I’m wrapping up my first self-published book this weekend, handling the business end of things. It’s been a long journey that all started here, with a short story called VACANCY, that I posted on my blog. As I tend to do, I finished the story with an ending that, while complete, still left something to reader’s imaginations. And, boy did they imagine. I received so many emails from people wanting to know what happened to my vampire hunter, Oliver Ripley, that I decided to continue his story.
I could have just written IMMORAL: Tales of a Vampire Hunter using my usual process, but I thought it would be fun to bring readers into the crafting of the story. I vowed to sit down, write a chapter each week (right here in Blogger’s post composition mode) and post it without editing. I never knew from one part to the next where the story would go. Writing this way felt dangerous, scary, and exhilarating. It freed me from the constraints of my process, opened up new paths in my imagination and, sometimes, it put me into corners I thought I’d never be able to escape. I’d say something in one part, and realize I was stuck with it because of my promise not to edit. When my characters ended up on a plane to Paris, I realized there would be French that I do not speak. When I came up with a major plot point, I had to find a way to explain it, and tie up all the loose ends without going back and changing anything that would help make sense of it all.
There were times when I wanted to bang my head on my desk. Times I thought I’d never be able to make this work. But I did and, in the process, I learned to believe in myself as a writer capable of writing complete novels, not just short stories. I also fell in love with my readers, who cared about Oliver Ripley as much as I did. I listened to them, and used many of their ideas to complete IMMORAL.
I’ve taken down all of the old Oliver Ripley posts, and edited and made additions and changes to the new book (finally!), but I thought it would be fun to share just a few comments readers made along the way. As I get ready to launch IMMORAL into the world, I want to offer special thanks to everyone who helped shape the story with their feedback. I really couldn’t have done it without you (especially the commenters below). If any of you would like a free copy of the completed book, please contact me.
IMMORAL: Tales of a Vampire Hunter, Book One
Wow! I love this! Your writing is just wonderful on this – great imagery, lovely rhythm, and a sense of looming disaster!Yummy! on Oliver Ripley – Part Two ~ Remittance Girl
Well, fiddle. *laughs* I’m frustrated that Jonathan showed up. Looking forward to the next piece. on Oliver Ripley, Vampire Killer – Part Three ~ Elspeth
grrrrrrr…you are mean, mean…MEAN! Write more…soon…please? on Oliver Ripley, Vampire Killer – Part Three ~ jen
Look. I need a happy ending. Just saying. on Oliver Ripley, Vampire Killer – Part Four ~ Elspeth
Oh, I am liking this new direction! I saw you added “erotic romance” as a label, and I really hope that means Oliver and Miranda are going to end up together. I am DYING to know (SPOILER) and figure we’re in for a wild ride ahead (with everybody being happy in the end, though…ok?) on Oliver Ripley, Vampire Killer – Part Four ~ Jen
Zander, while initially intrigued by Oliver, I must admit an exponentially increased interest as his story continues to unfold.Not only do you lure with Oliver’s mysteries and varying dimensions, you also tantalize with new discoveries (not only of Oliver, but of his creator as well!).Oliver’s newfound affinity in the BDSM environment is compelling. One looks forward to delving into his further adventures, and revelations of other personalities as well. on Oliver Ripley, Vampire Killer – Part Three ~ beaucoup de noms
You left me breathless again. Each chapter is like another loop around me of a long, hard, chain… a cold chain that leaves me hotter and hotter. The blood has left my brain, and I no longer can think about how good your writing is. on Oliver Ripley, Vampire Killer – Part Three ~ oatmeal girl
I have been meaning to sit down and read this series and last night I stayed up and read the whole lot to the point of my eyelids closing via lack of sleep, but I could NOT stop reading. What a brilliant story and I love the fact you started this with just one line and have let it evolve. I often write this way and part of the fun is discovering where it takes you as you write. I look forward to more. Enthralling. on Oliver Ripley – Part Ten ~ vanimp