This month Black Cat, the last story in my Whisper series, was released by Changeling Press.
I love working on series books for several reasons. I enjoy revisiting past characters and I love building a world and watching it flow from one book to the next.
Working on Whisper was a lot of fun and I wanted to share an overview of how the series was shaped.
Step One: Brainstorm
I knew I wanted to write a series about a fictional New England town dominated by supernatural creatures. Instead of erotic horror, I wanted it to be erotic romance with a emphasis on how the characters came to live in the town. I thought about the kind of creatures I wanted to inhabit the town and I made a list of possible names for the town.
Step Two: Outline/Summaries
The first three stories in Whisper were planned from the beginning. The fourth story developed as the series went on. I decided which characters would be featured in each story, worked on their back stories and made loose outlines for each book. Most of the secondary characters were created during this outlining stage, so in most cases I knew who would be appearing throughout the series. At this time I also created many of the points of interest in Whisper. To do this, I thought about places I like best in New England, from the beaches to the mountains, and used them as guides.
Step Three: First Draft
Once I’d completed my outline, I spent time making additional notes and doing research. For me research continues throughout the writing process. I prefer to write the entire story without stopping for revisions. I let the characters talk to each other and react without worrying about anything except the story.
Step Four: Revisions
When the first draft of the first story was completed, I read it through, taking time to make changes, check for inconsistencies and run through my list of common errors. I like to read and revise my stories several times before turning them in to my editor.
Step Five: Edits, Copy Edits, Cover Art
I love working with my editors! They catch things that I can’t and don’t. I’ve been with my Changeling editor for a long time and she’s great. When I finish making changes according to her notes, I send the story back to her and the copy editor reads and makes any other necessary corrections. Changeling Artists provide covers for the stories and authors are free to work on promo.
For each story in the series, I repeated steps 3-5.
The idea for Black Cat came about during the first draft of book one, Dragon’s Bar. When Edmond and Tobias interacted during that story, I knew they would eventually need a book of their own. Throughout the other stories, I hinted at their relationship. Both men are mysterious and though one is a rogue vampire and the other an ancient cat shifter, they’re an ideal match.
Readers, how do you feel about series books? Writers, what are some of your favorite ways to build a series?
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Whisper 4: Black Cat
by Kate Hill
From Changeling Press
Vampire Edmond Chancellor and cat shifter Tobias Crawford have had a not-so-secret affair for over three hundred years. Edmond wants to bond with Tobias permanently, but Tobias has reasons for keeping his distance.
On a chilly December night, both men turn to past memories for guidance, but it’s a present danger that makes them realize that time is precious, even to men who are practically immortal.
The Following Excerpt from Black Cat is for readers 18 and over.
“Edmond!” Tobias said, his voice rough with emotion. Naked, he sat on his knees in a cage so small that he could neither stand nor turn. His slender fingers gripped the bars and his green eyes glistened in his wan face.
Edmond practically flew to the cage. His fingers entwined with Tobias’ and their lips met in a tender kiss.
“I have to get you out of here,” Edmond said. “Do you know where Carlos keeps the key?”
Tobias shook his head.
“It’s probably on him. I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t leave me here.” Tobias shook his head. The panic in his beautiful eyes pierced Edmond’s heart.
“I won’t,” he said, reaching through the bars to caress Tobias’ cheek. Then he turned and shouted for Marka.
“Tobias,” she breathed, stepping into the room. “Thank the gods.”
“Check Carlos’ body for keys,” Edmond said.
Without hesitation she hurried out of the room.
Edmond grasped the bars, wondering if his vampiric strength could free Tobias faster. He couldn’t bear seeing him caged.
Slowly the bars bent enough for Tobias to slide through and into Edmond’s arms.
“He’s been drugging me,” Tobias said. “I have no strength.”
“It’s all right.” Edmond soothed. He shrugged off his coat and helped Tobias into it.
Marka raced into the room, panting. “The keys weren’t on him. We’ll have to search the–” Upon seeing Tobias free, she stopped talking and stepped closer to embrace him.
“We have to get him out of here,” Edmond said, placing an arm around Tobias. “Can you walk? Never mind.” He swept Tobias into his arms and headed for the stairs.
Tobias didn’t argue and that alone told Edmond exactly how weak he was. Under normal circumstances the proud cat shifter wouldn’t allow himself to be carried by anyone.
Previous books in the Whisper series:
Whisper 1: Dragon’s Bar
Whisper 2: Bronzed
Whisper 3: Mating Call
About Kate Hill
Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.
When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.
She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com.