OS: Welcome to Sarah Madison! Thanks for stopping by!
SM: The funny thing is, if you’d asked me three or four years ago if I considered myself a paranormal romance author, I would have said no. I mean, I write a little of everything! FBI guys, WW2 pilots, Olympic level sport horse competitors… sure there are some vampires, shifters, and gargoyles thrown in. But all in all, I didn’t think I had what I would call a recognizable brand, and certainly not for shifters and the like. Not like some authors whose logos reflect their love of wolf-shifters, or fans of horror films who can quote lines from every Stephen King movie they’ve ever seen. Heck, I can’t even watch anything too scary on television, let alone read or write about it!
So why then, when Dreamspinner has a sale on paranormal stories, are nearly all my titles listed? How did I back into a genre that I scarcely knew anything about? I don’t like being scared. The hero that could kill you as soon as love you is not romantic in my view. He’s terrifying. And while I can see the appeal of that sort of character, it’s not a comfortable read for me. So why on Earth do I write paranormal romance?
I suspect the main reason I’m drawn to paranormal and urban fantasy stories is because of the world-building. I love the juxtaposition of paranormal events on top of daily life. One of my favorite things to do is ask, “What if…?” That opens the door to so many possibilities for me as a storyteller. Yes, I’ve written straightforward contemporary romances, but to be completely honest, as a writer, I find them a wee bit boring. I’m all about the ‘twist’ to the story that takes it out of the ordinary. And yet I want that ordinary in there too. That’s what makes the story so interesting to me. The possibility that it could happen to any of us—like the TARDIS showing up on our doorstep and the Doctor whisking us away to amazing adventures only to get us back in time for work in the morning.
Crying for the Moon rose out of a misread prompt for a vampire themed anthology. Boy howdy, did I ever misread it! The anthology was looking for a 10 K short about lesbian vampires. Before I knew it, I’d written a novel. The MC was a male vampire and his lover a shifter. *facepalm* When I decided to write a vampire-themed story, I was going solely on my knowledge gleaned from watching the occasional scary black and white movie over the years. I’d never watched or read a modern vampire novel. No Twilight or True Blood for me. I cracked my knuckles and opened Wikipedia, ready update my vampire database when suddenly, I stopped.
I’m a big believer in research. I love doing research. But in this case, we were dealing with fictional creatures. What if I simply wrote them in a manner that made sense to me? What if I wrote them the way I wanted, molding the mythology to my own will instead of the other way around? My goal was to create a world that didn’t draw too heavily on the current trends. The end result was a story which people either loved or hated. The vast majority of readers loved it, calling it a fresh, original take on vampire lore.
I also made a distinction in that story between werewolves and shifters. Shifters, as I defined them, could change at will—and even their clothing shifted with them. My theory is when they shift, they kind of project an image of their shifted form, and that extends to their clothing. Weres, however, are constrained to shift only with the phases of the moon, and since it is a true transformation, they have to shed their clothes first.
When I first started writing the Sixth Sense series, many publishers weren’t making the distinction between paranormal and urban fantasy. I think the paranormal twist in Unspeakable Words caught some readers off-guard when it was released the first time. Now that urban fantasy is well-established as a genre in its own right, the unexpected plot development has been well-accepted. I confess, I love it. I love taking a set of characters going about their usual daily routine and throwing a spanner in the works. The gargoyle on your building that comes to life every night. The chance encounter with an alien artifact that gives you inexplicable powers. The shifter that doesn’t know his origin story and has never met another of his kind. I love how the very ordinariness of a character’s life changes when the paranormal enters it.
And of course, I love the romance.
The revised and expanded version of Unspeakable Words will be re-released on March 10th, 2017.
I’m currently working on the fourth and final installment in the series, tentatively titled Deal with the Devil. Current release date sometime in 2018. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the relaunch of the series, or coming to the party for the first time. I think you’ll enjoy it.
The Sixth Sense: Book One
Special Agent John Flynn is everything Jerry Parker is not: dangerously handsome, coolly charismatic, and respected by his peers. Special Agent Parker is dedicated and meticulous, but his abrasive personality has given him a reputation for being difficult. When new information on a cold case appears, Parker is assigned to work with Flynn, and the sparks fly as their investigative styles clash. Contact with a strange artifact changes everything when it bestows unusual and unpredictable powers on Flynn… and the two men must learn to trust each other before a killer strikes again.
First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Jerry abandoned his conversation with Flynn to look for the owner of the voice from his past. His heart squeezed painfully to a halt at the sight of Derek standing on the sidewalk behind him, only to restart at double-time.
Jesus. Talk about running into your ex.
Derek wore a brown blazer over a tan turtleneck, with a brightly colored scarf carelessly thrown around his neck. Jerry had a momentary spurt of irritation for the affectation and then felt his heart sink. There was no way he could avoid speaking to Derek without looking churlish, and he didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.
“What are you doing down here?” Derek’s voice was inappropriately coy as he raised an eyebrow in Flynn’s direction and gave him the once-over. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”
His sun-bleached hair was overly long and curling at the collar, and Jerry was secretly amused that it appeared to be getting thin on top. Derek had creases at the corners of his eyes as well. Too much time in the tanning booth, no doubt.
He must be having a cow over that.
It must be harder now for Derek to catch the attention of some sweet young ass, unless the young thing was desperate for a sugar daddy.
“Derek Collins,” Jerry said smoothly, “my partner, John Flynn. We’re here on business, Derek.”
This is the guy that I thought I loved once. Boy, was I an idiot.
“Partner?” Derek glanced swiftly at Jerry’s left hand and then gave a little laugh. “Oh, partner,” he repeated without explanation, shooting a sly smirk at Flynn.
Jerry felt Flynn go rigid with tension, like a dog with his hackles up.
Relax. Gayness isn’t catching.
Flynn shot him a wounded look, and Jerry felt ashamed when he realized Flynn wasn’t embarrassed by Derek’s innuendos, he was pissed off on Jerry’s behalf. That was just…. Wow. Warmth suddenly flooded him, and he was both embarrassed and comforted at the same time.
Inexplicably, Flynn’s face relaxed, and a lazy smile appeared. “Yes, partner.” He practically purred as he placed a hand on Jerry’s arm. “Come on, Jer. We don’t want to be late for that interview.”
He guided Jerry away with a decidedly possessive hand on the small of his back.
“What was that about?” Jerry hissed as they left Derek openmouthed behind them.
“That asshole,” Flynn growled. “I can’t believe he cheated on you with a twinkie.”
Jerry stumbled and then laughed. When he quickly glanced over his shoulder, he saw Derek staring at the two of them speculatively. He laughed even harder and clapped Flynn on the back.
“It’s ‘twink’ if you really want to be cool,” Jerry corrected him.
“Asshole.” Flynn repeated the epithet for good measure, sounding pissed off again. “I wanted to punch him, but then I realized what would jerk his chain.” He appeared insufferably pleased with himself.
“You’re an idiot,” Jerry said with amusement. “A nice one, but an idiot all the same.” It’ll be all over town by this evening that I have a hot boyfriend. He fixed a sharp look on Flynn to check his reaction, but Flynn merely whistled innocently. “Come on,” Jerry sighed, not knowing what to make of the gesture. “We’ve got work to do.”
AUTHOR BIO FOR PUBLICATION
Sarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series. Fool’s Gold was voted best M/M romance in the 2016 PRG Awards.
If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.