Because of the quirky timeframe of Flame’s Dawn (1968/1974), I’ve been asked this question a number of times: What was my inspiration for the story and for the setting?
Easy answer to the question: Readers who finished the main Hell to Pay series kept asking about Barnaby’s story, so I got to thinking. What sort of amazing woman would motivate a 400-year-old, super-powerful being to give up that entire existence? What things in this mortal world could actually scare such a man? What kind of love would a jaded creature like that possibly have left in his soul? Could he even show love to anyone? Then the story ideas started rolling along.
Hard answer to the question: I’m an idiot.
Let me back up a moment. In real life, I’m pretty darn smart. But when I wrote the Hell to Pay series, I never imagined doing a prequel. The series arc was meant to be three linked novels exploring the Indebteds and how each one had to make horrendous sacrifices to have a shot at love. Three books. Done.
Well, that sounded just peachy, but in my three book series, I dropped a bunch of clues about Barnaby Blackstone’s past. If you don’t recall or haven’t read the main books of the series yet, Barnaby is the wise, old man and former Indebted who guides the younger Indebted on their paths to redemption.
Along the way, though, Barnaby’s story got super interesting. Then there were some readers who kindly begged for more from the Hell to Pay universe and specifically wanted to learn more about Barnaby. And, well, and I’m a people-pleaser, so I started thinking about Barnaby’s story and how that might work.
Unfortunately, my clues placed the timing of the meeting between Barnaby and Jane right smack dab in the middle of the Vietnam War. Then, to make matters worse, another part of his story had to take place right before 1975. Why? God only knows. Why? Because I hate myself. Because my backstory came back to bite me on the tushie, since I hadn’t given it too much thought before dropping all those hints.
So, yeah. I had to pick one of the kookiest time periods to write a romance novel that is published today in 2016. >facepalm<
And then came the music.
Ok, so let me tell you what I had to do to get in the 1968/1974 zone. I started playing recordings of New York’s WABC top 100 countdown, complete with crazy on-air advertisements for things like silver polish and cigarettes. Then I took a brief detour to 1970 because, well, I goofed on a timeline when I wrote the first draft of the novella. Then I realized my mistake, exited 1970 and headed straight into….1974.
1974. At the point where I realized that I had to place the main portion of the novel in 1974, my heart sank. 1974? Are you flippin’ kidding me? 1974 was no man’s land. People were unhappy, bad things were happening all over the world, and quite frankly, I always thought the music sucked during that time.
Boy was I wrong!
Part of anchoring the book involved pulling out tunes from the years in which the novella was set. When I started checking out 1974, I was really surprised by the fabulous variety and really good music.
Then the entire book flowed like nothing I’ve seen before. The first draft of Flame’s Dawn was created in a four day psychedelic swirl of groovy tunes and frenetic jazz flute the likes of which I may never experience again. I still get the munchies, just thinking about it….
In the end, my hope is that folks will immerse themselves in a time that we don’t normally experience in romance novels. My hope is that readers will enjoy seeing the “younger” Barnaby and all his crazy antics. And I truly hope people have a great time listening along and reading this novella!
For the intrepid readers out there, don’t simply open Flame’s Dawn and dive in. Stop! Flip to the back and find the “play list”. Load those songs on Pandora or i-Tunes before reading Flame’s Dawn, then you can listen along as each song comes up in the book.
I bet you’ll be longing for polyester double-knit slacks and lava lamp decorations by the time you’re done reading! Far out, man. Enjoy the read. Right on!
She would love for readers to connect on Twitter @jilliandavid13 or on her blog at http://jilliandavid.net. Readers are always welcome to e-mail her email@example.com.
All’s fair in love and war when specialist Jane Larson and Captain Barnaby Blackstone give into their lust for each other while stationed in Vietnam. As the world disintegrates around them, their one night of passion ends with her evacuation back to stateside duty.
Years later, Jane is neck deep in an undercover DEA operation gone horribly wrong. Kidnapped and then committed to an asylum, she has no hope of escape from the clutches of a notorious cult leader. The only thing that sustains her through the pain is her memories of Barnaby—even as she knows she’ll never be with him again.
Little does she realize that Barnaby has spent several of his years as an immortal, Indebted killer yearning for the fierce and beautiful woman who had unlocked hope in his cold, hard soul. When his sixth sense leads him to her hospital room, he sets her free, but in the process attracts the attention of an otherworldly maniac intent on revenge. To save Jane from the dark forces surrounding her, Barnaby must reveal his deepest secret. Can she live with the man he’s destined to be, or will the truth leave her lost to him forever?
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