When a book becomes a series – Hunter’s Moon

(I will be back later today or, more likely, this evening, with a few thoughts about what’s happening in Iowa today. I’m not doing it right now because there are still too many unanswered questions. Not that the Iowa caucus will answer them. If anything, I expect there will be even more questions after the results are posted and verified. So, that will come later. Please check back.)

Those of you who have followed my posts either here or at Mad Genius Club know that I have always created stories. When I was young, they were the stories that played out in my head or in the backyard with the neighborhood kids. Once I learned to write, a lot of my stories went onto paper. The stories still played out in my head but the process of writing them was a mixture of therapy and escape. Therapy because I could put into those stories things that bothered me or things I needed to work out. Escape because those stories could take me to different places and times than the ones I lived in.

Once I was an adult, I joined my fair share of critique groups, some good but more bad, and I continued to write. Now, years after I penned that first story, I have 13 novels published or available to pre-order. Eleven of those belong to four different series. Gulp.

How in the world did I get to this point?

That’s a question I often ask these days. The answer is simple really. My muse is an evil bitch. She tells me the novel will be a standalone and then, as I near the end, she springs her surprise. Nope, not a standalone. This is the first of mumble, mumble many.

In reality the answer is anything but simple and, to be honest, is different for each of the series.

Hunter’s Moon (3 Book Series) is the series that baffles me the most. The first book, Hunted (Hunter’s Moon Book 1), came about because I wanted to try writing a story about shapeshifters that was different from what I had been doing. That meant more than just writing in first person, something I hadn’t done yet. I didn’t want the novel to have the same feel as the others. So I decided to try my hand at paranormal romance.

Technically, Hunted fits that bill. I say technically because there isn’t as much sex in it as there is in a lot of PNRs but the romance (and, yes, sex) are important driving parts of the plot. It followed a number of the romance tropes — female in danger, manly man saving her, evil bad guy wanting the female, parents dead — but I tried to turn some of them on their heads as well. For one thing, I don’t like clingy, helpless female characters in literature any more than I like them in real life. So, while Finn was rescued by Matt at the beginning, she not only knows how to stand up for herself but she does so. She doesn’t shy away from the darkness in her life or from the hard decisions. Once she figures out she has found a life worth fighting for, nothing will stop her from doing so.

As I wrote the novel, I honestly thought it would be a one-off. What I discovered, however, was that I really liked the characters, especially Finn and a supporting character who was onscreen only a couple of times. She would wind up getting her own book, but that’s for a bit later in this post.

Something else I realized was that I wanted to fill in more about not only Finn’s backstory but what happened to those who knew her before she left home following the events that set the stage for Hunted. That meant a new leading character. That’s fine. What I hadn’t expected during the initial planning stages was that the male lead would wind up being Matt’s brother. Hunter’s Duty (Hunter’s Moon Book 2) was born.

Where Hunted focused on Finn finally taking control of her life and no longer running from danger, Hunter’s Duty centered on Maggie finally realizing that blind loyalty, especially to a weak leader, can be as deadly as betrayal. That’s a lesson she learns the hard way. She also learns that trust — and love — can help pull you through almost anything.

And, as with Hunted, one of the supporting characters continued to call to me. She had a story to tell, one I wanted to tell. That’s how Hunter’s Home (Hunter’s Moon Book 3) was born. That character, CJ, had always intrigued me. In the previous books, she had been there to support Finn and Mac and she filled the role of the pride’s resident tattoo artist. But I knew there was more to her. I just wasn’t sure what until I started writing the book.

Boy did CJ have some surprises for me. Unlike Finn and Maggie, she wasn’t an alpha and she never wanted to be an alpha. She was happy in her role as friend and confidante. What she did have, however, was a very fractured relationship with her father. So fractured, in fact, that she had left home in Montana as soon as she was old enough and had never looked back. When her father shows up in her shop, without warning and demanding she return home to fulfill her duty, things start happening fast.

Hunter’s Home shows you can go home again — and deal with past history. It might not be a happily ever after for all of those involved. That’s especially true when some of those are determined to see you either bend to their will or die. But the time will come when you can no longer run and when you have to take control. In doing just that, CJ almost loses everything before not only surviving but taking her life back from those who had cost her so much in the past. This book isn’t about triumph through power but through love and determination and wits.

I haven’t written in that world for a while now but it is once again calling to me. Finn and company still have stories to tell. The problem comes in finding the time to write them. Currently, the plan is to do just that and have a new book out toward the end of the year. I’m not sure of the title yet, but I know at least one of the lead characters. If it all pans out the way I think it will, this will be the biggest plot roller coaster of the series yet.

Anyway, that’s how this series got started. I’ll discuss my longest running series, Nocturnal Lives, next time.

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