Writing Reapers Was All A Mystery To Me
I didn’t orginally sit down to write a book about reapers. Reapers aren’t sexy. Reapers are death. And skeletal. And…grim. I first tried writing about vampires because, well, VAMPIRES. When I gave the first 30K of my first real novel attempt to my BFF, her reply was, “It’s good, but what makes it different?”
Erm, nothing. Same old story. Same old (okay, old but HOT vampires). I needed something different. Something that might stand out in a crowded field of paranormal monsters in love.
I chose reapers. And then I set out to make them better. Still human-looking but human DELUXE! Lots of dark potential there. I sat down and got to work making a world for them to live in, threw in some demons, an evil fallen angel and the Reaper Series was born.
Reap & Repent is Deacon and Ruth’s story.
Once I started writing, it didn’t take long for Deacon and Ruth to take over. I wasn’t telling their story. They were telling their story. About halfway through, I realized we all three needed a plan and finally sat down and organized all of the sticky notes, which had previously been decorating my car dashboard, writing cave desk and notebooks. I typed them up and printed them out.
HOLY COW, I had a plot! So THAT’s how that happens.
From that point on, I put Deacon and Ruth in peril, threw roadblocks in their way, and let their love grow until I reached the end, some eighty thousand words later.
And THE END ends with one of my favorite things.
If you’d like to see how it all plays out, here’s your chance. Book one of the reaper series, Reap & Repent, is available now. Here’s a taste.
Lisa Medley writes reapers. The grim kind. Her urban fantasy romance, Reap & Repent is available now in a Harlequin E Box Set with three other Harlequin debut authors. A lover of beasties of all sorts, she has a farm full of them in her SW MO home including: one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig. Not so in love with the guinea pig. She can do ten pushups IN A ROW and may or may not have a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case.
Reap & Repent Blurb:
Deacon Walker is a burned out loner, whose two hundred years as a reaper have left him empty inside. But when he meets Ruth Scott, a gorgeous shut-in with unusual gifts, he’s forced to set his career complacency aside to train her for a destiny she never knew existed. Soon the two will face the ultimate test: a battle against demons determined to destroy humanity, one soul at a time.
Prologue from Reap & Repent:
What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him.
For all that’s holy, move the hell along already.
It had been a long week, and it wasn’t over yet. He needed to make at least one more pass through the hospital circuit before he could call it a day. He could already feel the tug of a freshly departed soul. Again. People were dropping like flies lately.
He massaged his brow, trying to soothe his exhausted patience as the line inched forward at a snail’s pace.
He was worn thin. Over the past few weeks, three demon soul poachers had popped up in his fair city of Meridian like poisonous mushrooms after a hard rain. While it wasn’t unheard of for one to slip out from Hell every now and then, three was a nightmare.
When it got topside, a demon’s M.O. was to steal a human body, poach a few souls from the dead and dying, and then make its merry way back to Hell, taking its host’s soul along for the ride. The only way to save the souls a poacher was carrying was to behead the host with a scythe. Not a pretty thing to do, but the poor suckers were too far gone by then to survive anyway. No human could withstand the pressures of being ridden by a demon. And it was worth it to save a handful of souls, not to mention inconveniencing the demon.
Deacon refused to lose any souls from his territory. At all.
So far the score was Deacon, 3. Demons, 0.
As a reaper, carrying souls to Purgatory for judgment was his job and he wasn’t about to cede his territory to poachers who used up their hosts like they were disposable Tupperware. So now, in addition to his normal day job, he also had to keep an eye out for more demon invaders.
While demons burned through most human hosts in a matter of days, some in a matter of hours, they had discovered long ago that under the right circumstances they could ride a reaper. Of course, they couldn’t just worm their way in like they did with humans—they had to be invited. But once a deal was struck? They were in.
And reapers? Yeah, they could hang on for decades inside a reaper. Deacon knew that fact firsthand.
His stomach twisted at the thought, but he shook it off, looking ahead with a heavy sigh.
Seriously, this line? Still. Not. Moving?
God, he needed a freakin’ vacation. Extended. He dragged a hand through his hair in frustration as his mind flipped through postcard-esque locations of reapings past. He snarled at the thought of New Orleans in summer. He would definitely want to go someplace cool—cool as in frigid, not hip. He was sick of the heat, and it was only the beginning of summer in the semitropical Midwest.
Come to think of it, he was sick of a lot of things.
This place was high on the list. It was as hot as…well, Hell actually. Or at least what he imagined Hell to be, although he’d never actually been there. Thank God.
Steam rose from random cracks in the stone floor of the underground station, veiling the place in a humid sulfur stench.
He pushed forward, finally making his way to the front to deposit his cargo of souls. He didn’t bother chatting. In. Out. Move on. It was a motto that served him well.
Mission completed, he hustled through the crowd, forgoing the bar-side frivolity of some of the more socially inclined reapers and their small talk about their glory days in the field or—even better—the missteps of the newest reapers. Newbies often tested their limits to humorous if not disastrous effect at least once in their early careers. That was exactly why new reapers had mentors or at least worked in teams. From all the laughter, he could tell that the stories were good ones. It didn’t tempt him.
He slapped his palm against the black granite monolith and flashed out of Purgatory to what he prayed was his last stop of the day.
BUY LINKS: Reap & Repent is available March 3, 2014 in a Harlequin E Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Box Set with the works of three other amazing new Harlequin authors! Reap & Repent will be available for single-title release June 2, 2014.
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