RobertJRGraham.com asks J. D. Brown, author of The Dark Heirloom Series…
What is your book about?
Dark Heirloom is the first book of the Ema Marx series and it’s about a young woman (Ema) who mysteriously becomes a vampire without being bitten. Not coincidently, the transformation happens while she is being stalked and hunted by a vampire prince named Jalmari. He’s forced to take her back to his castle and provide her with shelter so the transformation can be completed. He still has every intention of killing her but is being controlled by another force and cannot act on his intentions yet.
The series plot as a whole is about beating the antagonist, of course, but a large part of the series is also about Ema’s new life as a vampire; how does she fit in, can she fit in? Can she let go of the past and allow this new vampire family to be her future? Ema’s special, she has special powers that the other vampires don’t have and she plays an integral role in deciding the fate of this paranormal world that she never knew existed before. So she means something to each of the other vampires whether good or bad, and this all plays out in the series and makes a difference in how Ema views herself and her own fate and what she chooses to do.
What Inspired you to write it?
I’ve always loved paranormal, especially vampires. But I felt frustrated by some of the more popular books I was reading at the time. They were usually about the (nearly pathetic) human heroine begging her undead lover to turn her and the stories often ended soon after she convinces him. I wanted to read more about the vampires. I wanted to get under their skin, in their heads, and deep into their lives. I read paranormal fantasy because I’m interested in the paranormal characters, not the human ones. I already know what boring old human life is like. LOL.
Now I wasn’t always a writer! I didn’t always think I could write a book. The inspiration for the actual characters and their story came straight from Jalmari, my vampire prince. You should see this guy…he just squeezed himself into my imagination one night, woke me up, and started telling be about his life. No “sorry-to-wake-you”, no cup of coffee, nothing! Just woke me up and started jabbering. But his story intrigued me so much I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So when I finally did decide to give fiction a try, I knew immediately that Jalamri’s story, Dark Heirloom, was the one that needed to be told.
How did you get published?
Boy, publishing was quite a long journey for me. I admit I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing when I first started down this road. It’s a road made out of quick sand so you have to be extra crafty about how you get across. :-)
I wanted to go big with Dark Heirloom – meaning I wanted an agent and a contract with a big six New York company and a handsome advance. That’s still my main goal, really.
I took workshops and learned as much as I could about revising and editing and got my manuscript to what I thought was a good shape…at 125k words. LOL. So then I taught myself about the query process and naturally started querying agents. Well I got a big pile of rejection letters soon after, all saying that my story was way too long for them to even consider reading.
Because I’m a stubborn woman, and because I believed in what I was trying to accomplish, I went back and revised the manuscript again, this time cutting it down to 100k words. I re-queried and this time I had a couple agents send good praise about the story, but in the end they still said it needed more work.
Feeling at my wits’ end, I decided to give the manuscript a complete hack and rework a lot of it, taking more editing and craft workshops. I obsessed over every sentence and every word and recruited beta readers and analyzed every scene and every chapter and every piece of feedback until I had a new manuscript that was 90k words long and a story I was proud to call my own (because really, you start to lose your story if you think you can just cut scenes out).
I also did something else too. I wrote a short romance story. I was worried one of the reasons I was getting rejected was also because of my newness. I’d never worked in any writing field before and I had nothing else published to give me any credibility. I know agents and publishers generally don’t like to take risks with new authors, so I decided to build some credibility. I submitted the short story first to a few small publishers, just wanting to get my foot in with a decent publisher.
Well…it worked. The short story was picked up by MuseItUp Publishing, a small e-book publisher, but one with a stellar reputation for being at the top of their game. I was very impressed with them and soon decided to try offering Dark Heirloom. Goodness, they loved Dark Heirloom almost as much as I did! So it was settled, my writing finally had a home and all that work paid off.
I still have a lot to learn and plan on being with MuseItUp for a while as my writing career grows and I make a name for myself. But I have plenty of more ideas on the back burner and I’ll strike at my chance for something bigger and better when the time comes. For now I’m damn proud to be able to share Dark Heirloom with everyone.
Author Bio: J.D. Brown graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, her writing is influenced by the multicultural urban society of her youth which she continues to visit each summer. J.D. loves paranormal characters; from vampires and werewolves, demons and angels, to witches and ghost. Her writings are often a combination of suspense and romance.
J.D.’s books are available in e-book formats from Muse It Up Publishing Inc. and major e-book retailers. She loves to hear from readers. You can reach her via email to DarkHeirloom@gmail.com or visit her website at http://authorjdbrown.com
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