Working Outside the Comfort Zone

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by Melissa Schroeder

A few years back I came up with an idea for a paranormal set in Victorian England. I’ve written historical before, both western and Regency, and I had written light paranormal. But, this was different. First though, I have to give you an explanation of where I was at the time of the birth of this idea.

Several years ago, I still thought to be successful, I had to gain a NY publisher. At the time, things were a bit unsteady in the publishing world (as usual) but this was back in 2008, and there just wasn’t a lot of buying from these publishers. I gained an agent, and we went out with several projects. The last one was my world of By Blood. I still feel very lucky that I didn’t sign because I don’t think it would have been a good fit. Plus, now I have the ability to self-pub the series and do what I want with it.

Still, I was intimidated. This is a whole other way of writing for me. I have written light paranormal as I said, along with futuristics. This was the first time that I had built a complex world. Worse, I picked to do it in a historical setting. That does put me at a disadvantage in sales to begin with. According to most publishers, readers aren’t interested in that. Many paranormal readers say they feel as if the idea of vampires is just thrown in so that it can be labeled that way. There are very few successful historical paranormal romances. To avoid that, I sat down and planned the world from the ground up.

I am a Capricorn so I like to plan. A lot. The one thing I don’t like to do heavy planning in writing. I like to have a skeleton idea, then add the rest of the body as I write. But for this, I wanted to make sure that I had a world vampire lovers would come to like. It was uncomfortable. I hate being painted into a corner. Still, I knew this was important. Building rules into it spoke to the Cappy in me and made me happy. Then the decisions had to be made. I have Born and Made vampires. There is a hierarchy within their world, along with the English ton. The thing the intimidated me, building the world, was not as daunting as I thought it would be. But then came putting it into action. It has taken longer than I thought but I am loving it. Working within those rules has created some challenges, but I thrive on those, so it really has gotten my creative juices going.

From the idea that there were Born vampires and Made vampires, came the idea of Carriers who are women. The bloodlines filter throughout all of England, and along with it comes an Alliance of ruling families. Here, their titles in the human world hold some weight, but you also have common men whose long lineage within the vampire world makes them powerful. On top of this, I get to play with history, something I love, and make up rules. What more could a woman ask for?

I am almost done with the book, putting finishing touches on it and the ARC will be ready soon. 🙂

I hope people like the idea of Born vampires who have beating hearts, can be in the sun, and mate for life once they commit. I have fallen in love with the subgenre and hope to write many more.

Desire by Blood (By Blood, #1) by Melissa Schroeder

A man with a secret. 
Nicodemus Blackburn has seen the best and worst of mankind. Five hundred years of dealing with them teaches the vampire to be very wary of the creatures. Unfortunately, alarming events leave him no choice but to enter the world of the ton to hunt a villain. He must find a rogue vampire, one who is making his own army of bloodthirsty vampires. Searching for the villain is not the worst of his troubles. That can be laid at the feet of bluestocking Lady Cordelia Collingsworth.

A woman on a mission. Cordelia has always been an outcast, even in her own family. She has forged her way in the world with her ability to write, and Nico Blackburn is the focus of her next article. Before she can obtain any information about the mysterious man, she is pulled headlong into a scandal that leaves her with no choice but to marry Nico—a man with dangerous secrets.

A passion that consumes them both.
Thrust into a world she knows nothing of, Cordelia finds herself falling in love with a man who claims to be a vampire. As their passion grows, so does the danger around them and Nico will have to call on all of his powers to protect the one thing he has realized he cannot live without: his opinionated, infuriating, and thoroughly delectable wife.

Find Melissa Schroeder here

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