Monday, June 1, 2009

It's Here!

Today, June 1, is the release date for my novel Hunted from Lyrical Press.

I'd like to share with you the story of how this novel got started. Every story starts somewhere, from some seed of an idea or flash of inspiration. Some of my books have stemmed from character ideas, some from interesting situations, and a few from way out of left field.

Hunted began with a kids' cartoon show.

If I were the type to be embarassed about such things, I'd claim to have just been watching cartoons to humor my son. But I'm not, so I'll admit it: I love cartoons. There are a lot of cartoon series out there with great characters, engaging plot lines, and moments of both hilarity and poignancy - particularly in anime and anime-inspired toons. Yes, I have cried at Dragonball Z. And Zatch Bell. And Naruto...

Anyway! The initial seed for Hunted was planted during an episode of a little-known Saturday morning anime-style romp called Xiaolin Showdown. From Wikipedia: Set in a world where martial arts battles and Eastern magic are common place, the series follows four young warriors in training that battle the forces of evil. So, yeah. It's a bunch of kung fu kids fighting the forces of eeeeviiiill. But there's nothing cliche or cutesty about the show.

In this particular episode, the shape-shifting dragon Dojo, usually a minor character who serves as transportation to battles and comic relief, is the focus of the story: it seems that every 1500 years, Dojo has the potential to go on a mindless rampage and plunge the world into an eternity of darkness. This is not something that Dojo can control. It just happens. And the only way to prevent it is for Dojo to build himself a prison and stay locked away for 48 hours until his cravings pass.

(Of course, Dojo does not stay locked up for the full 48 hours. He escapes, grows a second head and tries to eat everyone. Hilarity ensues.)

This got me thinking. What would it take to make someone construct a prison from which they can't escape, and enter it willingly? I thought it would make a fascinating character - someone who is so dangerous that they have to stay locked up for their own good, and the safety of humanity. My brain generated tangents: what if the rest of the world only perceived this powerfully dangerous person as a monster? What would it take to convince him that he should build his own jail cell and stay there on command? What if this person wasn't even human?

Thus, Silver was born. Silver is a monster - or so he's told - and his mother, the angel Lorin, keeps him locked in a prison of his own design when he's not killing Nephilim (half-angels) at her command. These two are the adversaries of my main character, Grace, a troubled runaway who hasn't figured out that she is Nephilim, which is why she has freakish abilities she doesn't understand.

So the next time you need an idea, try watching cartoons. You never know where inspiration waits!


Hunted is available now in e-book format from Once Upon a Bookstore.


Marta Stephens said...

S. W.,CONGRATULATIONS!!! I'm so happy for you.

Isn't wild where ideas come from and what wonderful places our imagination can take us.

All the best.

s.w. vaughn said...

Thank you, Marta! I'm so thrilled.

Before this, I never would have guessed I'd be inspired by a cartoon. LOL

April said...

HUGE congrats S.W.!!! You should be so thrilled and proud! I am going to check Hunted out! As far as cartoons go, I have to say that I watch MANY, lol. Even before I had kids I always thought they were a bit of fun! You just never know where idea are going to spark from!

s.w. vaughn said...

Thanks so much, April!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

I'm on my way to get my copy, SW. You know how much I love this book, and especially Silver. I LOVE Silver - he is the epitome of goodness ensnared by evil - I love that guy. And Gracie (my pet name for her) is the BEST, she's my hero...Congratulations on a major milestone, my friend. And by the way, one of the best things about having kids (and now grandkids) is that we can watch cartoons together! Love 'em!!!

Cheryl said... this one sounds interesting, though this clastrophobic type wouldn't like a prison she couldn't escape from.

Best of luck with your new release.


Sheila Deeth said...

Congratulations, and the plotline sounds great fun. I used to watch Thundercats and HeMan with our kids.

Kim Smith said...

woohoo!! so thrilled to see this book finally out in the world. i am right behind aaron off to get my copy!!!

i think it is fascinating how you got the idea from a cartoon... this tells me i watch too little tv.

Jodi Lee (Morrighan) said...

Congratulations, S. - I am so thrilled for you!

s.w. vaughn said...

Thank you so much, everyone!