Saturday, August 7, 2010

In the Beginning...

[Edit: The winners of the contest are: Cheryl Kordes, Tura Lura, Mandy, and tsalvatore! Please email me at JocelynnDOTdrakeATgmailDOTcom with your name and mailing address so I can mail out your signed copies of Wait for Dusk]

In the beginning, there was a daydream of a woman who was strong and stubborn and more than a little broken. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. She occupied my daydreams and stalked me while I slept until I finally started to put her on the page. And even then, there was no evading her. For more than five years now, there has only been Mira with the flaming red hair and explosive temper.

Recently, Wait for Dusk: the fifth book in the Dark Days series was released into the world. It follows Mira and Danaus along with a couple nightwalker companions to Budapest where they have to not only face a familiar enemy that has been haunting Mira for most of her existence, but she and Danaus also have to escape a plot that nearly claims their life and destroys their budding relationship.

Today, I thought I would take a step back and wander down memory lane for a moment to talk about where and when Mira was born, because she had a somewhat rough and unusual start in comparison to other stories that I’ve written.

While I’ll admit that I’ve only been an author for three years now, I first started writing stories when I was twelve. I spent one summer retelling the tale of Robin Hood so that it included a kick-ass female that could hang with the boys. It was just an early sign of the direction that I would be headed. From there, the stories just kept coming. I filled notebooks with random scenes that would pop into my head. During high school, I kept two notebooks on my desk at all times. In one, I took notes for the class I was in and in the other I wrote stories during the boring parts of the lectures.

The scenes rarely ever turned into books. They were just scenes filled with unique people that interested me for a flash of time. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I was introduced to fantasy novels, and suddenly my world exploded into this vast new universe where magical things could happen and characters could be so much more than what I was writing. It was then that I started my first novel. It was the first time that I outlined an entire novel and actually finished it. It was the first time I drew out a detailed map of the world and kept it close to my side as I worked. It was my first true labor of deep love.

Years flash by and the stories continue to come. And one day, a character walks into my brain after I had spent several months reading a wide variety of urban fantasy novels. She was tall, lithe, and strong. She had red hair and a mischievous smirk and a sarcastic biting tongue. I wanted to play with her. I needed to. So, I started some scenes with her in them. At first, she was an elf and then a witch and then finally, a vampire. I found that I would write about thirty pages for each tale she was involved in and then stop. I would open up a fresh document and then take her in a new direction for thirty pages before stopping again.

All those scenes that will never see the light of day were practice. I needed to hear her talk, watch how she walked into a scene and interacted with other characters of varying strength and temperament. I needed to know what lit her temper and broke her heart. I needed to make her smile when all she wanted to do was cry.

Weary of scenes that went nowhere, I finally tried to put this character aside, whose name had evolved from Miranda to Mira. I started a short story about a vampire hunter, but I wanted to tell the story in such a way that it wasn’t from his point of view, yet it was about him. When the narrator opened her mouth for the first time, I knew that I was listening to Mira and the words flowed like water down a mountain.

I was content to leave it as a short story. On a whim, I showed the story to a friend. When he was finished, he simply shook his head to me as he handed it back, saying “You’re not finished.” He wanted a book. It had never occurred to me that Mira and Danaus needed an entire book, but at that point Mira was screaming for more pages and Danaus had begun to intrigue me as well.

For the second time in my life, I outlined a book and the pages pour forth with a new deep love. And Nightwalker was born.

So, for the curious, yes, I still have that map that I made during high school and dream of returning to that fantasy world I created so long ago. And I still possess every note, character sketch, and lengthy scene that I ever wrote involving Mira. The love still runs just as deep for my characters. But if you love the Dark Days series, direct your thanks to my friend Joe. He’s the one that said that I wasn’t finished, and without that, the tale might never have continued.

To celebrate the release of Wait for Dusk, I am going to give away four signed copies of the book to people who leave a comment in this blog entry. The contest is open to domestic and international readers. I will draw the winner on Sunday, August 8 and will announce the winners at the top of this blog post. Good luck.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

That blog entry gave me goosebumps as I read it. You have a very special gift, thank you for sharing it with us lowly mortals.

Thank Joe for me as well, we owe him!

Steven Gatlin

A Simple Love of Reading said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Simple Love of Reading said...

