What I did last summer, fall, winter, spring…

June 26, 2015 · 20 Comments

A lot of you have been asking what I’ve been working on, lately, so it’s probably past time that I checked in. For more than a year, now–actually close to two–I’ve been working on a new series, supernatural thrillers. And I don’t mind telling you, it’s been kicking my butt. Which is both wonderful and frustrating because I’m learning and growing as a writer. But it’s been hard, hard work. Paranormal romances come easily to me–I’ve written 19 of them! Thrillers are an entirely different animal. Not only am I having to understand the intricacies of a new genre, but I’ve discovered that the way I wrote before doesn’t work as well for thrillers. My entire approach to writing has been turned on its head. The wonderful thing is, I am learning, and growing, and I’m seeing that growth in the writing. But it’s taking time.

I just finished the first book in the series for the third time. And I’m not talking about drafts and revisions. Pretty much the only pieces of the original story that remain are the setting (a modern day castle ruin in Argyll, Scotland), and the supernatural elements (which I still absolutely love). I wrote the book the first time and knew I hadn’t nailed it, not at all. The protagonist was all wrong, definitely not the right person for the job. So I fired her and found the perfect heroine. I adore her. The story changed drastically with a new protagonist, but when it was finished, I still wasn’t satisfied. I realized the pacing was off because I hadn’t gotten the thriller elements right.

Fortunately, I’m nothing if not stubborn. I never give up. Ever. But it was clear to me that I needed a completely different approach to the book. I decided, instead, to take a different approach to the writing.

I’ve always been a bit of a plotter. Not too in-depth, mind you. The characters still need plenty of room to take the story and run with it, and mine always have. But I usually spend about three months working out the basic plot structure of a book before I start writing. Kind of like planning a vacation by saying, “I’m going to travel from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, to Denver, to Dallas, and back, and do it in ten days.” And that’s about it. Maybe get some ideas for what you want to do in those places, but no reservations or commitments.

There are certainly writers who do far more plotting ahead of time. And I’d thought a thriller would certainly require that–setting up all the twists and turns. Instead, I decided to try going the other way and writing the second book in the series by the seat of my pants. No pre-planning at all. I typed ‘Chapter 1’, closed my eyes, shut down my thinking mind, and typed what came to me. I was completely startled to find my fingers flying across the keyboard, the words coming, not from my engineering brain, but straight from my muse, my imagination. I figured the book was the second in the series with the same protagonist (it was!), but I didn’t even know where it was going to be set. Turns out, it was Pompeii. I have never had a writing experience anything like that, the story unfolding beneath my fingertips. It was like riding in the backseat with no hands on the wheel. Over and over I was startled and delighted by the things that happened, things I never saw coming.

It turns out that my imagination is a far more creative plotter than my engineering brain. <head desk> And it only took me twenty-one books to figure that out. Another thing I realized was that since I was essentially channeling the story directly from my subconscious, I had to keep that channel open, which meant writing every day. I took a day off, early on, and had trouble getting going again. This took place last December and I still wrote every single day, even if only an hour in the morning before everyone else got up (over the holidays). I first-drafted that book in 20 days.

After that eye-opening experience, I had a much better idea of what I needed to do with the first book, though writing a book ‘fresh’ that you’ve already written twice isn’t easy. Still, I took a deep breath, handed the reins over to my muse, closed my eyes, and let her lead me on another wild ride. And she did. Not only is the story a far better one than before, but the characters came roaring to life in a way they hadn’t before. We (my muse and I) finished the book last Sunday, June 21st, the summer solstice, which I find fitting.

Now I’m heading back to revise the second book. I have complete faith that my muse knew what she was doing when she wrote all those lovely twists and turns, but she didn’t tidy everything up in the end, and it’s time for the engineering brain to get in there, sort everything out, and tie everything together. As I learn to trust my muse more, and as she and my engineering brain learn to work together better on the front end, perhaps my first drafts will be cleaner in the future. Hard to say. But I’ve decided that I’m going to write the third book in the series before sending any of these to my agent, because I may learn something else about this new writing process, or the characters, or the series, that I’ll need to work back into the first two.

I’m absolutely in love with this series. The stories fascinate me, I adore the characters, and despite the occasional head-banging, writing them is turning out to be an incredible experience. I can’t wait to share them with you!

OfBloodandPassion_200x300My thrillers aren’t the only books I’ve been working on. Between the second version of book 1 and the first drafting of book 2, I wrote the final book in my Vamp City trilogy. Quinn and Arturo’s story finally comes to it’s climactic end in Of Blood and Passion which will be out July 14th! Once these first three thrillers are off to my agent, I’ll have to decide what I’m going to work on next. I’m open to suggestions!

