Years ago, I began wondering what would happen if my imagined friends were real. What would my reaction be if, say, Joshua, or Ronan, or (gulp) Trey, were to suddenly appear one night on my doorstep? Maybe it was the unexpected and fierce affection I’ve developed as I watched my characters grow and evolve that made me begin to wish for them. As time went on, a new character arose – Summer Skye Renault. I pictured her then as I do now – a young woman of stunning beauty, with hair of sunshine gold, and eyes as blue as the sky. I made her a novelist, her genre vampire romance. I’m not the first author to write about an author – I’ve seen several others do the same thing, so it seemed like a logical way to explore my inner fears.
I developed the woman, gave her life in my mind, and sent her in search of mysteries. An aged mansion, reputed to be haunted, became the center of my plot, and I imagined the home’s inhospitable nature caused, in actuality, by a trapped vampire trying to get someone’s attention. I then imagined the woman learning the truth – her imagined friends were real and she’s been dreaming of and writing about a real vampire! She releases the confined man, they fall in love, and that, pretty much, would have been it. I would call the story Midnight Skye, and make her novels romances about one eternal soul. I got busy with the stories I already had in work, but my bedtime imaginings often returned me to the frightened young woman trapped in an inhospitable mansion.
As I completed work on Secrets & Promises, I contemplated the next step Haven’s Realm would take. I solved the problem between the Community and Savant, and rather permanently, both relieving tension in the clan and increasing my character base. All the Council’s problems appeared to be resolved. Was that the end of the saga? Where should I go from here? Well, why not go with Summer’s story? Sure. Of course! So at the end of Secrets, I decided to make the missing vampire a Savant, and the long-lost cousin of Christian, one of my Council Elders. Carloman, Chancellor of the Savant, learns of Lucien’s disappearance for the first time at the event that closed the story, so Jason, King of the Community, asks Christian to investigate. I closed the story knowing where to go next. But something happened I didn’t expect – Christian fell in love.
“Wait a minute,” I argued. “Summer is for Lucien! You’re supposed to find him, not take her!” All my patient, gentle warrior would do is give me a sultry smile.
Desperately, I reached for Lucien, pulled his enigmatic spirit from the back of my mind. When he came to life, my heart shuddered to a screaming halt. Dark, mysterious and powerful, he’s the antithesis of his tender cousin. I learned how he’d come to be confined, who was responsible, and how much danger I’d led Summer into. Get ready for Adept treachery and the return of an ancient enemy – the Sen Aesir.
If you’re already a fan of the Haven’s Realm saga, then you’re familiar with Christian Lafontaine. Lucien Labossiere is the perfect counterpoint for my gentle warrior, and deciding who gets the girl was almost as painful for me as it will be for Summer. I spent a great deal of time getting to know both men, and was surprised by what they confessed while I put the plot together. Turns out, they’ve played this game before. It wasn’t until then I realized what the Midnight saga is all about. And looking at these two incredible men now, I have to say I wouldn’t want to face choosing between them. By sending Christian to look for his cousin, I began what would have been the seventh Midnight installment, were it truly Skye writing the tale.
Summer’s adventure didn’t turn out quite the way I planned, nor do her experiences mirror what I’ve imagined should her situation become mine. How would I react if I found standing on my doorstep one of those dear friends I created in my mind? Well, if I didn’t die on the spot of supreme shock, I suppose I’d accept it as bravely as I may and set aside fear. After all, I know them all better than anyone else.
Keep your eyes open for Midnight Skye, Haven’s Realm 6, coming June 1st from Secret Cravings Publishing!
Tamara Monteau, Author