The following post is a repost from my Facebook page, but I’m trying to get back into posting on the blog, so I figured I’d prime the pump a little bit. 🙂 I’ll be posting the Storytellers for Lightning Rod next, and then I’ll work on posts for House of Stone, Vampire Fred, and Last Paladin, before doing one for Community Service, the next book in the Broken Mirrors series that comes out next year. If you guys have any questions about some of the “behind the scenes” stuff on any of my books, feel free to ask in the comments. 🙂
Anyone remember VH1 Storytellers? I liked it because the artist would give the audience about 3-5 minutes of backstory on a song before they performed it. Maybe it ruined the mystery, but I always thought it was a cool idea.
1) Coyote’s Creed was initially available for free.
A couple of years ago I got the idea to try a project that came to be known as Free Fiction Friday. The premise was pretty simple: Post at least 1000 words or a chapter of a serial novel every Friday. At one point we had a few pro authors including myself, I.D. Locke, and Cassandra Gold, as well as a few freelance authors such as Simon Fielding. Coyote’s Creed was originally called “The King’s Confidante”, and was posted one chapter a week for about half a year. The book was actually about 15,000 words longer, but to be honest, most of it was fat, there’s not much in the way of “deleted scenes”, and the book’s offline anyway since it’s under contract now. 🙂 Most of the stories I posted to the Free Fiction Friday community were canon to the City setting, though “Dead In The Water”, a James Black novella, is pretty much disavowed as it doesn’t fit in with the continuity anymore.
2) Both Coyote’s Creed and the Broken Mirrors series were never intended to be young adult.
They still aren’t, essentially, but this was asked about the series itself considering that Spencer is 18. The reason that he’s 18 is so that he’ll be legal and of the age of consent. I even made sure he was a few months over the line to avoid any “barely legal” connotations. He starts the story at 18, but by the time the series gets into full swing he’ll be in his 20s. There was always going to be adult content in the story, both because that’s an aspect I imagined for tricksters in my setting, and because it’s generally expected when the possibility of a gay romance is in there. I know I’m courting a firestorm here, but if you’re writing a gay character in a modern setting and it’s not about him coming out or dealing with AIDS, sex scenes are recommended, so it’s best to make them organic to the story, so that’s what I tried to do with Spencer and Rourke. Speaking of which…
3) I seriously had no idea Spencer and Rourke would get the kind of backlash they did.
No kidding, I got hate mail over the age difference. I can’t really try to explain it away using the story itself, because well, that’s implying “you just weren’t reading it right” and that’s a dick move that I don’t want to pull out. I missed a key factor in my research, in that in gay relationships, the readers generally won’t tolerate more than 10 years age difference, and the key here is “perceived age.” Spence was 18 in CC and looked 18. Rourke was… well past a few centuries, actually, and the mistake I made was that “vampire rules” applied. I forgot that vampires may be 200-900 years old, but they are perceived to be in their twenties. (Or high school age in the case of a certain vampire with the initials E.C.) Rourke was perceived to be in his fifties, and that squicked out a number of readers. Sorry about that. 😦
4) Spencer Crain was initially inspired by a baseball game, and then The Sims 3.
I’m a gamer, I’ve admitted that a couple times, I think. Sports games are both my passion and my bane, particularly ones where you can play out the career of a single player. A friend of mine lent me MLB 2K10, and I made a right fielder for the Oakland A’s, and picked some names at random until I found one I liked: Spencer Crain. I liked the sound of the name, and eventually used the name when making a Sims house. I randomly assigned traits, and Spence came up with Sense of Humor, Couch Potato, and Kleptomaniac, while his mom came up with Insane and an aspiration to be a writer. Seriously. Major facets of the characters’ personalities were selected at random by the Sims, but I thought it was an interesting development, so I took a few notes on it, figuring I could make a story for Spencer later.
5) The Battle of the Blonde Jokes is based on a Werewolf: The Apocalypse session I ran in college.
God, did people love that chapter. 🙂 I did a lot of research, mined the internet, and asked friends in my WoW guild for jokes (Thanks OBC!), but the whole idea for that chapter is based off a session where my friend, who was running a Bone Gnawer named Dane St. James, entered into a riddle contest with a spirit of enigmas, and countered every one of its Tolkienesque riddles… with a blonde joke. Eventually, since I was running out of elaborate poetic puzzles, I dragged out every blonde joke I’d heard and it turned into an epic battle. Ever since, I wanted a serious battle of wits to be settled… with blonde jokes. When I finally got to have Spencer face off against his nemesis, I knew I had my chance. 🙂
6) Spencer was in tutoring because I had to work that job.
Spencer’s philosophies on how to slide through the day doing little work or none at all? Almost all of it was what I observed the kids doing while I worked as a tutor. My job was pretty simple, really: get the kids to work on their assignments and get them turned in. Far easier said than done. Much like Spencer proclaims in one chapter, “If I had the kind of work ethic they were asking for, I wouldn’t need to be here.” Most of the kids I got were like Spencer; kids who just cut a lot of class and fell really far behind. Seniors, such as Spence, got a lot of attention because we wanted them to graduate both so they could start their lives AND get out of the system, or at least the school system. And yes, if the kids were doing their work and not being disruptive, we didn’t really care why they were there to begin with.
And if I’d had Spencer in my group? I’d have taken his cards and limited his bathroom breaks until he got his work done. 😉
7) There are a few pokes at the M/M genre in there.
This was mostly because while I was posting the story to the Free Fiction Friday community, I received some messages specifically requesting that I write in a sex scene not between Rourke and Spence, but rather between… (Ugh, this is painful to type) Spencer and Thornton and one request for… Spencer and Justin. Yes. Some readers who were disgusted by Spencer sleeping with a man appearing to be 30 years older than him wanted to see Spencer have sex with his half-brother or his father. They even called it “Crain-cest.” Hence the running gag of Spence and Thornton shuddering at even the suggestion. Seriously guys, that’s a line I’m not looking at much less crossing, kay? 🙂
– All of the chapter titles are named tropes at TVTropes.org
– Spencer originally had Italian ancestry instead of Swedish
– At the wake scene, all of the Coyotes present were initially his half-brothers, but I cut it down.
– Coyote’s Creed is not only the first book of the Broken Mirrors series, canon-wise it’s the first City story chronologically.
– I wrote Father Coyote imagining him played by Nathan Fillion, and Thornton played by Jared Leto, but I have no idea who’d play Spencer.
– All edits and revisions to the manuscript were done to Tenacious D and Stephen Lynch CDs.
– Coyote’s Creed was accepted about a week after submission, probably the fastest response I’ve ever received on a manuscript ever.
– Spencer’s “one and done” hero gig was largely inspired by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “The Zeppo”. Yes, I imagine Spence as the Xander of the group. 🙂
Well, that’s it for this session. Hope you guys enjoyed it. 🙂