Sunday, 8 September 2013

Vina Jackson Guest Post: Mistress of Night and Dawn

Todays' guest post is from Vina Jackson, a prolific writing duo responsible for the incredibly successful Eighty Days series......  

By the time we delivered EIGHTY DAYS WHITE, the final volume of the EIGHTY DAYS series, we were both exhausted and run down, mentally and physically. We had completed five more or less 340 pages novels in length in under six months!

What had begun as a proposal for just two volumes, involving flame-haired violinist Summer and conflicted dom and university professor Dominik had, by acquisition time, grown into three novels when two publishers fought over the property and one attempted to trump the other by moving the proffered advance sky high if we committed to writing a trilogy. Which the other competing publisher soon matched...

At any rate, within a few weeks of the first instalment, EIGHTY DAYS BLUE, appearing and hitting the Sunday Times Top 10, our hardy literary agent was already fielding frantic requests for us, as we were still in the process of completing the third volume, to expand the series to a further two instalments. So, with an eye to our bank statements and keeping agent and publishers happy -we are ever so obliging- we agreed to write EIGHTY DAYS AMBER and WHITE, albeit featuring other characters who had made cameo appearances in the initial trilogy as we felt we couldn't string along the tortured, on/off/on/off and so on relationship between Summer and Dominik any further for the sake of our sanity!

All the books continued to be popular with multiple bestseller lists and supermarket shelves appearances and have since gone on to be translated into 21 languages, and at one stage we even had four novels in the German Top 10!

Imagine our sense of emptiness and anticlimax when this writing madness, spurred on of course by the unforeseen demand for quality racy romance in the wake of FSOG, finally came to a halt. Days became long and slow, and we quickly forgot how painful writing the novels had in fact proven. We'd become addicts/writing machines/constant spinners of words. Of course, we had to continue.

But we didn't wish to continue flogging a dead horse, so to speak, and be seen as just a BDSM erotica factory at a time when the E.L. James wave was finally beginning to ebb. We wanted to do something new and innovative, while still retaining our 'brand' for rather stronger sexual moods and quality writing that none of our many rivals could match, according to the majority of reviews.


In EIGHTY DAYS WHITE, we introduced a shadowy organisation called the Network which has a close connection to a mysterious ball which takes place every year in a different location and offers a cornucopia of sex and bizarre happenings. We had thoroughly enjoyed writing all the scenes taking place at the Ball as well as many of the rituals and sex scenes as spectacle throughout the whole series and decided from an early stage we wanted to concentrate on that area of our writing and increase its baroque, phantasmagorical, almost supernatural element. So the Ball became a character in its own right in our proposed new book, which publishers quickly came onboard with, understanding perfectly our wish to broaden the attraction of our novels, without abandoning in any way the erotic elements that had always attracted us.

We imagined how the Ball came into existence, which allowed us to scatter 'action' over the course of the narrative with a series of historical interludes which picture the Ball at play during the course of the centuries. Then we had to come up with the principal characters for the novel's major strand, and had to invent the Ball's hierarchy and rules, with ensuing rebellion against its strictures to power the necessary conflict and arrived at the central character of the Ball's Mistress.

At which stage the story became to take off; not so much wrote itself - one of many cliches of the writing trade - but a tragic prologue dictated the scene and mood, and a baby was born, an heir to the Ball's power, with a nod to Great Expectations, and our 20 emails back and forth a day routine resumed, as we quickly began to stray far and away from our skeletal outline and wander into exciting new directions that just made sense, and swapped scenes with barely repressed excitement as this longer novel, in which some of the Eighty Days characters make new and fleeting return appearances, took flight and dominated our life for a further three months.

The book appears in the UK on September 12th and we hope you like it. As to us, after ensuing breaks in Fiji and the Indian Ocean, we're already concocting something new; we just can't stop ourselves!

Buy link for Mistress of Night and Dawn

No comments:

Post a Comment