Instead of the usual Wednesday Coffee Chat, I invited author Michele Drier to talk about the issues of working with characters within a series. She accepted, and without more fanfare, I'm turning the blog over to her! Take if away, Michele.
by Michele Drier
When I began writing The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, I had a trilogy in mind.
Why three? No particular reason it just seemed that I could explore all the characters in these paranormal romances and wrap them up in three books.
Was I wrong! The characters, especially Maxie and Jean-Louis, the passionate but probably ill-matched lovers, grabbed the stories and wouldn’t let go.
“Wait a minute,” they shouted at me. “We’re not finished yet!”
Now, nine books later with probably more to come, I find that they have to grow, become different from their first book, learn things.
What do characters learn and how do they grow in an extended series? They have to remain interesting, tackle new challenges, overcome old barriers and show readers and fans that though they’re still the people you’ve grown to love, there are new complexities. They can develop internal changes—finding new depths or new fears—or react to outside influences—a death threat, a new baby.
This is a bit tricky as the Kandeskys, the vampires, are 500-year-old Hungarians who’ve lived a life of ease in their castles and manors in Eastern Europe. Sure they’ve had some ups and downs…a centuries-long feud with their neighboring vampire family, the Huszars; adaptation to new technology (they bought the first Mercedes in 1903); adaptation to new marketing and businesses…they invested in Hollywood gossip magazines in the 1920s and now own the world’s largest, most extensive celebrity gossip empire with TV shows and slick magazines covering Europe and the Americas.
Beyond the technology and increasing wealth, two of the unmarried male Kandeskys have run up against a formidable wall…twenty-first century women.
Jean-Louis and Nik Kandesky are beyond sexy. They’ve honed their attraction to, and interest in, women for centuries. What are Maxie and Jazz, two modern, L.A. women going to do when these beautiful creatures turn on their Old World charm?
There’s outside tension in the books. Other vampire families, Eastern European terrorists, rival business factions looking to carve a piece of their empire away, terrorists wanting to take down the family. By far, though, the tension is between the lovers.
It’s not enough that they come from different centuries and countries. Manners are different. Relationships are different. Women in nineteenth century Budapest didn’t have jobs. Men didn’t ask them for opinions on business…or much of anything.
Add to that, the men are vampires. A commitment to a vampire puts a whole new meaning on “forever.” As Maxie wrestles with loving Jean-Louis, she realizes that marrying him and becoming a vampire also is an irrevocable thing. As Jean-Louis says to her, “You come from the land of do-overs. Don’t like your situation? Change it. This isn’t my world.”
These characters have all become both closer to me and more independent as the series continues. They’ve all had to grow and change. Jean-Louis and Nik have haltingly, grudgingly, begun to share some of the dangers the Kandeskys face from outside forces. In SNAP: I, Vampire, Maxie is even acquiring the vampire ability to “mind read,” really opening up her mind to the collective unconscious of the Kandeskys and understanding the subtly of their communication.
Maxie and Jazz are losing some of their brittleness and are learning that actions from the men are not designed to take control, but are hard-wired reactions from nature and nurture training them to take care of their women. All of them are learning that it’s not a case of women being incapable, but of men having to take care.
There’s a lot of growing and changing in the future for the Kandeskys…now including some women…but they haven’t told me yet where they plan to go. Just invited me along, so far. It’s gonna be an interesting ride!
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series. In addition to the San Jose Mercury-News, she was the City Editor of the Lodi New-Sentinel, the Executive Editor of the Manteca Bulletin and Assistant Metro Editor for the Modesto Bee.
Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire. A sci-fi thriller, Ashes of Memory, is scheduled for release late summer 2016.
She’s active in the mystery community and also teaches writing classes in Northern California.
Visit her facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier
her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/
her website, www.micheledrier.com
or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org