The Crimson Corset is a vampire novel, but to me, it is more than that. It is a representation of human descent, the power of influence, the corruption of greed, the savagery of addiction, the lust for domination … it is a representation of the human will, and a testament to the strength of family ties.
It is, after all this time, the story I wanted to tell – the story I meant to tell the first time.
Edits will begin this Monday, and as I start cutting the fat, sharpening the plot, and strengthening the characters, I can’t help but think back to this novel’s humble beginnings.
Although The Crimson Corset is a “new” book, it isn’t actually new at all. My history with this story is a long one, going clear back to 2005, when the idea of writing seriously was just a budding concept. I’d always written, and I had the boxes and bags full of poems, vignettes, and uncompleted novels to prove it, but by 2005, these side-projects left me cold. I was no longer satisfied with hobby-writing. I wanted to do something more – something that I felt had some substance. This was when the concept for The Crimson Corset was born. I began writing it immediately … and I quickly learned that novel-writing is not as effortless as it appears to be.
Although I completed this novel (which was then titled The White Room) in 2010, I had a very long road ahead. Long enough that, had I known it then, I might not have dared to take. But, rather blindly, I kept walking that road, and during the next ten years I found my voice, refined my style, honed my craft, and was lucky enough to collaborate on some incredible projects with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne. I love collaborating with her and I intend to do it until the very end, but collaborating was never my goal. I would never be satisfied if I didn’t also have a body of solo work.
I began thinking about The Crimson Corset again in January of this year because Tamara and I had finished our collaborative novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, and we had several months of less creative, editorial work ahead of us. I had the completed version of The White Room and I thought I could certainly make a strong novel out of the existing material. However, the more you write, the better you become, and as I looked at the manuscript I realized there wasn’t much that could be salvaged. So I started it from scratch – one more time – vowing that I would make it the best story it could possibly be. I changed the narrative from first to third person, re-developed the characters, created a new setting, and weeded out all but two or three minor scenes from the original version. This is not the same book I wrote six years ago.
Many of the characters that populate this novel have been with me for a very long time now. Gretchen, Cade, Brooks, Winter, and Michael all go back as far as ten years in my imagination. Also, having improved my skills, I was able to cohesively give stage time to some of the others who got lost in the previous versions. Scythe, Aidan, Ambrose, Chynna and her two white tigers, Absinthe and Hyacinthe, were all conceived and developed between 2005 and 2008, but were never able to make it to the page before now. And there are new players, as well. There are the “mermaids” Violet and Scarlett, the cryptic and terrifying Emeric, Winter’s little buddy Arnie, the Crimson Cove sheriff, Ethan Hunter, and the local “missing girl,” Samantha Corbett, to name a few.
Old or new, each of these characters has his or her own story, his or her own soul, and learning about them was truly joyous for me. They all signify a part of myself – good, wicked, and otherwise. Some express for me that which cannot, for various (and in some cases, legal!) reasons, be expressed in the material world, while others are just innocent flirtations with my dark side. But all of them are real; all of them are part of my truth.
Regarding publication, The Crimson Corset will be available this summer. I wish I knew an exact date, but it’s too early to say. As soon as I have one, I will post it. Next Friday, I have a meeting with the cover art designer who will finalize the cover’s details, and after that, I’ll be allowed to post the art. I have seen it, and it is beautiful. In closing, I have to give great thanks to two very wonderful people who have helped me with this book: My collaborator, Tamara Thorne, who guided me, read for me, and continues to help me be a better writer. As a side note, for those who are fans of Tamara Thorne’s vampire novel, Candle Bay, you’ll be tickled to see a few familiar faces in The Crimson Corset, as well. Finally, thank you to Berlin Malcom, who gets us all the good interviews, and works as hard as we do to make this happen.