 

 

20 thoughts on “What I did last summer, fall, winter, spring…

  1. Mel Thomas

    I’m not sure I’ve ever read a supernatural thriller, but I’ll certainly give your new series a try once it’s out. Also, congrats on finishing the Vamp City trilogy! I look forward to reading Of Blood and Passion. It’s been awhile since I’ve read the first two books in the series so it seems like a good time for a re-read. 🙂

    Since you’re open to suggestions, I’m in desperate need of a Feral Warriors spin-off. With all of the great characters that were introduced toward the end of the series, seeing them in a spin-off would be beyond awesome.

    Reply
  2. Susan Pascher

    While, of course, I’d love to see more Feral Warrior books, I would also love to see more Jewels in Time books! The first two books were great but they left many things open and hanging, needing more fleshing out or, at least, finality.

    Reply
  3. Jessica Zinder

    I want more Feral Warrior books maybe an anthology of short Feral Warrior stories or Novellas.

    Reply
  4. Gail

    More Feral Warriors please. I would love to read Viper’s story and the characters that were introduced later in the series.

    Reply
  5. Rebecca

    I would love to see more jewels of time books. I have to admit I fell in love with the characters of your last book in that series. It would be so awesome to see who else Hegerty has helped. There are so many other jewels out there that can bring people together. Time travel, Scottish romances are my favorite. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Chick

    Hello Mrs. Palmer I love your books they are refreshing and captivating. I was wonder if you thought of continuing the feral warriors. I know you said you are going to write more and that you were planning on writing about all of the feral warriors including the 17. please continue them I love your books. please let me know if you start them up again thank you and have a great day.

    Reply
  7. Kisha

    Hi, I’m in love with the Feral Warriors books and I’m starving for more. Wondering about Vypher and Grizzly’s stories are killing me. The last book left thing open to sooo many possibilities that its killing not knowing if anything is coming next. It’s an amazing and addicting series, please don’t let it die out just yet.

    Reply
  8. -blessed holy socks, the non-perishable zealot

    Why else does a moth fly from the night than to a bold, attractive candle Light? Don’t let His extravagant brilliance be extinguished, girl. You’re creative, yes? Then fly-away with U.S to the antidote. . .

    CAUTION: our 24-wildchild-flame-thrower-blogasms R both a total wasteOtime AND a total wealth of bottomless inferences, nuanced sophistication, and synonymous metaphors which shall creep stealthily across thy brain like the vivid, brazen dawn. And, frankly, I wouldn’t be too concerned about what the bionic, bloated, bigoted world thot about me, dear; I’d be much more worried about what JESUS shall say at the General Judgement.

    Meet this ex-mortal Upstairs, dear, for the most extra guhroovy, pleasure-beyond-measure, party-hardy-reality-show-addiction 24/7 you DO NOT wanna miss, where the Son never goes down from a VitSee-ing, ultra-passionate-YOUTHwitheTRUTH in which you’ll find nonillionsXnonillionsXnonillions… of deluxe-HTTP [pi] opportunities for enveloping, engulfing excitement; where you’ll looove an endless eternity of aplomBOMBs falling ALL over thy incredible, indelible cranium, as you’ll have an XtraXcitinXpose with an IQ much higher than K2…

    Here’s what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: ‘the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you’ -the Infant Jesus of Prague

    Go git’m, girl. You’re incredible.

    Reply
  9. carron hicks

    Please continue with your F. Worriors series. I have read every book at least 3 times each. But on your last one you left too many questions unanswered. I want Vipers,Griss,Stromes story. This series is way too good not to continue it.

    Reply
  10. Destiny

    Please more feral warriors along with the characters you introduced especially Strome and Vivian… I am in love with the series and will keep buying them as the come!

    Reply
  11. Tori

    I think all of your fans want more Feral Warriors. I only discovered the series last week but have now read all of them. Two weeks to read the entire series and that during a time when a new League series AND Pay/ Changeling
    book released. You don’t know me but I tend to obsess about books. It is a really big deal I wasn’t reading the new books the minute they downloaded on Kindle.

    We all want more feral warriors. PLEASE?!?!

    Reply
  12. Britny

    I really hope your going to write more feral warriors books! It seems alot of people are asking for them and its been a year since you posted this. One thing i dont like is having to wait more than a year for a new book to be released. I read ALOT as in a book a day depending on how long they are so if a book comes out in say Jan 2016 and a new one isnt out by Dec 2017 i tend to forget to keep checking for them an assume the series is done. I really do hope you will write more feral warriors books and hopefully be more consistent with timing.

    Reply
  13. Amy Lafferty

    Your website hasn’t been updated since 2016 are you still writing??? Will we see more feral warriors??? Vhyper hasn’t gotten his story and all the new warriors need introductions..what’s going on??? When is the next book due and what is it???

    Reply

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