This post was just wonderful to read! I love how you went "back in time" to tell us the beginning of your story! It's incredible that you've been writing since you were twelve! I loved to write when I was younger, but had a couple of teachers that were VERY discouraging and my parents weren't the most supportive either. When it came time for me to read in front of the class, I even had one teacher roll his eyes and tell the class: "Oh, it's Amy's turn, we're going to be here for a while." Pretty horrible, eh? It really affected me, and it took me until early this year to start writing again. I know I shouldn't have let their discouragement dissuade me from writing, but it did and I regret every wasted moment of shoving down those characters that have been constantly rearing their heads inside my imagination. I think it's time I let them all out!

Thank you for sharing part of your story with us!

astewart305(at)rogers.com

Cassay said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing your story, love the cover :)
Cassandra C

rachel445 said...

Thanks for sharing! Joe has my thanks. It's a good thing Mira was so persistant. I love the Dark Days series. Mira's attitude is great, and the action is so much fun. Looking forward to the next one.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing a piece of your literary history. I am a new fan of the genre and am hooked. A dear friend introduced me to the Dark Days series and I am not able to put the books down.

Thank you again, love your books!

Cheryl Kordes

Sullivan McPig said...

Very cool to read how Mira was born. I'm glad your friend told you to keep writing.

YzhaBella (aka Kate) said...

Oooohhhh! Great stuff! all goose pimply and intrigued!
Please enter me!

Kate aka YzhaBella

Crystal said...

Thank you Joe! And thank you Jocelynne for sharing Mira with us. I loved all 5 books and am eagerly awaiting #6. It is always incredible when you guys share where some of our favorite characters came from. I love the Supernatural Underground! =)
Please don't enter me in the giveaway as I already have this.
Thanks again for the post!

Digital Sinner said...

Thank you for sharing Mira and Danaus with the rest of us!

T. Seaborne

Emmi said...

I love posts like this because you get to know so much more apart from the actual story you're reading. Thanks for sharing all this. :)

Miranda said...

I found you through another author on her myspace page of all places. I had just gotten back into reading and was loving it! I read what you had posted on your website at the time and put your name in my to be read list. My hubby was away at a field op and needed something to read so he asked for one of my authors off of my list and i gave him your name and he fell in love also! Now while he is deployed he is caughting up on your story and as soon as i am done with Wait for Dusk i will be mailing it to him out there! Can't wait for more!!

Miranda M

Lisa B. said...

Wow. Just, wow. Love the post. I can't wait to read Wait for Dusk!

JenM said...

I always find it interesting to be given a glimpse into an author's creative process. Since I don't seem to have a single creative bone in my body I'm always amazed at those who do.

Anna K. N. said...

great post. love your books!

TracyW said...

Thanks for the great post. I have just started your series and am loving it!

Tura Lura said...

It's always interesting to hear where characters come from, how they're born. I've been meaning to read this series for a while now.

When the first book released, I was still working at a book store. I recommended the book to a friend of mine based on the back cover blurb. He loved it! Now I just need to see if I can borrow it from him... Or maybe the library. ^_^

I'm also glad to hear I'm not the only one whose characters won't leave her alone!

Nicole said...

Huge thanks to Joe for encouraging you to continue on. Dark Days is one of my fave adult series! I'm glad you not only finished Nightwalker, but have given us readers an additional 4 books already on shelf with another to follow next year :)

Nicole said...

I love Mira and Danaus! I'm so glad you listened to your friends advice and gave them not only a whole book, but a whole series!!

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

This is my favorite series, Mira and Danaus captured my attention in Nightwalker and have as yet to release it. Thanks for giving us a peek into Mira's world!

Dottie

Barbara E. said...

What a great story. I love hearing about the evolution of an author's writing, and how they ended up with a fantastic book. I'm looking forward to reading Wait for Dusk, I know it will be another fabulous story.

lingeorge said...

Thank you Joe! I am so glad you listened to him! Mira and Danaus are two of my favorite -- and I read a lot! I love your personal story, and am glad you kept at it.

Sharon S. said...

It is always cool to hear how a character was born and evolved. I love the way Wait for Dusk ended. Bitter sweet. You had me tearing up quite a few times.
Thanks Joe! :)

nymfaux said...

