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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The demons of A Darker Crimson

So here I am, Carolyn Jewel, guest blogging on Patti's blog, hoping like heck I can be interesting. A Darker Crimson is book 4 in the Crimson City series, and as I'm sure Patti's readers know, Patti wrote book 3, Through a Crimson Veil. My previous books have been historical romances, so when I signed on for Book 4, there were a lot of people saying "Carolyn Who?" Not to mention people wondering whether someone who wrote historicals could pull off a paranormal. Can she? More importantly, did she? Romantic Times gave A Darker Crimson 4 1/2 stars and Top Pick, so I think I did.

Now, in a perfect world, I would be writing comedy. Funny, sparkling books that make people laugh, but every time I try that, by the second paragraph something dark and angsty happens. Suddenly, my characters have tragic skeletons in their closets, they're driven by their demons and hey, speaking of demons, there's a lot of them in A Darker Crimson. (Note the fabulous segue! Don't try this at home. I'm a professional writer and trained to handle these sorts of complex transitions. LOL.)

The biggest challenge of A Darker Crimson was setting. It's one thing to have a demon or two in the Overworld. They're out of place and out-numbered. But in their own territory? The powers demons have in the Overworld had the potential of completely overwhelming my non-demon hero and heroine. That meant that some of the powers of demons had to be limited. My book would otherwise have been short indeed. "They got to Orcus and the demons killed them. The End." So, Patti and I emailed back and forth a lot. She worries she drove me crazy, but I didn't have to worry about driving her crazy. I know I did because I overthink everything. Patti's too nice to say so, but she'd ask me a simple question and get back a dissertation on medieval politics or something. And yet she still talks to me!

Lucky for me, Patti came up with dark demons. Wow. That was so cool I had to use them. Lots of them. Their physical appearance in the natural state is mine (except the too-pale eyes, that was Patti's) their evil darkness is Patti's, but I amplified that in interesting ways. Oh, I just loved writing dark demons. Talk about complexity. What fun!

What else did I steal from Patti? Let's see, the rauthima summons. What a great reason for a demon to have a HUGE grudge against the Overworld! A rauthima summons is used to call a demon into the Overworld for the sole purpose of having sex-- against the demon's will, I might add. And when the demon is done, back he goes. Unless, of course, the summoner makes a mistake or calls a demon who's stronger than he can handle. That happened to one of my demons just prior to the start of my story. He was pretty pissed off about that, and the consequences resonate throughout A Darker Crimson. And the vishtau, I stole that, too, and gave a human-hating dark demon a vishtau bond with my human heroine. For a while I was stealing the auric assassin thing, too, but then it turned out my bad boy dark-demon almost-the-hero was quite bad enough all by himself.

Are all demons bad? Maybe. Maybe not. One of my favorite things to do in a story is play with notions of good and bad. Context changes everything. Demons have a very different view of world, is it wrong just because it's not the Overworld view? Demons are evil, right? Sure, if you're not a demon. But they have some legitimate gripes against the Overworld. That theme occurs throughout the Crimson City series, and I can't want to see what Jade Lee and Liz Maverick do in books 5 and 6.

OK, I confess, I've heard hints. Jade's Seduced by Crimson Chapter 1 is in the back of A Darker Crimson and now I'm upset I have to wait to find out what happens. And Liz has dropped some maddening hints about Crimson Rogue Grrr. I don't want to wait!

Carolyn Jewel