Today RT convention attendees got a bit of insight on the process that authors Jeaniene Frost, Charlaine Harris and Nalini Singh go through as they write some of the most popular paranormal series on the market. In the Paranormal Chat this afternoon these genre headliners let us inside of their worlds (both the fictional and real ones) and, of course, talked about what readers can expect next!
The discussion started off quickly, as the authors spoke about their favorite character transformation over the course of their series. Frost said she has been very pleased at the changes in her “Wicked Witch-y” character Justina. While for Harris, it is Sookie who has changed the most as she has really come into her own despite the enormous paranormal responsibilities piled onto her young shoulders. And Singh said it was Nikita, Sascha’s mother, who has the most interesting character development because we still don’t know Nikita's motivations for rejecting her daughter.
No chat between these three ladies would be complete without discussing those fanged heroes and heroines we all love so much. The authors all talked a bit about why they chose to write series about relationships with younger women and not just older men, but much, much, much older men.
Harris said that she had envisioned Bill as a Civil War hero because it was interesting to her and that when it came to Eric’s life as a Viking she “romanced him up quite a bit” because some of the realities of a marauder's life would not be palatable for a modern heroine. Plus, Harris said that the age factor can actually be a positive thing since “vamps have decades, centuries, eons to practice sex, so they have gotten very, very good.”
Frost said that she’d simply dreamed up Bones as a character who was hundreds of years older than Cat, but when it came to finding the perfect mate for Mencheres, and ancient pharaoh, she knew that his lady would have to be very strong. It’s about, in her words, “finding common ground, more than just I’m hot, you’re hot.”
And Singh told us that one of the key parts of the Guild Hunter series is the way that the relationship between the younger Elena and the older Raphael develops as they learn to balance each other out.
We also got special insider details from the authors about their series, books and what readers can expect next. Here are some of the things that we learned:
About Jeaniene Frost:
- Vlad’s book, Once Burned starts a new mini series within the Night Huntress universe. Frost revealed that there will definitely be a second book in the Night Prince series — and there may even be a third.
- Part of Once Burned is set in Romania in Vlad’s crazy (read enormous) mansion in Romania. His heroine is an American woman who is human, but also has “a little electricity problem” in the author’s own words.
- The wooden box from Grave’s End is a hanging thread in the series because the author says that even though she knows that there’s a letter in the box from Bones that Cat should read in the event of his death, “I couldn’t take writing it and my heroine couldn’t take listening to it.”
- If Frost wrote Ian’s book right now she said, it would be “violence and porn” but she’s got hopes that he will eventually get to a place where he could be hero material. (We are keeping our fingers crossed!)
About Charlaine Harris:
- Harris is in the process of selling her Harper Connelly series to the Syfy Network and although she won't have verbal input for casting the show, she will get to watch as actors are screen tested. (The author revealed that she looked at headshots for Sookie, Bill and Eric before True Blood was cast and is pleased about how that turned out even though no one could have matched what the characters look like in her head.)
- In answering the question if Sookie’s supernatural issues will ever overtake her daily problems, which are so much a part of the series, Harris told us in the next book there is something that makes it difficult for Sookie to continue focusing on the non-paranormal parts of her life. In reference to this challenge she told us, “I don’t want to lose Sookie’s essence which is part of why I’m wrapping up the series.”
- Harris has just sold three books to Penguin that will be written in third person with multiple POV. She said of the books, “I’m very excited about learning to do something new” and that fans can expect this series to be a little bit paranormal with mystery, violence and, sooner or later, some romance.
- This new series will feature a woman who can rock a Kate Beckinsale cat suit, something which Harris said is “a bit of wish fulfillment".)
About Nalini Singh:
- After Archangel’s Storm the author believes that she will be going back to add another chapter in Elena and Raphael’s romance.
- The Ghost from her Psy/Changeling series is a he! The author expounded saying, “I have plans for the Ghost and I’ve always had plans for the Ghost. It is someone you’ve met.” (A show of hands revealed that the audience thought that it was maybe Kaleb Krychek.) The author went on to say that she’s known the Ghost’s identity from the beginning of the series and has always been very careful while writing to make sure that he was never in two places at once.
- She spoke about potentially writing stories for all of Raphael’s Seven Commanders from her Guild Hunter universe. The verdict? “I don’t want to write a book just to write a book about that character,” instead the story has to fit the world and where the overarching story is going — something made considerably more difficult by the fact that the first Archangel book was supposed to be a stand-alone. “I am leaving it open,” said the author of giving her side characters books of their own, “I won’t say I’m not going to … but I may not …”
- The last book that Singh read as a novel from Caroline Linden, fulfilling her desire to read about Dukes and lemonade at Almack’s.
And when asked, each author dropped a hint about what readers can expect from an upcoming release:
Book seven of Frost’s Cat and Bones series is tentatively titled Up From the Grave and it will be out late next year.
Harris’ Deadlocked comes out this May and then the final title in the “Sookie series” will be Dead Ever After.
Singh said that after Tangle of Need, the next Psy/Changeling series book is currently “Untitled 13” because the three word titles for the series makes it hard to come up with a great name — there are a lot of words that have been used up. But said the author, the title of her next story might have the word "heart" in it.
You can learn more about these three authors and many more by checking out the RT Everything Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Page. And for more from the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention, be sure to check back later today!