Reaping and Writing the Reaper Series

I want to welcome the amazing Lisa Medley to my blog this week!

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I’ve been in love with monsters for a long time, since I first started reading Stephen King ages ago. But it was J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover which made me realize monsters in LOVE were even better. That book sent my imagination reeling. I don’t discriminate. I want love for vampires, shifters, witches and of course, reapers.

 While deciding what sort of monsters I wanted to write about, I started with vampires because…well…VAMPIRES.  I didn’t orginally sit down to write a book about reapers. Reapers aren’t sexy. Reapers are death. And skeletal. And…grim. When I gave the first 30K of my first real novel attempt to my BFF, her reply was, “It’s good, but what makes it different?”

Erm, nothing. Same old story. Same old (okay, old but HOT vampires). I was not adding anything new to the species. I needed something fresh. Something that might stand out in a crowded field of paranormal monsters in love.

I chose reapers. There aren’t too many authors out there writing reapers, although it’s growing! I love how we’ve all approached our worldbuilding in such different ways. Once I chose a monster, then I set out to make them better. Still human-looking but human DELUXE! Lots of dark potential there. I sat down and got to work making a world for them to live in, threw in some demons, an evil fallen angel and the Reaper Series was born.

 The dark hero speaks to me, and when I find him in the shadows, it’s my job to bring him into the light, sometimes kicking and screaming. Reading urban fantasy and paranormal romance makes me crave contact with the things that go bump in the night. Don’t fear the reaper, because reapers need love too.

With three completed books in the Reaper Series, which will publish this year, I’m taking a break and my current project is a paranormal ghost romance called Haunt My Heart. It’s a departure from the Reaper Series world and will be a stand-alone book. I project it to be in the 70-80K range. I’m 40K into it, and my ghostly hero has only now made physical contact for the first time. Ghost heroes are…complicated. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

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After Haunt My Heart is finished, then it’s back to the reapers. I have at least seven more characters waiting for their stories to be told.

My writing process is a work in progress itself. The first book I totally pantsed. The second, I collected sticky notes from the nether regions: car, desk, notebooks, bathroom mirror and compiled them into a list. I sorted, shuffled, added, and subtracted until … HOLY COW, I had a plot! Things moved along quickly after that. For my third book I made that plot list FIRST and included a whole bunch of “What if” questions. Then I picked the ones that made sense and worked them into the story. Somehow it all magically tied together all three books. I’m fairly certain most of that was divine intervention.

On Haunt My Heart, I wrote a bona fide five page synopsis. Now at the halfway point, I’ve mostly followed it but discovered I needed to speed up some of the later elements and add a few plot twists to carry it through to the 75-80K I’m shooting for.

 It’s tough when your hero and heroine don’t meet in person until halfway through the book. The good news is they have a lot of ground to make up and this second half is going to smoke.

I write mostly at night after the family has gone to bed. Usually I stay up from 8:30 or 9 p.m. until midnight writing or working on writing related things: blog posts, social media or actual word accumulation on a novel.

 I average about 500 words an hour but strive for 1000. My record was 4,700 in one day. That was epic.  I’m just happy for forward progress. I’m really working to speed up my overall novel completion. The first three books took me six months each to write. If I didn’t have a day job, I could do it in three or less I’m sure. It’s tough juggling all those balls: family, day job, home, writing. But I have a great support group and so far so good.

Keep writing and reap on. 

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