Guest Blog Post: BREE DESPAIN


As a special treat for this Happy St. Patrick's Day, I have a guest post from author, BREE DESPAIN. The final book in Bree Despain's Dark Divine series, The Savage Grace, has arrived in stores on March 13th and I am more than happy to share with you Bree's thoughts on writing. So, without further delay, sit back and enjoy the following post.


Writing the end...

I’m going to let you in a on a little secret.  Writing a sequel is hard.  THE LOST SAINT, book two in the Dark Divine trilogy, kicked my butt.  I often refer to it affectionately as “the book that ate my soul.”  I’d spent four years (off and on) writing the first book and now, in the midst of marketing book one, I was expected to produce a second book in matter of months.  I’d spent almost a decade learning how to write a first book—but a sequel was a whole new beast (sort of) and nobody ever offers a class on writing one.  As I spent many long, sleepless nights in front of the computer, I’d think to myself: If I can only get through writing this second book, surely writing the third book will be cake compared to this.

Heh.

Writing THE SAVAGE GRACE, the third and final book in the Dark Divine trilogy, turned out to be anything but cake.  It did have some warm gooey goodness to it—the easier parts—like having an excellent handle on my characters’ voices, and already having TWO published books under my belt so I could try to tell myself that my writing career wasn’t just a fluke.  But once again, I learned quickly that writing a third book in a trilogy is a different animal than writing a first, or even second, book.  And this beastie had claws. And fangs.  And a penchant for getting bloodthirsty during the full moon.

There were four big issues that I needed to tackle in order to tame this monster into something I could hand readers—and not fear for their lives while they read it. 

#1:  A whole lot of threads are created over the course of three books, and they all (or at least most) need to come together in a really satisfying way.

 #2:  Is it just me, or do the last books in a series have a whole lot more climax in them than other books? 

#3:  All those characters I’d created over the last two books—not to mention the like DOZEN more I decided to add in the third book (why? Because I am a glutton for punishment)—need to come full circle and reach for their true potential.  Some of them will make it. Some of them willsurpass it. Some of them will fail—and some horribly so.  Some of them will even die.

And #4: Knowing that when I typed the last words of book three, it would mean I was saying goodbye to a set of characters who’d been living in my head ever since a cold, dark, night in January of 2005 when they first started telling me their story.

It was this last obstacle I found the hardest to conquer.  I couldn’t quite bring myself to say goodbye yet—and I kept putting off writing the final two chapters of the book.  (And much to my editor’s chagrin—I kept turning in the manuscript drafts without the ending.)  When it came time to turn in the final draft, I still couldn’t bring myself to write the end.  I wanted it to be perfect. For my characters.  For my readers.  For my editor.  For myself.  And the words just weren’t ready to come out yet.  Once again, I turned in the draft without the last two chapters.  Only this time I didn’t warn my editor that the ending was missing.  I figured it would take him at least a week to get through the draft, and in the meantime I could get some sleep, and then have a few days to sit down and try to craft the “perfect” ending to the book.  However, to my surprise, my editor finished the draft in only about five hours and sent me an email saying, “I still have a couple of questions . . . but I LOVE the ending!”

To which I responded, “Um, but that’s not the ending.”

I then had to give a sheepish explanation to my editor about my plans to finish the book while he was reading.  I told him that what he had read as “the end" was just the wrap up of the action.  There still needed to be more resolution with the characters.  They needed their “perfect” ending!  To this my editor responded, “Well, I NEED the ending by tomorrow morning.  The book is in copyedits already!”

So running on about four hours of sleep in about as many days, and armed with a mountain of chocolate covered cinnamon bears and a couple of 5 Hour Energy Shots, I spent one very long night tackling what had seemed impossible for the last few years—writing the end of the series, and saying goodbye to several almost-people I had grown very fond of over the last seven years.  I forced myself to stop overthinking it so much, and wrote what felt natural for the characters.  I still don’t know if it is the “perfect” ending, or if the “perfect” ending is even something attainable—but I did find a lot of joy when a close friend finished an advanced copy of THE SAVAGE GRACE and she called me up to say, “I think you got the ending just right.”

I hope the rest of my readers will agree.

Thank You Bree, for taking time out of your busy schedule and giving us this wonderful post. It is always a pleasure having you here. Stay tuned for the Savage Grace review and giveaway coming soon. 

03/13/12
THE SAVAGE GRACE
The Dark Devine, Book Three
by Bree Despain
ISBN-13: 978-1606842218
EgmontUSA, 496 pages.
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A troubled soul. An impossible choice. A final battle.
Wrestling with the werewolf curse pulsing deep inside of her, Grace Divine was finally able to find her brother, but it nearly cost her everything.
With her boyfriend, Daniel, stuck in wolf form and Sirhan's death approaching, time is running out for Grace to stop Caleb Kalbi and his gang of demons. If she fails, her family and hometown will perish. Everything rests on Grace's shoulders.
The final installment in The Dark Divine trilogy brings Daniel and Grace's love story to a breathtaking conclusion.

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