Please join me in welcoming Monica Burns here today to Dark Faerie Tales. The second book in her Order of the Sicari series, Assassin’s Heart, is scheduled to be released on September 7, 2010. You can read the first four chapters here and the first three chapters from Assassin’s Honor here.
Berkley has generously provided several copies of both Assassin’s Honor and Assassin’s Heart. Four lucky commentators will have a chance to win a copy of both Assassin’s Honor and Assassin’s Heart. As always, details are listed at the end of the post.
It’s so nice to be here visiting at Dark Faerie Tales to talk about what inspired me as I wrote my upcoming release, Assassin’s Heart. A warm thanks to Angela for arranging the post. When I first developed my Order of the Sicari series, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to write something different. Big, bold and sweeping as my agent calls it.
Over a period of about two and a half years, while writing other things, I worked on the details of my new paranormal series. Some of the first things to roll out of my head in June 2005 were prerequisites that I wanted in my series. I wanted hot guys carrying swords. I also wanted it to be as different as possible because it’s hard to follow really talented authors who write such wonderful vamps, weres, or magical creatures.
In truth, I was struggling to write something paranormal that would be different. Something that would live up to my agent’s expectations of big, bold, and sweeping. I kept digging deep into the depths of my creative mind, and I finally came up with five pages. Five pages about a Roman general and his wife. WHAT??? I was trying to write a paranormal series, not a historical for heaven’s sake. Then I suddenly realized that I had actually written my backstory for the Sicari. I had my bloodline, I had my hot guys carrying swords, I had the perfect villains, and I had a great backdrop on which to bring my heroes/heroines forward into present day times. So I wrote the first book, Assassin’s Honor, which was released this past June.
When I finished Assassin’s Honor, I knew I had to write Lysander’s story. As second-in-command to Ares, my hero from Assassin’s Honor, I knew Lysander was going to be tortured, but I wasn’t really sure how. On top of that, I kept coming back to those five pages with the Roman general and his wife. I loved the connection this couple had with each other. It was evident that the love they had for each other was deep, powerful, romantic, and incredibly sexy. I wanted to use those pages, but the question of how to integrate those five pages was something I had to stew over.
So there I was, ready to write Assassin’s Heart (it was called NO TITLE at the time), and I had zip, zilch, nada. I knew both Lysander and Phaedra as well as my Roman couple (Maximus and Cassiopeia) were critical components of what was happening in the Sicari world, both past and present. But sometimes, it’s really hard to see the forest for the trees one’s lost in.
Nonetheless, I kept plugging away, asking all kinds of questions about the characters, and then it happened. I suddenly realized that the ancient Roman couple were Lysander and Phaedra reincarnated. Writing this book was difficult and easy at the same time. Actually, the ancient Rome pieces of the book just rolled off my keyboard with the ease of slicing soft butter. Lysander and Phaedra’s HEA in modern-day Rome, Italy was more difficult, primarily because of all the plot points that were happening in addition to them realizing that they are the reincarnated founders of the Sicari dynasty. Pretty mind-blowing news for anyone, I think.
One of the reasons why I used the past life twist was because my personal belief structure is such that I believe I’ve lived before. I’ve had too many moments of déjà vue or simple knowing of things that I hadn’t been educated in to not believe. I’ve had moments when writing my historicals I’ll write something down as fact with the intent to research it later. These small minutia are facts I’ve never read before, and my knowledge on them is non-existent. Yet, all of the minutia winds up being dead on target. Some people might find that a bit eerie, but for me, I find it fascinating. I mean look at these two pictures.
A lot of people have told me they find them uncanny likenesses. The girl is me at 14 years of age, while the portrait of the two boys was done by Sir John Millas in 1878. It’s a portrait of the two Princes Edward and Richard who were allegedly murdered by their uncle, who took the throne of England as Richard III (Shakespeare anyone?).
I come across things like this all the time, and it’s one of the reasons why I’ve had past life regression done. I’ve experienced three past lives under regression, and they were hard lives and all of them ended violently. Two of the deaths involved the neck. In one life I was hung, and in the other I was sent to the guillotine. Personally, I think it explains why I’ve never being able to wear a turtleneck or any kind of jewelry around my neck. I wind up clawing at it and feel like I’m going to suffocate.
I tried to transfer these same type of small details between my characters in ancient Rome and their counterparts in present day Rome. Lysander’s horrible scars are very similar to the ones Maximus received in ancient Rome. Using past lives in Assassin’s Heart gave me the chance not only to show the very beginnings of the Sicari, but to explore the concept of soul mates that we see in so many romances. And for Lysander and Phaedra, they have to go to hell and back to get their HEA, but I think what they go through makes their HEA that much sweeter.
An award-winning author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.
Four lucky commentators will have a chance to win a copy of Assassin’s Honor and Assassin’s Heart .
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
So tell me, do you believe in past lives? Soul mates? Have you had a past life regression? Would you even want to know what your past lives were?
1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
4. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
5. Please include your email address in your comment.
6. Giveaway ends Monday, September 13th at 11:59 PM EST.
7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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