In any line of work there is always so much to learn, and writing is no different from any other profession. You start out thinking you’ve done your best the first time they publish your work because you’ve toiled so hard, done research, and agonized over every single detail. And then the next time around, you find other things you can add to improve the story and wonder why that never occurred to you earlier. By the third book you’ve been more observant, tried to anticipate your editor’s questions, and done everything in your power to keep the action flowing and the characters engaged and appealing – and tried to create a universe just below the surface of the real world. You know – that mysterious land where the werewolves, werecats and vampires live their tangled lives. My alternate universe is of the paranormal variety, so it’s filled with creatures who can shape-shift, live for centuries and prey on the rest of us with fangs and claws.
Isn’t that great? We simple humans are stuck in our own world, dealing with cranky kids, traffic jams, impossible bosses and the daily grind while the vamps and werefolk get to dissolve into a shimmer of atoms, transform into furred creatures with great claws or sleep all day and roam the night thirsting for the rich red liquid that sustains them. Or the modern vamp’s synthetic stuff which is becoming the new trendy drink in the undead world.
In my first paranormal, DEVOUR, I created a werewolf who was a high-end jeweler on Madison Avenue in NYC. Like many ordinary folks, Pierre had a day job that brought him some satisfaction. He had an artist’s eye for refined design. His jewels were prized by high society. But on those nights when he shifted and turned lupine, he was all about the hunt. You just didn’t want to run into him when he was furry.
In PREY I turned to werecats for my subjects. Have you ever watched a cat, any cat, from tiger to family pet? They’re all alike underneath their coats. Whether large or small, they have an elegant bearing that makes you think of royalty. I used that trait for PREY’s heroine. Viv is smart and sleek, but underneath the modern veneer, she has the heart of a tiger. When she goes werecat, the fur really flies. When she breaks clan rules about romance, she finds the love of her life.
SMOLDER, the third book in the series involves France’s most famous werewolf hunter and her furred mortal enemies. These lycanthropes are out for her blood. In fact, they’re put a contract out on her. All those years of hunting their kind has put Catherine Marais in line for payback, and she’s going to need all her skill and all the help she can get from her vampire lover to avoid becoming dinner. Love smolders and bursts into flame for Catherine and Ian Morgan, and werewolves get singed.
So when you think you have it rough because your boss has stopped you just as you’re heading for the exit on Friday and he says to you, “Oh, can you stay and finish X, Y or Z?” think of the characters who inhabit the paranormal world. They may have to contend with a boss who views them as a snack. Even the worse office tyrant won’t do that.
Melina Morel’s PREY received a 2009 Maggie Award in the paranormal category as well as a 2009 New England Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award for paranormal.
SMOLDER will appear in January, 2010. You can access the trailer for SMOLDER by going to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p9uRy8-y98