Okay, years ago when Gabriel’s Ghost first exploded out of my brain (I was living in Coral Springs, FL, at the time and can very distinctly remember waking at 5 am because Sully Would Not Let Me Sleep!)…anyway, when Gabriel’s exploded and was finished, I’d always thought I’d do Ren’s story. For those of you who’ve read my 2006 RITA-winning novel (shameless plug, but hey, if I don’t, who will?), you’ll remember Ren as the 6’7” blue-skinned sexy-as-hell young monk-turned-mercenary. Long-time friend to the hero, Gabriel Ross Sullivan. New friend and confident to the heroine, Chaz Bergren.
It’s not Ren’s story I’m writing. It’s Philip’s.
Huh? You all go.
Let me backtrack and explain something here. About a month ago, The Down Home Zombie Blues was released by Bantam. So hopefully you all are buying that book now, and are reading it and are anxious to talk about Jorie and Theo. But understand, Jorie and Theo, to me, are last year’s news. In authorland, we live in a time warp, one set by our publishers who deem we produce books in one year and then have them appear in the next. So while you’re just now devouring Jorie and Theo and their Men In Black Meets CSI:Miami story, I’m just finishing another book in my contract with Bantam. And this book—Shades of Dark—was the sequel to Gabriel’s Ghost. But it wasn’t Philip’s story. Not yet.
But Philip—who had a minor part in Gabriel’s—as Chaz’s ex-husband and a bit of a nemesis to Sully, appears in Shades of Dark a lot more. And in so doing, demanded his own story.
And who am I to argue with an admiral? Moreover, who am I to argue with an admiral who so unexpectedly seduced me with his heroism and his charm?
You all are going, but…but…we want to talk about Theo and Jorie! Kip and the zombies! Aunt Tootie!
I know. But my heart belongs to Philip. And all along, I thought it would be Ren. It’s not. It’s Philip.
But if you want to talk about Theo, my homicide cop hero in Zombie Blues, then I can at least tell you he’s a bit like Philip. They’re both “good boy” heroes . I know the trend has long been for bad boys. Alpha males. I like alphas. I’ve been accused of being an alpha female (like there’s something wrong with that?). But Theo and Philip are both betas, or maybe even gammas. (Though I’m not really all that hip on those kinds of pigeon-holes.) Zombies’ Theo is a nice guy in all meanings of the word. Hard-working, loyal, patriotic, loves his elderly aunt and uncle, keeps his nose clean and has recently has his heart trashed. He doesn’t swagger (well, any more than the average cop with a Glock on his hip), doesn’t do stupid shhhhhtuff in relation to the women in his life. He doesn’t view falling in love as a disease or life-sentence in prison.
Philip—even though he’s Chaz’s ex and yeah, I know a number of you didn’t like him because of that—is pretty much the same way. He’s honorable, loyal and capable of love. Maybe a bit more afraid of it than Theo is, but he wants it. Yeah, he does.
He just didn’t, at age forty-five, think he was going to find it with his dead best-friend’s daughter. Who’s twenty-nine.
But that’s really all I can say about that at this point, because the book that’s exploding out of me in the same way Gabriel’s Ghost did several years ago, is only 21,000 words in (think: five chapters) and not even yet sold. Not even yet seen by my agent.
But I had to write it because Philip would not shut up.
So watch for Shades of Dark in July 2008 from me and Bantam. You’ll see Philip in there, eventually. It’s still Chaz’s and Sully’s story, and a very intense one at that. I was actually pretty shocked at what happens to Sully. And what Chaz has to face. But hey, I only type the words as they’re told to me.
Philip does come into the story mid-point on, and a lot of things I’d wondered about him in Gabriel’s are suddenly answered. Not all nicely, either. But it opened a dialogue between Philip and me…and from that Hope’s Folly (working title) was born.
So for those of you waiting for Ren’s story, sorry. Not this year. But he has time, you know. Stolorths have longer life spans. He’s only, what, about twenty-one years old in our terms? He has time. Philip’s forty-five and very willing to accept that time is running out, and that love is not for him, ever.
RITA-award winning Science Fiction Romance