Book Nerd Guest Post
A few days ago, I saw a glowing review of The Dead Seekers that really kicked my "pondering" mechanism into gear. I read the review, looked at the book’s cover, and thought, "Huh. So, that happened."
People often ask us, "Where do you get your ideas," and I have no idea how to answer.
The Noble Dead Saga was a long labor of love, carefully planned and constructed. When we were in negotiations for the final three books of the series, our editor said, "This series has gone on soooooo long. Do you think you could you condense the last three books into two?"
J.C. and I talked and realized that we could. But then, our editor said, "We also want to contract for the first book of a new series . . . for after you finish the saga.”
We agreed and gave this no more thought at the time. We were too focused on the saga.
We wrote First and Last Sorcerer, and later we started The Night Voice, and then we realized it was time to pitch something for a new series. We were told we should have at least three ideas. We worked hard writing up proposals for two series we’d been discussing for years, but we were stumped for a third. As I woke up one morning, I had an idea for a misanthropic ghost-hunter on the dark, dripping eastern continent of our world . . . and his partner would be a shape-shifting young woman. I wrote something up and showed it to J.C. He did some revision and passed it back. Honestly, I think he was just relieved that we had a third proposal. We sent all three proposals to our agent.
Two weeks later, our agent called and said, "Two of these aren't very commercial, but this one called The Dead Seekers is good. This would sell. I think we should show just this one to your editor."
We were so surprised. He’d picked our “after-thought.” But we trusted his instincts, and he wasn’t wrong. Our editor loved the idea.
But J.C. and I really hadn't discussed this story or these characters much, and our process for this book was so different. We normally have a 60+ page outline before I ever start drafting.
If you can believe this . . . we ended up with a three-page outline, just the absolute basics of a plot and ideas for the three main characters—and a villain.
I started drafting, and as I finished chapters, I passed them to J.C. He’d revise and then send me further ideas for character development and properties for the villain. This process felt odd, but we developed a lot of this novel as we wrote it. We’d never done that before.
Once the first draft was done, we did a full revision, and then submitted it. However . . . there had been some changes at our publisher in the meantime, and we had a new editor who didn’t know us. She didn’t know our writing. We were nervous and weren’t sure what to expect.
She read the book and emailed us. “This is good.”
The process continued from there. There is always the same moment for me when a book becomes real. It’s the moment when I first see the cover. When our new editor sent us the cover that Steve Stone (our artist) had created for The Dead Seekers, I had to sit down. He’d captured the characters. He’d captured the feel of the world.
A few days ago, I read the first professional review of the novel—as I’m writing this in December, and reviews are just now coming in. A copy of the novel is sitting beside me here on my desk.
Art is a tangible thing, and it seems astonishing to me that an afterthought that arrived one morning in a “crunch time” of desperation has somehow become an exciting novel with a beautiful cover . . . that is garnering good reviews.
Again, all I can think is, “"Huh. So, that happened."
In the dark reaches of the eastern continent, Tris Vishal travels from village to village, using his power to put unsettled spirits to rest. He works alone, having learned that letting people close only leads to more death. Still, he finds himself accepting the help of the Mondyalitko woman who saves his life a woman whose gifts are as much a burden as his own.
Mari Kaleja thirsted for vengeance since the night her family was taken from her. She has searched far and wide for the one she thinks responsible, known only as The Dead s Man. But before she can kill him, she has to be sure. Mari hopes traveling with Tris will confirm her suspicions. But as they embark on a hunt where the living are just as dangerous as the dead, she learns the risks of keeping your enemy close...
Because it s no longer clear who is predator and who is prey."
Praise for THE DEAD SEEKERS
“The gorgeous cover of this book provides a glimpse into the engrossing and riveting dark world the Hendees have created in the first novel in the Dead Seekers series. Tris and Mari are loners whose lives intertwine, and born out of vengeance, an unusual partnership is created. Mari is the protector as they traverse a landscape rich in detail, filled with horror and darkness, but enlightened by goodness. Tris and Mari are both characters damaged by their pasts, and the tension mounts as they test their motives and loyalties to each other. The action starts early and suspense is maintained throughout as high peril and danger propel the storyline to the thrilling conclusion, where the door is left open for future adventures.” –RT Book Reviews