This is part one of a two-part blog about the making of my paranormal mystery romance, In Another World. In this blog, I’ll talk about the origins of the story idea and the overall theme of the book.
So… how did this unique romance come about? Well, it’s a bit complicated… In Another World has been a labor of love for at least ten years, if not longer.
As most readers know, I also write horror fiction and I have a great love of the paranormal. One night several years ago I was watching one of those “paranormal caught on camera” programs and they showed footage of a dead woman/spirit walking around a car. The backstory to the video was that the woman had been killed in a car accident and her spirit was haunting the car as it sat in a parking lot.
The video clearly showed a nearly-transparent woman popping in and out around the car. It was pretty freaky, and the video stuck with me. I started wondering… What would happen if someone bought that car? Would the woman come with the car, or would her spirit move on?
A few years after that, my mother had a story idea come to her in a dream. Her idea was that an undercover police officer in a black leather jacket had been shot and was lying on a deserted street in the middle of nowhere, reviewing his life and lamenting that he was going to die before he had a chance at living a happy life. That sounded like an interesting premise/start to a story, but I wasn’t sure where it would go or what type of story it would be. I told my mother to write all the details down, and she did.
A couple of years later, I was driving to Vermont and had a lot of time to let my imagination wander… I thought about my mother’s story idea and the dead woman haunting the car… Then it hit me…
What if the undercover cop was killed in the car and his spirit haunted the car? And what if a woman (who just happened to be psychic) bought the car and could communicate with him? And what if he wanted her to solve his murder?
From there, the story started forming in my head. By the time I got to Vermont, I had the basic premise worked out and I bounced the idea off my husband and my brother. We all brainstormed and ironed out a few details, plot points, and other stuff… I took a lot of notes and wrote a quick outline so I wouldn’t forget anything…. And then I went back to working on my other romances and writing projects.
The idea for the “ghost cop book” (as I referred to it) sat for several more years until I got around to writing it. I probably wrote the first draft six or seven years ago. (Yes, this book really was over a decade in the making.) After I finished the draft, I typed it up and it sat for another year or so while I worked on other things.
Over the next three or four years, I worked on the book sporadically; I would edit a few chapters here and there, make revisions to scenes, delete stuff that wasn’t working… Other book projects and personal issues kept me from working on it full time, which was very unusual for me.
I’m happy to say that letting the book sit actually helped with the revisions and editing. Every time I went back to the book I was looking at it with fresh eyes and found things that needed to be changed or fleshed out, scenes tightened, details added, etc. Not rushing to get the book finished made it better.
I never intended for the book to have a theme or a message, but as I was writing, one developed naturally. I’m sad to report that during the last few years of the book’s development, several of my family members passed away, starting with my mother.
As you can imagine, I was devastated. My attention had to focus on other things, and I put my writing on hold for a while. (At one point, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write anymore.) In time, I got back to the book, but the writing took a different turn. I used the plot and characters to help me deal with what I was going through emotionally after suffering many losses.
If you’ve read the book, you know that Eddie (the hero) is bitter because he died too soon. He still had things to do and expected to live a long and happy life. Julie, the heroine, tells him that there are no guarantees in life, and you need to make the most of each day. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted.
That basically became the theme of the book. Sadly, it’s true. Life is too short, and everyone should make the most of the time they have here and appreciate the people (and even the pets!) in their life. That’s the lesson I learned, and I used Eddie, Julie, and Lou to make that point to readers.
Writing some of the emotional scenes (between Eddie and his dad, conversations with Eddie and Julie, Eddie and Lou) were very hard for me, and brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t want to bring the mood of the book down and have it be depressing, but I felt that it needed to be addressed. And it made Eddie’s character more authentic – he has every right to feel a sense of loss (and rage toward his killer) since his life was snuffed out way too soon.
The ending of the book is a bit unusual for a romance (I won’t spoil it here), but even before I started writing, I knew how the story would end. Readers and reviewers fell in love with the characters and everyone who has read the book says the plot pulls you in right from the start, and you just can’t stop reading.
That’s excellent praise all authors love to hear. And it’s especially rewarding considering how much time, effort, and energy went into writing, revising, and editing what is most likely my last full-length romance novel. Yep, you read that right. I pushed through finishing this romance knowing that I’m probably not going to write another one. I’ll share more about that life decision in another blog, but in the meantime…
Here is the book summary and links to In Another World:
IN ANOTHER WORLD
A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel
Disgraced psychic medium Julie Kershaw has finally met her soul mate. The problem is he’s dead… and his spirit haunts the car she just bought.
The spirit of Detective Eddie Mahoney is determined to find his killer and needs Julie’s help. At first, she refuses. She’s tired of being called crazy and swore she’d never use her abilities to speak to the dead again—even if Eddie is handsome and charming.
Eddie persuades Julie to contact his former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to ask him to reopen his case. Skeptical, Lou dismisses Julie as a fake—until she proves she can communicate with the dead—and he finds out Eddie has a lot to say.
Julie channels Eddie’s spirit and together with Lou, the unusual trio tracks down leads and follows clues to solve Eddie’s murder. The case takes them down a dark and dangerous path filled with secrets, where nobody can be trusted.
As they work to find his killer, Julie falls for Eddie. Funny, smart, and sexy, Eddie is the guy of her dreams—and he doesn’t look or act the least bit dead. To her surprise, Eddie discovers a clever way they can be together, and they begin an ethereal romance.
When Lou’s investigation brings him too close to the killer, his life and Julie’s are put in danger—and Eddie may be the only one who can save them.
Order your copy here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bpw16g
Catch up on all my titles here: www.kelliwilkins.com
In the second part of this blog, I’ll talk about the paranormal elements of the book, how I finally got the title, and my research into the “cop stuff” I needed to know for the story.
Until next time, happy reading!
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.
She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.
In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.
Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.