.
Yeah, I really am a vengeful god when it comes to the characters I create, huh?
THE EASTER EGGS
Some of you may remember from Week 1 that I mentioned dedicating that book to my dear friend, Christine Feehan. There's a little tip of the hat to Christine in SEX, LIES, AND VAMPIRES, as well--the book that Nell finds in Christian's libraries is one of Christine's.
The original back cover of SEX, LIES, AND VAMPIRES had a misspelling of Adrian's name--it was written as Adriam Tomas--and although I caught it before the book went into print, Dorchester, for whatever reason, decided not to correct it. I never did find out if they corrected it in subsequent printings, so if you have a later version of the Dorch book, and it's spelled correctly, let me know.
If you have one of the original covers, you will have noticed they changed a few times. One reason is that the original publisher, Dorchester, switched covers after the books became very successful. But a year or so after SLV was published, Dorchester filed for bankruptcy, and sold some of the books they held to Harper Collins. A GIRL'S GUIDE TO VAMPIRES, SEX AND THE SINGLE VAMPIRE, AND SEX, LIES, AND VAMPIRES were included in that deal. I have a lot of things to say about what went down, but that's a story for another time. What does matter is that HC changed the covers for their versions of the books, which is where they are now. Personally, I liked the original covers better, but eh. It is what it is, right? Right.
THE ORIGINAL OUTLINE
Noelle: Guardian. Studying werefolk. Interested in talking to Sebastian, but he disappeared and she couldn't find him.
Sebastian: Dark One, driven to find Asmodeus and destroy him. Scholar, reluctant knight, recognizes Noelle for what she is, but is hesitant to bind her to him when he will have to give up his life to destroy Asmodeus.
Annemieke--unicorn. Also in human form, black hair, blue eyes, pretty woman
Claire, aka Glimmerharp--ditzy cousin of Noel's who was adopted. Is really a faery but refuses to believe in that or in anything supernatural.
Whoa, wait, what's that? Noelle and Sebastian? Annemieke and Claire? Yup, this is from the original outline of SEX, LIES, AND VAMPIRES, and it's a story that eventually got ripped apart and spread out to other books. I just couldn't make Sebastian and Noelle work together, so I started over from scratch and came up with a whole new plot.
Sebastian was punished for not wanting to talk to me by getting only a novella (BRING OUT YOUR DEAD) while Noelle had to wait a few years for the love of her life (SHADES OF GREY). In case you don't recognize them, Annemieke ended up in GHOST OF A CHANCE, and Claire went to the fourth vampire book, EVEN VAMPIRES GET THE BLUES.
THE HASI UPROAR
When SEX, LIES, AND VAMPIRES was originally published in 2004, I got a couple of e-mails from German-speaking readers who giggled at the choice of endearment that Adrian uses for his Beloved. When the book was later published in Germany, a lot of German readers gently pointed out that the term hasi (which means bunny), is a really syrupy, overly gooey endearment, and no woman in her right mind would want to be called by that term.
With the 2011 reissue by Harper Collins, I had the chance to change the word into something that German-speakers would find less cloying, but after much thought, I decided to leave it as it was. Adrian the Betrayer is anything but a syrupy, gooey kind of guy—as he will happily tell you, he’s dark, tormented, done things of which he’s not proud, and is literally cursed. But I wanted a way to let readers peek behind that hard, tortured facade and see what he was really like, and I think the endearment does what I intended it to do—gives insight into Adrian’s true nature.
SLV was the first book where an immortal hero was not extremely wealthy. He didn't have all the answers, he didn't have oodles of money, and he certainly didn't deal well with certain individuals, but he did the best he could, and for that reason, I think a lot of readers really liked him. I was a bit surprised by just how strongly readers took to him, and decided that a lot of it has to do with our need as women to redeem bad boys. You don't get much badder than Adrian, after all.
Nell's mummies are real, or at least one of them is--Ginger is a mummy who still has patches of orangey, coppery hair (possibly lightened by the sands), and is on view at the British Museum. When I lived in London, some twenty years before I wrote SEX, LIES, AND VAMPIRES, I used to love to visit Ginger and all the other mummies every weekend. I adored the British Museum as a whole, and since I lived near it, used to hang out there a lot. Alas, I never did get taken to the storage areas, so I had to reproduce those from my knowledge of other storage facilities in the natural history museum where I worked.
The earlier scenes with Christian and Allie came about because I wanted to see them from a point of view where they weren't necessarily friendly. I wanted Nell to feel the full impact of bonding herself to Adrian, and see whether that would sway her at all. Of course, it didn't--she was made of sterner stuff, even if Allie was ready to dump her in the river for attacking Christian...
Adrian's son Damien is, indeed, named for the Omen character. He was such a little snot, I just couldn't resist the temptation.
Still Christian. He appears in SLV as well as ENTHRALLED (briefly, very briefly).