Let’s take a seat in the Wayback machine, shall we?
The year is 2011. I’ve just handed in the 4th PSI novel, DRAGON JUSTICE, and my agent and editor are in discussions about what I’m going to do next. We’re told that Luna/Harlequin doesn’t want another Cosa Nostradamus novel, they want me to do something else. Something with more romance and fewer dead bodies, something a little more in line with the HQN brand.
(someone other than my editor over at HQN had finally read the PSI books and realized I was subverting their beloved “destined love” trope, I guess…)
I panicked for a moment – asking me to write a trad love story has never ended well before. But then I have An Idea.
OK, I say. How about…. a modern retelling of Tam Lin, only Tam’s “Janet” is now Jan, a very modern geek girl living in Connecticut? Only her love can save her boyfriend, now called Tyler, from the grabby hands of elves!
That, my editor said, sounds perfect. Can you make it into two books?
Oh yes, I said. I can do that.
I should note that my editor has at this point been working with me for a dozen novels and several novellas. She totally could hear the evil cackle in my voice. But with this proposal, she had plausible deniability should The Powers That Be raise an eyebrow. After all, I was going to write about the magical power of love! How much more on the HQN brand could I be?
I don’t think they were expecting me to throw in a (kinda) serial killer hero, slightly graphic descriptions of torture and psychological manipulation, adult discussions of infidelity, or a realistic look at what happens after the daring rescue. Ooops?
(I mean, come on. Had they met me? Spoiler: they had.)
That said, I stand by the fact that this is very much a love story. It’s just not…traditional.
But anyway, despite a lot of really nice reviews, HQN wasn’t amused, and we parted ways more or less amiably, me going on to write a few historical fantasy novels you may have heard of for Simon & Schuster, and them… well, they got sold to Harper Collins.
And that brings us to 2019. Having,
like Jan, fought to retrieve my books from the elves, gotten the rights reverted, I decided that yes, I did love these books, and yes, they deserved another go of it, out from underneath the expectations of a sales force that never quite ‘got’ fantasy.
And so, for old friends and newcomers, welcome into the Portals.
Be careful who you trust.