Monday, January 13, 2014

            First thing you need to know about me as a writer, I live to deviate from what is expected of me. This is especially true when I’m writing a series. I love things that surprise me when I’m writing. I think this is why for the second book of my Reaper Series, Balthazar was born. But we’re not here to discuss Unreap My Heart.

            Before we can get into Savor, we need some backstory. Taste was written when Twilight was gaining momentum. I thought to myself, if Stephenie Meyer can do it, then why can’t I? Galvanized by this motivation, I plunged into the world of Barinkoff Academy. Since vampires were hot, and I’m the type to rebel against what’s popular, I took the zombie route.

The Zhamvy were born.

But I didn’t want them to be the regular zombies. I defined them as the walking dead in the sense that they were dying of a decease that was rotting them from the inside out. The only reason they weren’t dropping like flies was their ability to heal.

            With the core of the plot firmly in place, I focused on the characters, giving rise to Phoenix, the hardheaded girl who was too curious for her own good. This made her quite annoying, even to me, because she didn’t seem to have a lick of sense. Those who’d been frustrated with her understand what I mean here.

            Phoenix was caught between two princes.

One who lived to serve his people while the other ran away from the duties that were rightfully his. So, Demitri and Luka were born, both crown princes, both handsome as sin, with two distinct personalities. One had a stick up his butt. It made him anal and uptight. The other was fun loving with a melancholy streak. I was addicted to the both of them because they had their swoony moments.   

            Once the writing was done, I knew Taste was a standalone. Of course, there was a little wiggle room in terms of maybe a second book, but after the manuscript was acquired by Crescent Moon Press and I began editing, the idea of it being a standalone reinforced itself.

            When Taste came out to the delight of many fans, I was surprised that they wanted more. I was just happy that it got published in the first place. For the readers to want more was a humbling experience. And they didn’t just want more, they wanted Luka. Every email I got asked about a second book. Even to this day. All my replies were the same: Taste is stand alone. Funny thing was my publishers wanted a second book as well.

            I thought long and hard about the possibility of a second book. There were so many options. Did I really want to continue Phoenix’s story? I knew she was Demitri’s from the beginning, so the ending of Taste felt right to me. What about Luka? I knew he definitely deserved a book. You should have seen the tantrum he unleashed in my head. It would make the destruction of the music room child’s play. Those who have read Savor know which scene I’m referring to.   

            After the idea of a second book took root in my head, I began thinking about Luka’s story. I knew I needed to do him justice. I love him and he deserves a book (in the case of the Vicious Feast, a series of books) showcasing not only his hotness but his complexity as a character. There are facets of him I haven’t discovered yet and I’m already elbow deep into the series. He continues to surprise me, and I love that.

            Since Luka was already an established character, I needed someone to compliment him. Someone who wouldn’t just fall all over him. Someone with some backbone but was just as flawed. That was when Dakota walked into my life.

            Confession: there is a different Savor manuscript sleeping in the depths of my laptop. It’s completed, but it’s totally different from the Savor out today. You see, when I began writing Luka’s book, I thought I would write two stories with two different storylines. One was supposed to be a paranormal romance while the other was going to be an urban fantasy with romantic elements.

            The first version of Savor has Dakota as a photography student without the eye patch but she has an equally dark past. She cannot bear the touch of other people. When she is given her final assignment of a ten picture nude introspective, she almost drops out of college because of it. This is where her best friend Silvia comes in. She happens to be Luka’s niece, making her Phoenix’s and Demitri’s daughter. Yes, this storyline actually takes place about twenty years after Taste. The Zhamvy are already human. Luka, who has become a famous male model, is the last to transition. His reasoning behind this is that he’s the king. He wants to make sure his people are properly integrated into human society before taking the plunge himself. Because of Dakota’s phobia, Silvia calls in a favor to Luka to help her out. Since he’s a model, he doesn’t mind stripping down for a nude photo shoot. The romance between them grows as Luka helps Dakota get over her fear while he struggles with his transition from Zhamvy to human.

            Like I mentioned above, this manuscript is complete. It is still a little raw and in need of editing, but as far as I was concerned it was Luka’s story. But something wasn’t sitting right with me. The story wasn’t sitting right, so I didn’t submit it to my publisher thinking I’d rewrite. But as the months passed, I still hadn’t found a solution on how to fix the story.

            Then, one day, out of the blue (where I believe the best ideas come from) I realized I needed to start from scratch. I was so excited that it didn’t even bother me that I would be writing an entirely new novel. This is where the Savor you know today came from. I knew in my gut that I couldn’t continue where I left off from Taste. So, I took the characters from Taste with the addition of Dakota and placed them in a new universe. This rejuvenated the story for me. I became excited with the characters again and was curious to explore the world of Vicious through Dakota’s eyes, or should I say eye. *laughs*

            I was so engrossed with the creation of this story that I never thought about the readers connecting it to Taste. I should have added a disclaimer to the back of the book.

            Let this blog post be the official statement:

Savor is in no way connected to Taste.

The only similarity is the characters. I basically relocated them into the universe of the Vicious Feast series. Which I think did the characters a solid good based on the reaction to the book so far. For me, writing shouldn’t be laborious. Of course, there are times when it’s like pulling teeth, but that’s par for the course.

            Okay, this blog post has gone on longer than I expected. *shrugs* I’m longwinded when explaining something. If you still have questions about the series just ask them in the comments section and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

            Let me head you off by saying: as to what they are in the Vicious Feast story?

All will be revealed in book two, Relish.

And the release of book 2?


Like really soon, so continue to stalk me for details. I love stalkers so long as they are not a certain date-from-hell who I’ve finally managed to shake.

            Parting shot: based on my description of the original Savor manuscript, is it something you’d like to read?

If I get enough Hell Yes-s from readers then I’ll release it as another novel separate from the current series. *winks*    

            I hope this post clears up the Taste/Savor connection question.

To recap, they only have the characters in common.

If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, please do so. Feedback from readers can be found here.

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Kate Evangelista is a young adult writer, creative writing teacher, and a mother to six rambunctious cats. Born in the Philippines, she attended college in De La Salle University – Manila and holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Literature and a Master’s in Creative Writing. She got her start in publishing with small presses like the now-defunct Crescent Moon Press until she moved on to medium presses like Entangled Teen and eventually being selected as part of Swoon Reads’ third season of authors. Her debut novel, TASTE, even became an Amazon bestseller. Her latest novel, THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET (Swoon Reads, 2018), was well-received by NPR and is now in the running for a movie adaptation with the A&E Network. She is represented by Jemiscoe Chambers-Black at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
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