Today’s guest on the blog is Crimson Romance-backed scribe, Jillian David. An author of over a dozen romances, Jillian is also a physician who has a loving hubby, adorable cats, and an addiction to hiking. Yet, she’s found time to bang out a slew of naughty novels, with genres ranging from paranormal to cowboy.
Read on as she tells us the hilarious tale of how she came up with her book series’ ideas!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Eliza! I’m happy to share about a topic that’s been on my mind lately: generating book ideas.
When we writers start a new book or series, we sit at our desks (real or virtual), proverbial pen in hand, stare at the blank page, and say to ourselves “Now what?”
Well…if I were a proper writer, then I’d do as the writing workshops recommend and ‘pick a trope’. Tropes are those tried-and-true story constructs, like secret baby or marrying the boss or friends to lovers.
If I were a truly proper writer, I’d do what the workshops recommend and ‘pick a popular paranormal type’ like shifters or vampires.
Then I’d select the appropriate archetype for my hero and build his character around it: the alpha male, the bad boy, or the best friend. And the heroine? She’d fit into a neat little box like the seductress, the innocent, or the amazon.
So…what happened when my creative process got started?
You guessed it. I did exactly none of these things when creating my first paranormal romance series, Hell To Pay. (Might not have done these things on the second series, Hell’s Valley, either, come it think of it.)
Here’s a window to how the idea generation went down:
Me, five years ago, ruminating over the random phrase ‘to sell your soul’: Huh. Hey, that’s cool. What if someone could actually sell their soul to the devil? What would happen? Would it be a real contract? How could they get out of it?
Thus, my series’ paranormal “trope” was born.
Then, a few days later, I showed up to work at the hospital three minutes before all hell broke loose in the OB department:
Wonder what would happen if I really did have the power to predict when bad things were about to happen? What if a doctor could tell when their patients were about to get super sick? How cool would that be? Uh oh. What if they had that power to predict bad things happening but the outcome didn’t change? Wow, that’s horrible.
Thus, my heroine was created.
The next day:
What if a very traditional and calm/quiet dude got stuck in that contract to sell his soul to the devil? Sure, he’s strong because of the contract, but he wants none of the power, none of the immortality, and his heart is so good that he will do anything to avoid putting mortals in danger. He’s not exactly alpha or beta, and his character “type” doesn’t fit into any standard box.
Yup. You guessed it.
That guy became my first hero.
That book grew into the full Hell to Pay series. The collection’s characters, who didn’t fit in a neat archetype box, had unconventional, non-tropey stories to be told. At the end of that series, I realized there was a link to something else that also didn’t fit in a genre: Hell’s Valley, a paranormal western romance series…
The one thing I know for certain about writing romance: those ideas can hit us out of the blue, and if we run with the ideas, really fun (and sometimes unconventional) stories will blossom!
Readers, here’s more about Jillian’s book series!
Hell To Pay – Forced to kill by their diabolical demon boss, the immortal Indebted are doomed to a forever looming desperately before them. Their only chance at salvation is to find the right mate and be freed from this eternal servitude. But can love truly conquer the otherworld? The answer awaits in this high-stakes paranormal romance series.
Book #1: Immortal Flame
Book #2: Relentless Flame
Book #3: Flame Unleashed
Novella #0.5: Flame’s Dawn
Hell’s Valley – Psychic ranchers, frigid Wyoming winter, steamy nights, and a rising force of evil bent on destruction of the entire valley… and the world.
Book #1: Legacy of Lies
Book #2: Legacy Lost
Books #3/#4: TBA – stay tuned at my website/newsletter!