Blogwithbite.com would like to welcome Monica Burns to the blog. Monica is the talented mind behind the Sicari Series from Berkley Sensation, one of the hottest Paranormal Romances that I've read.
Join us in giving a warm welcome to Monica Burns.
When I first started to write my Sicari series in June of 2005, I started out with the snippet of a story—five pages actually. It was a scene between a Roman general and his wife. It was a sensual, steamy read, and it didn’t even come close to being a paranormal. It was a historical. And not just a normal historical, but an ancient Roman historical. In brief. NO SELL.
But I held onto that snippet because I loved it. I loved the chemistry the couple had, and I didn’t want to give them up. When I first started to develop the Order of the Sicari, it started out as something completely different than what it became. The Sicari actually started out as a slave race from Atlantis who were responsible for the sinking of that ancient city. My agent nixed it and I started from scratch again.
The Sicari arose from the ashes of that doomed proposal, and from there Assassin’s Honor was developed. When I contracted with Berkley for the series, I’d not even completed Assassin’s Honor, and I had a couple of problems. A) This was my first paranormal series B) I didn’t know where the series was going and C) I had a deadline of five months for the first book.
I’d only had one other deadline before, but that was for a historical novella. Writing isn’t easy, but it’s easier to write a story in a world you’re comfortable with (Victorian era) as opposed to a paranormal/urban fantasy that you’re still learning about. As a pantser (a writer who doesn’t plot out the story, we just write it), I had to navigate some rocky waters in the series. When I finished the Assassin’s Honor, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for the next book. I knew I wanted to tell Lysander and Phae’s story, but I didn’t have a clue as to WHAT their story was. Worse, I had less than two months to develop a proposal and hope that my editor would accept it. Then I remembered my Roman General and his wife. BAM! It was a lightning strike, and I realized I had my background for the Sicari Order staring me right in the face.
But how to tie the past and the present together? I’m a firm believer in past lives, and I thought using the premise of past lives was a good way to tie Lysander and Phae’s story directly to my ancient Roman couple. I’d always had a vision about the Roman general and how he’d suffered a terrible injury to his face. Subconsciously, I’d made Lysander scarred in Assassin’s Honor just like my Roman general, and it still amazes me that I made that connection without planning it. Well, at least not consciously planning it.
That’s what I love about writing and being a pantser. A lot of times, I’ll be working on a story, and I’ll write a scene that has me going WOW, how did I know way back on page 65 that I was going to need this character to be/do/say this on page 295? It’s what I love the most about writing. I don’t plan things so much as they just happen. I get these little moments of revelation that my subconscious has been guiding me all along, I just didn’t know it. It’s actually a lot like being a reader and having one of those OMG moments when something unexpected happens!
I believe in things happening for a reason (go figure since I believe in past lives and destiny LOL). For Lysander and Phae, I think my subconscious had their story all planned out when I first wrote that brief snippet five years ago this past June. Now that the world is established, I’m finding new facets of the world and its inhabitants. I love my Sicari, and I love how each story evolves into something bigger than I expected. For example, I’m currently working on Cleo and Dante’s story. In the third book, I’m exploring the Sicari Lords and who they are and how they fit in this world.
So exactly what am I saying in this rambling post? Just this. Some stories just happen. They’re not plotted out, they just write themselves. For the most part, Assassin’s Heart wrote itself. I only had trouble toward the end pulling all the pieces together. It was a difficult book to write and yet an easy one to get on the page. While the book is NOT my baby, it’s got a small piece of my heart, and I’m hoping it will grab a small piece of readers’ hearts as well.
How many books have you read that have captured your heart and stuck with you? What was it about the book you read that rang true for you?