Divine Misdemeanors

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Meredith Gentry was created as a character so that my muse and I could have a break from writing the Anita Blake series. I’d written five Anita books in a row and was starting to have job anxiety dreams about her life instead of mine. I needed something different for my muse and me to play with. Merry was created to give me a different voice, a different world to visit. I guess she’s like a second child that you have so the first one won’t be an only. Then, like a parent that just didn’t understand that a second child doesn’t double your workload, but quadruples it, I was suddenly trying to do two different series at two different publishers. It went well since they’re both New York Times bestsellers. The audience for both crosses nicely and continues to grow with every book in a time when very few authors can say that. So it’s all good, but just like trying to juggle two kids instead of one, juggling two book series instead of just one presents its challenges.

At the beginning keeping Anita’s voice out of the Merry books was the biggest challenge. I was used to her, and her voice and attitude were closer to my own, so Anita wrote faster, clearer in my head. Merry was that second baby that is nothing like your first baby, so most of what you learned about taking care of character A doesn’t help a damn bit with character B. Who knew? But there comes a point when you make peace with the second child being so different from the first and so different from yourself. You find the unique joys in that second person, as I’ve found the joys in the Merry series that are different from Anita.
Anita fights me on paper and always has. She’s very much my rebel. Merry never fought on paper until the last book, Swallowing Darkness, and then she found things worth fighting for. She finally stood up and told me what she wanted and she was willing to do whatever it took to get there. I understood that. I let Merry’s desires, loves, and choices change where I had planned to end the first cycle of the series. Anita has thrown out entire last thirds of books by her choices, and even scrapped entire novel ideas because she’d simply grown in a different direction. If I did that for my oldest creation, how could I not do the same for my youngest creation?
In fact, Merry found her voice so pure and clear that on the last two Anita Blake novels I’ve had to chase her out of my head so Anita could be loud. Now the biggest challenge is balancing the writing schedule between two bestselling series, two different publishers, and that thing called a real life. Doing justice to my two imaginary worlds, and still managing to have a life in the real world... that’s the true challenge.
Hamilton hits the ground running in her latest Meredith Gentry novel, this one set in Los Angeles, where a pregnant Meredith has been safely united with her fellow exiles from the faerie courts. The faerie princess/private eye's happiness is short-lived, however, when she catches wind of a serial killer who gets his kicks crafting hideous tableaux of butchered demi-fey. While Meredith hunts for the killer, her stable of guards struggle to protect her from herself. Just as full of steamy sex and wild magic as the previous seven volumes, this episode finds Meredith's powers, as well as her collection of gorgeous guards, expanding, with crowd-pleasing results. The friction among Meredith's men makes for good drama, and Hamilton doesn't shy away from difficult real-world issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and sexual abuse. Though newcomers will be lost, and mystery fans may feel the sex scenes crowd out the plot, veterans of the series will no doubt enjoy their return to Hamilton's meticulously constructed world.  
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345495977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345495976
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces

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