What I love most about writing fiction novels is the organic development of the characters, their interactions, and the story.
Each story is always inspired by something specific in my life or imagination. The scene forms in my head and I start writing. And then it just flows naturally from there as if the story has a life of its own. I have a general sense of where things are headed, what the characters are like, their personalities, etc., but I’m always surprised along the way by how the story unfolds as I write it. I love the unpredictability of the process. I feel like I’m just a narrator in a movie who tells a story that’s burning to be told by characters who are worth knowing. At the same time, I’m also like an invested movie watcher who’s rooting for her favorite characters and who just wants to find out how things end.
The world around the characters evolves organically as well. I am influenced by many things. First, my personal interests in history, myths, religion, science, science fiction, paranormal and fantasy factor into what I write. Second, I like to draw from my own experiences given my multi-cultural upbringing, interracial family unit, and “citizen of the world” mentality, having lived, studied or worked on all seven continents except Antarctica. These influences include the Chinese ethos for romance and legendary sagas and heroes, inspiration from Japanese manga and anime, contemporary Korean dramas, British and American blockbusters, Indian, Greek, Roman, Scandinavian, Celtic, Medieval, etc. legends, lore, myths and religions. The point is, I’m not just interested in one, I’m fascinated by all. I want to write about it all.
So in the back of my mind, all of these thoughts and ideas and influences are working together, using me as a conduit to give them expression. Thus, in the Pure/ Dark series, the reader will experience modern and ancient worlds, many different cultures, elements of both paranormal and fantasy, a complex world in which nothing is strictly black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. Nor is it a static world where good is always good and bad is always bad. Because real life isn’t like that; history is all a matter of perspective.
In this sense, the Pure/ Dark series creates a world that is very unique, very different.
OK, so why specifically the Pure and Dark Ones? Where did they come from?
The inspiration actually originated from an unlikely source: one of my pet peeves. In the Romance genre (and I read everything romance, from historical to fantasy to contemporary to paranormal), if you want to be a successful novelist who gets picked up by publishing houses, you have to stick to a pretty strict formula so that you fit your work for their target audience. This formula requires a faithful, virginal or equivalent (definitely no more than a few lovers) heroine, while the hero can sleep around as much as he likes. The “more experience” the better.
Why is that? So he can have more practice and be an expert lover before he meets The One? So he can demonstrate his virility and sexual prowess? Because everyone loves a bad boy or alpha male and having lots of sex is a prerequisite? I find it annoying and overdone. Let’s at least remove the double standard if we’re going to create such an alpha. Plus, I don’t think a man has to be a sex addict and hump anything that moves to be macho.
So I created the Pure Ones to even the playing field. Everyone is hyper sexually aware and many of the characters adventurously toe the line. But they have to exert good judgment and self-control. Whereas the Dark Ones, the vampires, are the opposite. They can indulge in all things carnal and sinful as much as they want; their challenge is finding meaning, something real and true, amongst all the excess. In addition, I created matriarchal races in both the Pure and Dark Ones, because, come on, women are more suited to rule than men anyway. 🙂
I’m on book 5 now in the Pure/Dark series, tentatively titled Pure Rapture. For the readers who will follow me through the journey, they will finally get a very good look at some of the events that started it all—this epic struggle between Pure and Dark Ones. As a bonus, the Prologue and Epilogue, which is always narrated by one of the key characters in the series (though never the main character in the story being told), will be narrated by (one of) the bad guys!
I think the Pure/Dark series has a very long runway, as long as there are readers out there who enjoy it. Just when you think something is solved or resolved, two other loose ends or questions appear. I can go many different directions with this series—it combines multicultural, historical and contemporary, fantasy and paranormal, maybe even a little science fiction…there is no limit. So, I expect to be building this world out and telling tales of True Love for many years to come!