Message From The Author
As a reader, when I love a story, I can’t imagine it being any other way.
Characters have particular ‘issues,’ they get faced with specific challenges, they battle back through hard times, and learn very certain lessons. And that’s just the way it is.
Clearly, that was The Story.
But authors know differently. Stories get revised. A lot.
Every author has his or her own method for revisions. Sometimes it’s a revise-as-you-go approach. Sometimes it’s a first/second/third draft system. Sometimes it’s a less precise method, more a revise-as-you-go-then-rip-it-to-shreds-and-add-a-new-subplot-and-be-sure-to-add-and-then-delete-characters-repeatedly-and-try-to-do-as-much-of-this-in-the-last-two-months-as-possible sort of approach.
That last method? Yeah, that’s mine.
That’s the way of stories. Sometimes they come fully formed, like fruit off a tree. And sometimes, they need a whole lot of construction. Defiant was more like the house than the fruit. I was the guy with the hammer and nails.
So this is the story of how a story was constructed. A story about the changes Defiant went through, and why.
Originally, the first had kernel was a story about a woman being taken somewhere she did not want to go. It had a rather Robin Hood-esque feel, except for a few small details: the hero was the one taking her where she didn’t want to go, and the heroine was the Robin Hood-esque character.
Defiant today bears little resemblance to this.
The plot changed: the drama and turmoil leading up to Magna Carta now serve as the backdrop to the adventures of the story.
Secondary characters also changed, drastically. In the first few versions, characters who are now central to the story—a priest, an ex-slave-trader, a rebel leader—did not even exist. I added them in subsequent revisions.
Why? Because adding these secondary characters made the stakes higher and the choices harder for the hero and heroine. So, in they went.
Speaking of whom . . . the heroine, Eva, changed during rewrites. No longer was this a woman being taken where she did not want to go. Well, not entirely. (I admit, there are ropes involved at one point.) But now, Eva is a woman on a mission. She’s not hiding from the world but plunging into it, conducting dark business for a very good cause.
There is no ‘why’ to Eva’s revision. It just happened. Completely unintentional.
As I was rewriting the opening one day (we’ll draw a veil over how often the stage of ‘Rewriting The Opening’ occurred), the heroine started speaking lines of dialogue that completely surprised me. And she had a French accent. And she was searching for someone. I’d had no idea.
She was calm and savvy and funny and kept saying and doing things I hadn’t planned, and I finally sat back and thought, “I’ve never met this woman before.”
But she’s the one starring in Defiant now. Strong, quietly competent, and capable of making the hero change the plans of a lifetime.
Which brings us to Jamie. Jamie Lost.
He’s the only one who didn’t change. Through all the rewrites, through all the plot changes, through the story morphs, Jamie stayed Jamie. The reluctant hero, the ‘good’ alpha, the emotionally battered and darkly honorable, dangerous Jamie, who finally met his match in a dark-hared waif who stole his quarry and changed his life forever.
So, if you read Defiant, I hope you love the way it all turned out. It was, truly, a labor of love. A lot of labor, and a whole lot of love.
- Kris Kennedy
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