Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Book I Won't Be Writing

I didn’t mean to write a series. Belonging was supposed to be a stand-alone. However, my sequelitis kicked in, and before you know it, there was Legacy. That book sparked my spin-off, the upcoming Slayer for Hire, involving my threesome’s children. Preacher’s book is sitting in limbo right now, waiting for the plot to gel, and I’ve got an idea involving Wallace’s daughter Dina, who co-stars in Slayer for Hire.

I suppose these two books will get written eventually. I love the characters, and the ideas just keep coming. I can’t let go of them yet. I want to keep it going. As long as I keep coming up with plots and publishers keep showing interest, I suppose I can squeeze another couple stories out of these people.

But there’s one story I don’t think I could write, even though I recently figured out a way to give it an HEA. That’s the wrap-up, the grand finale. For lack of a better word, the end.

There’s a huge elephant in this family’s room, one they (and I) have been trying not to deal with. There’s Wallace the vampire, his human lover Jeremy, their half-vampire lover Colleen, and the kids. So far, so good. Here’s the problem: everybody except Wallace is mortal, or partially mortal. Nobody wants to be turned. They’re content with their mortality and everything it means.

What it means is, Wallace’s family—his partners, his children, everyone he loves—will eventually grow old and die. Sooner or later, inevitably, even the kids will be gone, and immortal Wallace will have to go on without them. The only ending I could imagine involved Wallace walking into the sunlight. That’s something I, as these people’s “mother,” just don’t want to face.

Luckily for me, though not necessarily for one of the other characters, my subconscious couldn’t take it either and came up with a workable solution. It involves someone we haven’t seen for awhile: Shayla, the adopted daughter of Gus and Annie Stanton.

Don’t get your squick in an uproar. Shayla’s not the five-year-old we last saw in Legacy. At least 25 years have passed since then (Jeremy’s son Matt is 22 in Slayer, and he has two older siblings). She’s had a full life in the interim, with relationships and jobs and possibly a failed marriage that didn’t produce any children (the reason why it failed?). She comes back to California to reconnect with her family, and walks right into peril.

At one point in the long-lost past, Gus and Annie were slayers. A vampire from that era returns to exact his revenge. However, since vampires don’t age, they don’t always have a firm grasp on the passage of time. This one finally gets his vengeful ass in gear 50 years too late. Natural causes have already done the job for him. Well, the vamp decides, if he can’t kill the slayers, he’ll replace the flock they staked, his family, with their family. He targets the Stantons’ children and grandchildren, starting with Shayla.

Wallace’s retaliation comes too late. The vampire’s already turned her.

Now Shayla’s joined the undead. There’s no cure. All Wallace and his family can do is take her in, and teach her how to be a vampire. Over the course of the following weeks, as Wallace and Shayla share vampire hunting and blood on the nighttime streets of Los Angeles, the inevitable happens.

It’s not as icky as it sounds. Like I said, this Shayla is a grown woman. She’s roughly the same age Wallace was when he got turned. She knows about her parents’ former vocation. She’s known for years Wallace is a vampire (his failure to age was a dead giveaway). She knows he’s the one who saved her from vampires when she was a child. She even had a crush on him in her teens, though nothing ever came of it. She grew up, left California, had a life, and came back. Now she’s undead and falling in love with a man she’s always admired. Wallace has always been fond of her too, and that fondness quickly grows.

So the threesome becomes a foursome, at least emotionally. (Adult or not, no way Jeremy’s sleeping with someone he remembers as the little girl he used to sing to sleep.) Colleen and Jeremy are good with it, even relieved. Now they can grow old together without guilt, knowing Wallace will have someone to look after him when their time finally comes. The new couple might even find a pretty young man they can share, and start the flock over again.

That’s my happy ending, but I don’t think I can write it. It’s enough for me to know I’m leaving Wallace and his family in a good place. There’s also the time factor to think about. I was able to fudge it with Slayer because it’s a different genre appearing under another publisher. There’s a 25-year gap between Legacy and Slayer, yet both appear to take place in the current now. Somebody’s bound to notice. Either that, or Matt and his siblings were born and matured within the space of a couple years. I know they did that in the final Twilight book, but I try to stay away from Twilight plots.

Maybe I can write the book, stick it in the closet for 10 to 15 years, then shop it around and hope the new generation of readers isn’t swift on math. Or just direct the curious to this blog. That’ll reassure any concerned readers, and save me a lot of time. Life goes on, even for vampires, especially when their creators are willing to twist time, space and logic to guarantee they get their HEA. I wish real life could be manipulated that easily. I’d be a whole lot richer and a whole lot thinner. Wouldn’t we all?


Savanna Kougar said...

Well, that's one workable solution. Heck, I'd just bring in a comet like the one coming in November, a sun grazer they are calling it... and because of its action on the solar system, and on Earth... well life extension occurs naturally now, or, the truth is, there are already good life extension protocols being used, but NOT being given to the public... you can use a certain laser technology shone through a healthy cell, and rejuvenate the body... heck, they could stumble onto an immortality protocol in an underground lab.

Or, play it like you've outlined.

Serena Shay said...

Ah, Pat...Whether you write it or not, I'm relieved to know Wallace won't be alone. He deserves an immortal love! :D

And when the time comes, new digs with hella good water pressure in the shower! LOL, oh wait, that was a hunter of a different sort. ;D

Pat C. said...

They do get the new digs. After Gus dies (heart attack), Annie moves in with her daughter Betsy and turns the house in Hermosa Beach over to Wally and company. More bedrooms, and the vampire den in the basement. Don't know about the water pressure.

Pat C. said...

I don't know if readers would accept the comet solution. It might come off as too much deus ex machina. Real life doesn't always make good fiction.

Pat C. said...

As I recall, Nora Roberts was affiliated with Harlequin for so long she was able to write a sequel to one of her earlier books 20 years later, involving the couple's now-adult kids. So there is precedent. I'm just not sure I'll be around in 20 years. When's that comet coming again?

Pat C. said...

One last comment: Jo gets Dean. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

deus ex machina? ~showing my ignorance~

Yeah, I vaguely recall that about Nora Roberts... of course, when I was reading the historical romance bodice rippers, some of the authors did write about the couple's children because obviously they already had the time frame.

Whatever your authorly instincts, that's the best path.

With the rapid changes occurring in this time period, hey, imo, it's wide open, comet or not. And, the science is already there, and documented as far as life extension solutions.

Serena Shay said...

Yay! Jo & Dean is perfect. ;)

Pat C. said...

Deus ex machina - "God from the machine" - is when God (or some godlike plot twist) comes out of nowhere and solves all the characters' problems for them. Like a comet suddenly appearing and granting longer life to the vampire's human lovers so they can be there for him without becoming vampires themselves. Unless and until it happens in real life, readers aren't going to buy it. I'd be symbolically strung up by reviewers and have to go look for a job. It's easier just to give Wally a vampire girlfriend. Readers would believe that.

I might have to write this after all, if only for the scene where Colleen and Shayla corner Wally in the bedroom, and Colleen gives Shayla a tutorial (with demonstration) on what Wally likes. (Jeremy's out in the other room, watching TV.)

Savanna Kougar said...

Thanks for the explanation!

Ah, yes, I understand that point of view. And, it still might be true for readers, in general. I don't know.

As a reader myself, given the current future trajectory and trends, I would believe in a form of life extension far more than everyone simply dying from old age.

The science is already conclusive, even if its not popularly known. Heck, they've even discovered the immortal gene, or sets of genes.