When I first began writing the sequel to Out of the Darkness, I thought it would be easy. I already had my hero and heroine. Gerard and Tina were great secondary characters in the first book. They even had a budding romance. What could be better? It took about ten chapters for me to realize their story wasn’t going to work. Tina had a daughter. And Gerard was a vampire.

Why did that bother me so much? Because as the mother of two daughters, I realized a good mother would never put romance ahead of her children. No matter how much Tina was attracted to Gerard, he was a vampire living in a dangerous world between worlds. Would a good mother risk falling in love with a man who’s very existence could put her child at risk? Maybe. But would readers respect or even like a woman who did that? I had a hard time respecting her as I wrote their story. In my opinion, if Tina really cared more for her daughter than herself (which is how I feel about my own children) I figured she’d avoid getting involved with Gerard and she’d be upfront with her reasons. And if Gerard was as honorable as I wanted him to be, he’d respect that. So, I had to find another love interest for Gerard. And that’s when I came up with what I hope is a gripping opening to the sequel, Embrace the Darkness.

The prologue practically wrote itself. I was on fire. I thought I could just keep typing away until the book was finished. But as soon as I sent a rough draft of the first few chapters to my critique partners, authors Andris Bear and Amy Corwin, I realized writing a sequel wasn’t just a matter of picking up where the first story left off. As Amy pointed out, Embrace the Darkness wasn’t Vincent and Megan’s story. It was Gerard and Amber’s story and Vincent and Megan had to take a back seat. And Andris informed me that although I needed to give readers enough information from the first book so the second book would make sense, I couldn’t just dump it all in the first few chapters because it would still be backstory dump, which is a big no-no. So, I had to filter in the elements of the first book that would be crucial in the second book the same way I’d filtered backstory into the first book–a little at a time.

Easier said than done!

A lot happened in the first book. There were good vampires, villains, military operatives, a questionably bad vampire, a potential cure…How did I filter the information in without backstory dump? I figured I had to tell the first of the story from Amber’s point of view. Amber is a new character. She knew nothing about vampires. So after the prologue, I began writing book two in her POV, and things seemed to click…for awhile. Then my characters took over and changed my plot, which left a lot of holes that needed to be filled.

To fill those plot holes, I had to do more research. And I found the answers I was seeking by researching some little known vampire myths. I finally finished the book in July and submitted it in August. And now I’m happy to report, Embrace the Darkness will be released on June 21, 2013.

For those who haven’t read Out of the Darkness, here’s what happened:

And for those interested in Embrace the Darkness, this is what you can expect: