Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Long and Winding Road to InDescent

When writers weave new tales, they often behave like birds in nest-building mode. A scrap from here, a shred from there, a bit of bling and string that have been used before in some other capacity. I've been watching wrens, barn swallows, and bluebirds doing their spring gathering all over our property.

I'm no less a scavenger, except that I try not to lay eggs. ;-) Characters, places, and relationships that had their origin in previous books turn up in InDescent. It isn't necessary to read all of the novel's source material -- not if I've done my job properly -- but some people have expressed an interest in "what came before." So here it is.

  • Adin Swift. Now Jackson's lover, Adin first appeared (and both men first appeared together) in Plagued, from Ellora's Cave. This book details Adin's personal history, including the course of his relationship with Celia, his live-in girlfriend. The men reappeared in Tormented (Changeling Press) on the occasion of Adin's 30th-birthday party. Next came Obsessed (also from Changeling). Each book marks a significant stage in their relationship. If, however, you're only interested in getting the gist of their backstory, read Obsessed. It's a good but not necessary lead-in to InDescent.

  • Angelina Funmaker. Jackson's best female friend, the biracial Angelina was born a hermaphrodite (intersexual person). Thanks to Jackson's financial support, she secured the drugs and medical procedures necessary for her to become a "complete" female . . . and a stunning one. Angelina makes her first appearance when Jackson makes his -- in Hoochie Coochie Man, from Double Dragon Publishing. Angelina also appears in other stories.

  • Ivan Kurtz and Bothu. This self-styled "mage" and his occasional sidekick, the creepy necromancer, also made their first appearances in Hoochie Coochie Man. Ivan was every bit the envious, profane, self-important blowhard in the first book that he is in InDescent. Although he aspires to villainy, he never quite makes the grade. He and Bothu seriously crossed Jackson in HCM, and they both suffered for it. But egotistical Ivan never seems to learn his lesson.

  • the psychic medium, Sophie Alanca; her boyfriend, Sonny Brock; her spirit guide, Esme. All three characters had their own story in Cemetery Dancer, a 2008 EPPIE finalist from Ellora's Cave. Jackson helps Sophie out of a dire situation and, in the process, incurs Sonny's (unwarranted) jealousy. They've since become good friends.

  • Fog Cliff Cemetery and James Newman's mausoleum. These, too, are integral to the Cemetery Dancer storyline. In fact, a BIG clue regarding who caused the break in the Prism of Nezrabi is in Cemetery Dancer.

As I said above, it certainly isn't necessary to be familiar with all these novels and novellas to grasp what's going on in InDescent. This post is simply meant to illustrate how three-dimensional certain characters become after a while, and how what went into the making of them isn't much different from what goes into the making of any living adult.

You're right. We're weird.

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