Message From The Author
Labyrinth is the fifth book in the Greywalker series—in which Private Investigator Harper Blaine works for the ghostly and undead—and it wraps up a lot of the character and long-arc plot threads that have developed since the beginning. When I started the series, I was not expecting to create such a complex tapestry of plot, sub-plot, and character development. I thought I was just going to write a series of stand-alone books about a detective who worked for paranormal clients, without being a ghost, vampire, werewolf, or the girlfriend of one herself. I wasn’t thinking of writing a major vampire arc—I thought there were already plenty of vampires in the genre and I was more interested in the ghosts and the detective aspect of the story.
But you know how sneaky vampires are, and before I knew it, they’d stuck their fangs into the story and become important characters in the arc. It didn’t have to be vampires, of course. I could have used werewolves, or sorcerers, or undying mummies, or just something I made up, but vampires do have a huge advantage over all the rest: they’re already very well known. So I didn’t have to constantly make up new rules for them, I could just pick and choose from the rules other people, or various mythologies, had already set up. Because I’m essentially lazy—well, maybe not too lazy, since I did invent two new types of vampires and a host of ghosts and other monsters along the way.... So, in spite of the fact that I objected when my agent called me “a vampire writer” I let the toothy pains-in-the-neck get a nice grip on the underlying story of why Harper Blaine is a Greywalker and how she intended to deal with it.
Of course, the down side to using vampires is that they’re already very well known. Readers have a lot of preconceptions about how vampires should act or what they will do. Sometimes that worked for me but sometimes not. I didn’t write my vampires as sexy romantics, brooding over the loneliness of their immortality and looking for a mate to share it with. Nor did I allow them to be mindless monsters, or eternal party animals. What I needed was a monster who lived a long time and had ceased to have much in common with the humans from which he sprang, but still seemed like one. I needed monsters who were thoughtful, manipulative, and had long-range plans. They had to blend in without being truly human any longer, but they had to be sympathetic under the right circumstances even while they were totally selfish and evil. Because a villain is always nastier when you can almost like him.
Once the vampires had sneaked into the underlying structure of the story I realized I had a much longer story to tell and I’d have to tell it a little at time without actually writing a serial soap opera, because I don’t enjoy reading serials myself. I had to slip bits of the bigger story into shorter episodes of Harper’s life until the time came to wrap them all up. Labyrinth became the big, shiny bow on that package. Trying to remember, collect and weave all the little bits of the big story together to make that bow was a harder juggling act than I had expected. I also had to do it while on the longest and most diverse book tour I’ve done to date.
I started on tour July 18th 2009 with a mass signing, even though that year’s book wasn’t out yet. Then I went to Comic Con in San Diego for the first time ever... and finished up at Dragon Con in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend with no more than four consecutive days at home during the whole seven weeks. (My husband spent most of his time playing World of Warcraft while I was gone and I still haven’t gotten him back.) I did turn the manuscript in three weeks late, but my editor was very nice about it. It was the hardest book to date, but it was in many ways the most fun to write, even if, at heart, it’s not really a vampire story: it’s a story about a woman regaining control of her life and destiny. I hope you enjoy it.
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