Shadow Hunter Blog Tour-Guest Post with Kait Ballenger
Developing My Hero’s Storyline: The Beginning of Damon Brock
Click HERE for our review of SHADOW HUNTER
When I first started writing the Execution Underground series, I hated Damon Brock.
I began writing the novel which would later come to be titled Twilight Hunter with very little outline. The only two characters of the series I was really familiar with was Jace McCannon, werewolf hunter and hero of the novel, and Frankie Amato, werewolf packmaster and heroine. Aside from these two characters, all I knew was that there were going to be several other members of the Execution Underground Rochester division. I also knew that the division needed a leader, and even though I was writing his story first, that leader wasn’t Jace. It wasn’t until I wrote a scene in Twilight Hunter, in which all the hunters of the Rochester division are introduced, that I came to know the hunters—the five other men who would make up the series. Since I was writing from Jace’s perspective, through his eyes Damon Brock was an asshole.
As the leader of the Rochester division, Damon is Jace’s boss. Damon is in charge of directing Jace and the other hunters, dealing with the division’s communications with headquarters, and of course, his own job of hunting vampires. Jace has a problem with authority figures and always has. I knew when I started writing Damon that immediately he and Jace would not get along. As a result, I wrote the entire book knowing very few things about Damon. My knowledge was restricted to the knowledge Jace has of Damon, which is very little. Honestly, when my agent and critique partner among others said they were excited for Damon’s book my initial thought was: why would you want to read a book about Damon? I was dreading, absolutely dreading the day when I had to write that novel.
Though I knew Damon would inevitably have to have his own book somewhere down the line—after all, he was one of the division members and they were each receiving their own book—I positioned Damon’s novel as the last in the series. I had no clue how to approach his character. When I wrote him into Twilight Hunter all I knew was that he was a bad ass vampire hunter, that he was made bitter seemingly by some unfortunate event in his life (though I didn’t know what it was), and that Jace McCannon was a major royal pain in his ass.
So when Harlequin contracted the first three novels of the Execution Underground series, I still felt I had all the time in the world to learn about Damon’s character. After all, he wasn’t going to have a book of his own until book six and I hadn’t even written book two. Then, Damon’s story came as a huge piece of news from Harlequin.
I received a phone call from my agent, Nicole Resciniti. She told me that Harlequin wanted me to write a 50,000 (or longer) word novella that told the origin story of the Execution Underground and how Damon came to be the leader of the division. What would later be titled Shadow Hunter, a prequel to the series, was going to be placed in a paperback anthology titled After Dark next to New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Gena Showalter. I was stunned by the news and I knew it was an opportunity that I absolutely couldn’t pass up. I needed to write that novella.
The weight of the massive task hit me later that evening once my initial excitement had simmered to a low boil. Not only did I have to write a novella Harlequin considered to be good enough to be in an anthology beside one of the paranormal romance genre’s biggest names, but I had to do it in a month and about a character I knew nothing about. When I sat down to write Shadow Hunter I feared the worst. I had no clue what to write about and I was afraid I wouldn’t meet my deadline, that I’d missed out on the amazing opportunity. Deep down I knew I couldn’t let that happen.
So I got to work. I spent probably a good week of that month planning out the possibilities for Damon’s character (but nothing fit) and begging, practically pleading, with him to tell me his story. Finally, everything clicked and I was able to start channeling his voice.
Describing how I came up with Damon’s storyline is something I don’t think I can put into words. I don’t know where it came from. It must be something on a subconscious level that suddenly and magically clicks into place. For me, if you were to ask me how I came up with Damon Brock’s novella, I’d be forced to say it was part subconscious, part forcing myself to sit down and start typing, and a whole lot of dumb luck.
BIO: Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, bellydancer, graduate student, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published, award-winning author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series. With a B.A in English from Stetson University, Kait is currently earning an M.F.A in Writing. Kait believes anything is possible with hard work and dedication. One day, she hopes to be a bestseller and to see her novels on the big screen. Look for the next two books in her page-turning Execution Underground series: Twilight Hunter, book one (August 2013) and Immortal Hunter, book two (January 2014). For more information, please visit www.kaitballenger.com or follow her on Twitter @kait_ballenger.
Click HERE for our review of SHADOW HUNTER
Back cover blurb for Shadow Hunter:
Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s newest assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer an option when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. Forced to unite against the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they must decide between their lifelong beliefs…and their newfound desires.