The Story Behind PRIMAL

I had just completed Travada in the late summer of 2018. I gave the new novel to my brother, who is also my biggest fan, and waited for his review and critique. He loved Travada and we discussed that story at length, quite a few times actually.

One of the things he told me was that he really liked the new race of people in the story. He was totally intrigued by them. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could expand the epic with these people as the focus of their own book? That thought bumped around in my mind for several days. But I didn’t really want the story to take place in the setting that Travada had. I needed a totally new setting, with this new race being front and center, something a lot closer to home.

Sometimes a new book, a new story, comes along out of nowhere and for no other reason that the simplest of ideas—in this case, it was a name—Osiris. It was the name of a new co-worker I’d recently met and I was deeply intrigued by its uniqueness. “Who would name their son Osiris?”

In ancient Egyptian lore, Osiris was “the god of the dead”, but, in further digging, “god of the dead” really wasn’t telling the whole story. He was more the god of “resurrection”, the restorer of life, among other things. He was worshiped as the god who flooded the Nile each year and brought life-giving waters to the crops, and thus everyone living in Egypt.

In any event, Primal began to take shape with the main character of the story being named “Osiris” and the idea of ‘what would happen if a handful of Kit showed up on Earth?’ Well, as stories take shape things change as they often do, and Osiris actually became something much closer to Egyptian lore.

I began writing Primal in October of 2018 and through the holidays had completed the first draft by the end of December. I placed the story in an area of Montana where I have some friends who absolutely love the area for more reasons than they can count. It’s not just home to them, but like their native land, so to speak. The area is deeply rich in Native heritage, which got me thinking—just how far back does “native” really go? That idea really got me thinking and the rest is, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Again, as is typical, Primal’s story surprised me by taking a turn I was not expecting. Again, I just let the people in the story tell it themselves. I kind of sort of have a vague idea about who people are when I start writing, but that can change as the story progresses. Primal’s story really didn’t change, I mean the people didn’t, all that much.

Primal gives us more than what the title of the book simply implies; Primal delivers a rather ancient backstory that gets revealed and we see some other astonishing revelations as well. At first I was a little reticent about what had been revealed, but then, I thought, why not? It was a great story that built-out the Awakened milieu even more.

What I liked most about the themes playing out within the story of Primal was that of redemption. Although Primal spins up some really ugly situations and rather nasty villains, not everything is as it seems within the story. I am at heart a sucker for a really great HEA, and where evil is sometimes redeemed. Primal lets us remember that forgiveness can be much more powerful than the sins we committed.

Another aspect of Primal that I absolutely loved was the interplay between Jasmine and Sky and the rest of the Native American tribe. Often when I am writing stories, I try to explore, however accurate or inaccurate I may be, the dynamic between different groups of people. A group of people can be as tiny as just two or a small family, or as in this case, a fairly large tribe. Some of my depictions are possibly inaccurate—that’s okay, because this is the impression I have from life looking at others from the outside. This happens to all of us. People “see” us as something we’re not. Someone in the media paints us with a skewed brush because of one bad player and suddenly the whole world thinks our social group is somehow malevolent. It is difficult to change one’s public perception once a bad player in the media has it in for you. This happens in political circles all the time, unfortunately.

All in all, Primal has emerged one of my favorite stories—I know, they are all my favorite stories—simply because of the interaction of the people within it and the histories that were interwoven into the current events of the day.

I’m not done with Osiris and his brother Set, by the way. Harley Austin doesn’t bring people to life just to toss them away. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this naughty Titan pair later in the series. Until then …

All the best.

~ Harley

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