Behind the Book: A Backstage Look at Demon Kissed by HM Ward

As Demon Kissed rapidly approches 40,000 facebook fans and the book is creeping higher and higher on the Amazon bestseller list – I thought we’d do something fun! This is a behind the book secrets about the creation of Demon Kissed by H.M. Ward.

HOW DID YOU START?

I wanted to practice writing something that was emotional.  I chose a memory from high school.  It was one of those times I did something stupid and the memory was filled with several different emotions.  I started by trying to convey the emotions via words to the reader, so that you could not only see what was happening, but feel it too.

CASTING CHARACTERS

I knew I wanted an INFJ heroine.  It’s a Myers-Briggs personality type.  Yeah, weird way to make a character, but whatever.  That personality type makes up less than 1% of the world’s population, so I thought it would be more interesting to write about.  They are classic control freaks who are intraverted, but extremely perceptive and intutive to the point that their sensitivity and idealism is detramental.  Huh?  That kinda person is hard-wired to think a certain way and can end up martyring themselves because of their ideals.

When you smoosh that kinda person together with ideas about pre-destination (do you have any free will or are you on a predestined path) it’s kind of interesting to think about.  And the very idea of being trapped in a preset destiny would drive a control freak nuts.  It made me wonder what happens if a character is forced into being the opposite of what she thinks she is.  That’s Ivy.  The plot started to flesh out from here.

PLOTTING

I still didn’t start writing much at this point.  There was no story – no conflict.  What hideous conflict did I want to stick this idealistic, intutive girl into?

One day I came across a Bible verse that always fascinated me.  Ive never read an exgetical paper on it, despite how interesting it was.  I dont think I’ve heard anyone preach on it either.  (I went to seminary – aka theology school for college).  Anyway, the passage was about the 1000 year rein of terror and God marking his people.  That was where the idea for the Martis came from.  They were people who were chosen and given a mark.  That’s the only commonality with the scripture.  I fleshed out the idea from there and gave them abilities and a history.  The Valefar were created as their counterpart.  And humans got sucked into both sides over the centuries without their consent.

From there stuff fleshed out pretty quickly.  I ended up with a multi-threaded plot line and then intertwined that sucker.  The entire manuscript was completed in a few months.  I had no intention of getting it published.  I was just writing to write.  And I wanted to see if I could write an entire book.

SUBLIME

The way the book is actually written is different.  Rather than being a cognitive read where the writer is telling what the character is thinking and allowing that to tell the story, I did something different.  The story is told from Ivy’s point of view, but rather than the story being totally in her head – it’s primarly told via her emotions and the way she’s reacting to the things that are happening to her.  It tilted the way the reader expereinces the book slightly, so that it’s more of an expereince than a cognitive read.  Some people hate that.  They want to be told what to think and exactly what’s happening.  Demon Kissed isn’t written like that.  I left it open to the reader to perceive for themselves what’s happening, and whether its good or bad via Ivy’s emotions.

That’s why some of the reader reviews have such different opinions about the storyline.  Some people love Collin while others think he’s an ass.  Some readers thought there was a love triangle, while others were glad there wasn’t one.  Yes, they all read the same book.  And I think that’s awesome!  It allows the reader to experience the adventure along with Ivy.  It also makes discussing Demon Kissed with your book club way more interesting!

PUBLICATION

This is a long story, so I’ll condense it for this post.  After I wrote the story, I posted the facebook fan page.  I quickly attracted 10K fans that loved the idea.  I submitted query letters to agents thinking I would look into traditional publishing.  I had no problem finding an agent, in fact several top agents offered me representation.  I had to choose one!

As I progressed down the traditional publication path Borders entered their bankruptsy and things looked hairy to me.  Maybe I’m too much doom and gloom, but I didnt want to sell my book and have it stuck somewhere in eternal limbo as the publishing industry collapses.  To top that off, they didn’t know what the value of a facebook fan was.  I found myself explaining to them why facebook is important.  Dude, that was just backwards.  At some point I realized that they weren’t bringing much to the table.  I have a strong background in sales of tangible and intangible goods, I’m one of the best professional photographers in my region, and I know editors.  What was I doing?  I told my agent to pull all outstanding manuscripts that were with publishers.  I’d decided to self-publish.  And that’s what I did.  I also fired my New York agent, and went solo.

By the end of this month I will have sold more copies of Demon Kissed than the traditional publishers thought possible.  Why?  Because of awesome fans like you!  You guys loved the book from the beginning and told all your friends.  And it took off.  The facebook page has almost 40,000 fans now!  And I still talk to everyone and try to answer all posts.  Stop by.  Say hi!

DEMON KISSED #2 – CURSED

The sequel to Demon Kissed is entitled Cursed and is anticipated to be released August 31, 2011.  I’ve seen people speculating the location of the next book and writing all sorts of stuff on blogs and book sites.  I’ll spill a little here.

Cursed starts in Italy.  Ivy accompanies Shannon as stated at the end of Demon Kissed.  Her plans are to discover a way to free Collin from the Underworld and to learn more about Kreterus, the demon that wanted to capture her.  The book’s location shifts to the Underworld when Ivy finds that the only way to retrieve Collin is to physically go and get him.  But, she has a couple of problems: She has to find a way in and the doors to Hell aren’t clearly marked.  No one knows where they are.  To top that off, the living are not welcome amongst the dead.  Ivy is not only alive, but possesses angel blood.  Her fate as the Prophecy One solidifies with each step she takes towards saving Collin.  She is forced to choose between following her heart or saving herself.

To read a free sample chapter of Cursed, click here!

Pre-order for Cursed will be listed soon on the official website.  There may be a collector’s edition available.  Hint hint.

Thank you super awesome fans!

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About sublimeromantic

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today bestselling author.
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2 Responses to Behind the Book: A Backstage Look at Demon Kissed by HM Ward

  1. Megg Jensen says:

    I’m an INFJ – how crazy you wanted to write about that personality type!!!! Love that! :)))

    Congrats on all your sales & fans! ❤

    Megg Jensen
    YA fantasy author of Anathema

  2. Pingback: Inside the Head of an Indie Author | The ramblings of a (Mensa) dropout.

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