Hi! Great post!!! I love hearing the background, and you even made the background into a good story!!! ;)

I haven't read your books, but I'm definitely adding them to my TBR list!!!

Thanks for the giveaway!!!! And most of all, congrats on your new release and all your continuing success!!!

Melissa said...

I love it when authors talk about their characters as if they just needed to tell their tale. Makes them even more "fleshed" out, I think.

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post, want to read more! tWarner419@aol.com

Kristyd, Lover of Danaus said...

Joc, you're amazing. The infamous Danaus is what got me past the "Edward" faze. Now I'm a big girl with "big girl" fantasies and they come true in your books. Thanks so much:)

Mandy said...

So nice to read how Mira was born! I find that the way you described your love for your characters matches what I feel for mine... I guess most authors feel like that, though :)
The cliffhanger from the end of Pray for Dawn is eating me up, and I can't wait to read Wait for Dusk! :D
Would love to gain an autographed copy, so please count me in!

Patricia Lynne said...

I gotta say, I totally relate. Recently I've had a writing bug and all because of a dream I had about a girl and the vampire she knew that was born as one (it involved every character from True Blood too! LOL) In the dream, the girl was trying to be w/ the vampire but every (true blood cast pretty much) wouldn't let her because he was born a vampire and when I woke that idea was stuck in my head so I started writing it down (Minus everyone from true blood of course) and the story kinda took on a life of it's own. Dunno if I'll do anything w/ the story (it needs tweaking and I gotta get the balls to ask my friends to read it) but I think it'd be awesome to try to publish one of the many stories I've had pop in my head since. just need some one to give me some courage. (or rip my thumb drive out of my hands and read some and kick me into action)

Sweet Rachel! said...

Wow Jocelynn!

It must have been wonderful growing up and always having that creative nack that makes me adore your books so! I always thought there should have been more female characters in Robin Hood too. Wonderful Post!

Aleana said...

Great information! I would love to win one of your signed books. Count me in too!

Helen Lowe said...

Wonderful, Jocelynn--I love the way characters can hang around for years, bugging us, until one day 'the hour knows their name' (GGK).

Wenj said...

Intersting to see how things came about. Thanks for sharing!! :)

Jessica said...

Love this series! It's so addicting!

Casey H said...

Haha wow that was a cool/interesting post. I used to just write random little scenes on the same page that I was taking notes on for class (back in high school). You can say that they were interesting when it was time to study for a test :D

Rachel said...

I would most definitely like to thank your friend Joe :) I absolutely adore the world you created and Mira herself. There's something about her...
It was nice reading about how she was born. Thank you for sharing that, especially as a writer I always find it most interesting how these people spring into existence and take us by surprise.
I would absolutely adore to have a signed copy! I'll never read the particular copy for fear of bending the pages but I promise I buy all of Mira's books and am looking forward to reading more.
(and I loved The Ring. Valerio is my favorite character side from Mira)
Thank You And Joe for letting us share in your Imaginary world and play with your friends.
~
Rachel(dot)coldsmom(at)gmail(dot)com

donnas said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing! Love the series and its cool to see other aspects of the creation and development.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

heatwave16 said...

Great post, and my thanks to Joe. :) It's just amazing to watch how the creative process grows because it's so different for everyone. Thanks for sharing.


heatwave96(at)hotmail.com

tsalvatore said...

Great post, thanks for sharing.

Alicia0605 said...

Once again thanks for taking time out of your scheduale to hang out with us!! I love all of your books. A big thank you goes out to Joe!!

I cant wait to see what happens next in this series!!

aliciahall0605(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Little_Dhampir91 said...

You can count me in!
And awesome post by the way!

<3 Erin

little_dhampir@live.com.au

mariska said...

Please please enter me in for this awesome book !!

Debi Murray said...

Thank you, Joe!

Love this series and can't wait to sink my teeth into this book (it's next on the TBR pile).

Keep them coming, Jocelyn!

Mistress of the Library said...

I love that you are so passionate about your work and your characters. And THANK YOU to your friend for making you turn it all into a book!!! rcchildrenslibrarian(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sara M said...

I love getting a glimpse into the writing process. Thanks for sharing!

Sara M
sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

nymfaux said...

congrats to the winners!!!