Monthly Archives :

May 2016

The Story Behind: LEGACY

Legacy Book SmallNow that the Awakened Series has indeed taken flight, I am very encouraged that readers have been writing me asking for more. Although I have been writing my entire life, I have kept my stories fairly tame. Awakened allowed me to step outside of my own boundaries by writing a steamy romance that was well received by male and female readers alike.

Within Dominion, I spread my wings a bit more and ran with some new themes and even some new “ships” between the people in the story that I felt naturally drawn to and subsequently developed. I was heartened and deeply moved to hear that readers were staying up all night reading Dominion, utterly riveted to the story. Still, within Dominion, I admittedly restrained myself in not opening up more detail about some of the relationships that occurred within the story. I just didn’t think readers would be interested in them.

As the story of Legacy began to take shape, something happened within the plot that never, ever occurred to me while writing book one, or even book two for that matter. Since this isn’t a spoiler, suffice to say that Legacy represents, for me anyway, a no-holds-barred, plunge into the Awakened milieu that I honestly hadn’t planned on taking.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Harley Austin is a relationship junkie. My propensity to “ship” different people in the story in ways that are—a little unexpected—continues within Legacy. Readers have both praised and hated me for it. Still, it makes me feel good to know that readers are interested enough in the people within the story to send me accolades and hate mail.

Although the Awakened series sets up and delivers powerful romance within a very different kind of story, I have never really wanted to bill the series as “romance”. I did not want to pigeonhole the story as only appealing to this or that type or brand of audience. It is simply a story—to be taken at face value.

Anything can happen.

Don’t be surprised when it does.

Finally, I am going to remind readers that Awakened is a series, an epic story told over the course of many books; how many books at this point is anyone’s guess. As such, we will see people suddenly show up within the story that we know very little about. We learn more about them as the story progresses.

Also, there will be things that happen within a book that will go unresolved—and indeed will remain unresolved perhaps until the very end.

I hate authors who spin up a plot and then deliberately end the book in a kind of cliffhanger in order to get you to buy the next book in the series. I don’t do that; not on purpose anyway. But as the Awakened story heats up, trust me, there are going to be loose ends that cannot be resolved within a single book. Nor do I intend to resolve them in one neat, tidy little package.

For the record, the Awakened books write themselves. I’m often just as much in the dark as you are about what’s going to happen next. Legacy ended in a way I personally was not expecting. I, as much as you, am waiting to see what develops as this epic story continues to unfold.

Thank you for spending your precious time reading my stories.

~ Harley

The Story Behind: DOMINION

Dominion Book SmallAwakened, the first book in this series, was a story some five years in the writing. Not that it took me that long to write it, but one gets sidetracked with other projects, work, family and everything else in between. The Awakened story was like a slowly simmering meal in the crockpot as I added different aspects to the milieu over a long period of time and the fullness of the backstory began to take shape.

Awakened actually underwent a couple of rewrites. A few of the beta readers complained that the ramp-up was a bit too slow. Perhaps it is, but the story overall got excellent reviews from the beta team.

By contrast, the story you now hold in your hands came together in under four months as I wrote in my spare time. One of the beta readers and also my editor, stayed up all night reading the initial draft, utterly riveted to the story.

I began writing the book with the idea of telling the entire story from a first person perspective as other successful authors have done. But half way through the book I junked the first-person perspective as way too limiting for my writing style and had to rewrite the entire first half of the book again. This first-person viewpoint made an excellent prelude however. So that at least that part of the original story survived.

Dominion has been a surprise for me in a number of different ways. The story gave me an opportunity to really spread my wings as an author and take a few chances that I did not know if readers would wholly appreciate. I was pleasantly surprised by the response. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Dominion would also become a cornerstone within the series’ milieu.

Because Dominion was, I felt, a much stronger story and book, I wish now it had been written first instead of Awakened. Indeed I was tempted to swap the two books and rename the series Dominion. However, that didn’t happen.

Altogether, I am very pleased with the way Awakened has been received and I know that if you liked the story that Awakened began, Dominion will be a delight for you to immerse yourself into as well.

Thank you for spending your precious time reading my stories.

~ Harley

The Story Behind: AWAKENED

Awakened Book SmallWhen I began writing what would become the milieu behind Awakened about seven years ago, it was a simple short story intended for my wife—a sweet romance as told by me—written from my own masculine perspective. Of course, I had read a few of her romance novels, but I’d found most of them rather dry and unappealing—from a male perspective.

I found the idea of a “romance mystery” very intriguing, but clearly, these novels were written only for a female audience. Why hadn’t someone written something like this for a much wider audience?

I set out to produce a steamy romance while keeping the story elegant, riveting and deeply compelling. It was to be a romance that would be something I myself would actually want to read; a story that would appeal to more than just the so-called “romance crowd”; a book that anyone, especially men who’d never be caught dead venturing into the romance genre, would want to read.

It should be no secret that men and women view love and romance very differently. That does not mean that the female view of romance is any more correct or superior than the male view. It just means that they are different. What would happen if a story could be blended to appeal to both sexes?

While writing Awakened, I encountered what seemed to be a prejudice among other (usually female) authors that men cannot write romance. I found the assertions and prejudices of these other so-called authors patently ridiculous.

It seems the bestseller crowd attempts to write to the broadest possible “target market” and their work is often heavily edited so as not to offend the delicate, dare I say fickle, sensibilities of whatever market segment they want the most readership from.

I set out to do the exact opposite.

With some bold advice from a very successful author and junking the advice from all of the so-called publishing “experts”, I did something Earthshattering: I wrote what I wanted to write, in the way I wanted to write it, and I didn’t care who I offended in the process.

In doing so, I believe I have broken almost every so-called rule there was to break in brining Awakened to market.

In the end, I learned something very valuable as an author, storyteller and writer, and it was simply this: Always trust your instincts and write what you feel—not what you think some market segment wants. It is the only way to stay true to yourself.

Awakened boldly sets out to create what I hope becomes a new and powerful genre of story, a deep mystery, intrigue, romance that attracts both male and female audiences alike. The story, perhaps experimentally, attempts to strike a balance between what both men and women would find interesting and appealing when reading a sincerely romantic novel with a heavy dose of the unexpected.

I hope you enjoy reading Awakened and the rest of the series that follows.

~ Harley