The newsletter contest (see September 16th’s blog for the details) continues until the 30th!!
By Christine Price
So, I probably didn’t have to come up with the Society for In Darkness Bound. (For those who haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy quite yet, I won’t ruin any surprises by telling you that the Society is a shadowy organization that investigates the disappearance of our main character, Chris). But having “a cop” investigate everything just didn’t sit right for me. What do I know about police procedures, besides what I’ve seen on TV? And really, in a paranormal thriller-romance, do “mundane” authorities really work? Are they enough, especially when encountering all of the wonderful, creepy strangeness that can stalk you from the darkness?
Hence, The Society.
Don’t get me wrong, the focus of the book is our main characters, Chris, Vance and Simon, as they try to navigate the dim hallways and deep-seated psychosis of their captor. But I felt like I needed something more. Something to flesh out my world and offer that extra layer of “WTF is going on here?” The Society gave me a chance to do that. I got two very cool secondary characters out of the bargain as well as another way to express myself through a mysterious conglomerate of people that’s not inherently evil (maybe).
I found as I was writing In Darkness Bound that I came up with a lot of background material for the Society. Most of which doesn’t make it into the book. While the romance was forefront in my mind, I had this elaborate background slowly forming. Not including it, but knowing it was there, was like having their extra support net while I was scaling the trapeze of my first novel-length project. I felt like I had a brand new world I’d constructed, though the book was set entirely in New York.
It also gave me the perfect excuse to expand from a single book into a budding series, but I’ll get into that at another time.
Some of my favourite authors seem to have done the same thing, and it’s always drawn me deeper into the world. Take Sherrilyn Kenyon for example. In her first book, Fantasy Lover, you had no idea that she was going to delve into the world of the Dark Hunters, save for the barest hint when Kyrian walked by. Yet, I have a feeling that she had the entire cosmology at least marginally planned out when she was writing it and it made the book so much more interesting for me in retrospect. Or even Frank Herbert in Dune. You learn next-to-nothing about the Bene Gesserit (save that they’re evil old women with precognisance and a serious love of eugenics), but it’s everything left unsaid that makes them appealing and mysterious. By not going into great detail about them, Herbert gives them power, because nothing is more powerful than your reader’s imagination.
What do you think? Can you tell when an author has done the background work, even when it might not go into great detail? Does it entice you? Pull you in? Make you want to learn more? Or is it just a little irritating when they don’t just spill their guts and tell you what’s going on?
Data Collection by Dalhousie, Dr. Donna L.
Patient 331 New, confused. His powers unknown.
Patient 289 No longer viable in the test pool, he remains in isolation.
Patient 77 Reclassified to staff status. Useful, malleable.
Confined in a sterile research facility and treated like a lab rat, Chris is alone and terrified. His special powers are his only escape, allowing him to psychically connect with other patients.
Alone in his cell for longer than he can remember, Vance is hungry. When newcomer Chris makes a mental connection, Vance is intrigued and soon wants more than just conversation.
Chris and Vance seek comfort with each other, and with Simon—the only staff member who’s shown them a hint of compassion. Their relationships develop during stolen moments, and they turn their thoughts to escape. But as Dr. Dalhousie’s madness spirals, more than cell walls threaten to keep them apart…