So, why did I write RED?
When I first started thinking of this article I wondered how I would ever pick which book to talk about. A lot of my ideas come from dreams. I keep a dream journal just in case I ever need some good material. Ha. Ha. Seriously, I had a hard time narrowing it down. Finally, I decided to talk about Red, the first book in my Lilith Mercury series.
I chose Red not only because it was the first novel I’d ever written, but because I put an awful lot of myself into it. I wrote Red in response to many things and each character means something different to me. I’ll start with Lilith.
Lilith (as some of you may have already heard me say) is my dark side. I have always had a love of comic books. I invented Lilith during study hall when I was in the 8th grade. I sketched her picture and knew her name the instant she was finished. Lilith: Werewolf Hunter. I came up with the last name and tweaked the outfit years later. I say she is my dark side, because she is. She says the things that I think, but am too polite to say. (Most of the time.) She does the things that I would, if I could get away with them. And like all girls who sketch their own superhero, she started out looking like me and I never changed that. However, she is (despite popular myth) the only female character deliberately modeled after myself. I figured that would be the easiest way to keep writing her story. Shouldn’t we know ourselves better than anyone else? I invented Lilith in response to a need to kick ass.
Marco, the alpha werewolf in the series, was supposed to be the bad guy. However, the instant he walked onto the page I fell in love with him and that was no longer possible. He is everything I think a hero should be. (Though he’s not the only man in Lilith’s life.) Strong, kind, and always compassionate. BUT, he knows when it’s time for action and doesn’t back down from a fight. I wrote Marco in response to all the wimpy alphas I’d read over the years. Never again. Ha. Ha.
And since this post can’t include everyone in the Lilith universe, I’ll finish the introduction of characters with Dracula, who makes his appearance in book three. I have dreamed of him all my life. Literally. Since I can first remember writing down some of my dreams, I remember this tall, dark, handsome figure. Maybe it was a glimpse of my destiny, since he would one day be a part of my stories. I’ve always known what he would look like, how he would act, and the smell of his cologne. Seeing him finally walk onto the page felt familiar and I loved it.
As for the rest of the story, I let my imagination run wild. I wanted to write my own werewolf mythology. I wanted to tell where the first vampire came from, according to me. So, I did. These characters were too special to me to just put them in any old world. They needed their own unique universe. I think this clip from Red gives a hint of what’s to come well enough without me breaking it all down. I don’t want to give too much away.
“Lycanthropy was created during the only world war the planet Terra has ever known. It’s a man-made disease, born of nightmares. It was engineered as a biological weapon by Lionel Ferdinand, a scientist with radical ideas of what should be done with individuals who disagreed with his own political views. The idea was that people contaminated with the disease would transform and annihilate everyone else. Not everyone is capable of contracting lycanthropy, however. Just as some people have immunity to certain diseases they have been immunized against, others have a natural resistance. It was from these people that a vaccine was developed. Many hoped it would be ‘the cure’ for what was at the time known as the animal virus.
Unfortunately, such was not the case. The virus ran rampant. The only person rumored to have developed a successful vaccine was Ferdinand himself, who had at this point already been killed, slaughtered by a monster of his own making. Only pieces of his research were ever found. The complete formula, it would appear, was in his head. And most unfortunately, that had been lopped off by a werewolf."
I have always loved mythology and anything macabre. Vampires, werewolves, you name it and I’ve probably read something about it. I get asked often what books I like to read. I don’t read anything (not for years now) in the same genre I write because I don’t want to be influenced. I want my ideas (however crazy) to be my own. If they sound like someone else’s, that just goes to show that great minds think alike. Ha. Ha.
So, I wrote Red and started the Lilith Mercury series because these characters wouldn’t stop talking to me. They nagged me day and night until I finished the first two books straight through in three months and submitted the first. I’ve always said that I write what I like and I hoped that since I enjoyed the story so much, other people might feel the same. Their story needed to be told, and as I’ve often said about Dracula, “The world would be worse off for having missed this vision.”
By the way, if you like the Lilith series, there are hints of her world carried over into my other stories. For example, she makes an appearance in Bitten, though just briefly. I wanted my world to meld seamlessly with the real so much that it began to seem possible.