Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Author Guest Post: Abby Niles

Casting Characters
It took me awhile to get the characters straight for The Awakening series. After the idea for the series took root, I started writing. I’d originally planned for the series to go in this order: Liam, Blake, and (I honestly can’t remember the third name, but it wasn’t Britton). Liam is the only character whose name hasn’t changed. I think that’s because the original idea came from his conflict.  
My CP’s played a pivotal role in Aidan’s story. I quickly realized after I posted the first chapter on my crit loop that I had jumped the gun. I had it in my head what I was trying to do, but in hindsight, I don’t think I even knew all the ins and outs of the mating idea I was building. 
I’m typically a pantser. Now with contracting books, I’ve had to go outside my comfort zone and actually write proposals without writing the book. But at this time, I was still a full pantser. My first draft is my outline. I spend that time getting to know my characters, the story and the conflict. Second draft is where I build on these things. I found myself in a very odd place. I had this idea for a story, but was having a heck of a time executing it. 
I knew Liam had issues. I knew the basic idea of these issues, but I didn’t know the in-depth stuff. After a couple of brainstorming sessions with my awesome CP’s, I knew I needed a therapist. 
Not for me, though I probably do need one, but a therapist for Liam. Aidan had originally been named Blake, and the tone I’d set up for him in those couple of chapters no longer matched the tone of this story. Blake was scratched and Aidan was born. 
Blake was a more gruff character. Aidan was more laid back with an easy smile. I immediately clicked with Aidan, and knew changing directions had been the correct thing to do. 
So I had my hero and therapist. Now I needed a heroine and a conflict. What if the heroine is the therapist and she’s become completely jaded on shifter mating?
Jaylin flourished from that. 
She became a psychiatrist who works with the rejected and widowed mates, trying to help them cope with their new way of life. After spending years dealing with the negative, including watching her mother and aunts change for the worst after the death of their mates, Jaylin has become blinded to the positive side of mating. She never wants to bond. She just wants to marry and save herself and her mate from the devastating life-altering effect death has on the bonding. 
Aidan is a shifter. All shifters carry an instinct within them that only stirs when they are face –to-face with their true mate for the first time. Of course, his instinct stirs the moment he opens the door and finds Jaylin standing outside. Jaylin, being an expert in her field, knows what happens and is blunt in telling him that she will never bond. Aidan is then faced with the possibility of winding up just like his friend, Liam, who has been rejected by his mate after he bonded himself to her. Aidan goes on a journey of trying to prove to Jaylin that the bonding isn’t this awful thing she’s built in her head while also fighting the unrelenting instinct to bond to her just in case he fails to do so. 
Words aren’t going to be what opens Jaylin’s eyes. She’s seen too much heartache, been through too much as she helped others try to cope. She needed someone who would shake her beliefs, make her doubt everything she ever believed. And that is where Raphael comes in.  
While I wrote The Awakening: Aidan, my understanding of this world became clearer and readied me for writing the next two books. I’m very excited to eventually share Liam and Britton’s story. If it wasn’t for Aidan and Jaylin, I don’t think this series would’ve ever came together the way it did. 
I wanted to take a moment to thank Jet for having me today! It’s been a real pleasure! 
About the author:
Abby Niles has always loved to read. After having twins and becoming a stay-at-home mom, she started doodling stories to keep her sanity. She didn’t plan for writing to become an obsession, but it did. Today, she juggles work, home life, and writing. It’s not always easy, but hey, who said life was easy? When Abby’s not writing, you can find her playing ‘Just Dance’ with her kids or trying to catch up on her never-ending to-be-read list. She also loves Zumba, and refuses to admit she looks more like Animal doing his Muppet flail than a sensual Latin dancer.
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