Fantastic stories—they open up the mind and provide an escape like no other. For ages, people have been mystified by magic, by things not of this world and even the strange things that can be found on this world. It’s all about crossing boundaries.
When I first started writing books, I wanted to cross boundaries. The main boundary I wanted to cross was having characters who are gay, not just in the background, but driving the story. However, in the middle of writing my first novel, I knew I wanted to cross other boundaries. While The Colors of Love and Autumn was a contemporary romantic tale, I wanted to come up with a story between two men who loved each other who were different in other ways. That’s when inspiration for A Cure For Hunger struck.
I grew up on shows about the supernatural, so it only seemed logical that I wanted to write a story about a man with magic in love with a man possessing a consuming bloodlust. That’s how Benjamin Carpenter and Thomas Nighthawk were born. I was still living in Arizona at the time I wrote A Cure For Hunger, and I wanted to set the story in Sedona, a place known for its natural vortexes and its tendency toward alternative beliefs.
The first story focused on an impediment to the love between Thomas and Benjamin, which was Thomas’ difficulty in controlling his bloodlust during lovemaking, and the story revolved around finding a man who claimed to possess a cure for vampirism. I wanted to show the side of love where sacrifices were made and sought to explore how far one person would go to help the one he loved.
Originally, A Cure For Hunger was just supposed to be a one-off. However, my exploration on the Internet one day led me to fascinating tales about a creature called wendigo. With that, I knew the tale of Benjamin Carpenter and Thomas Nighthawk had to continue and decided then to make it a trilogy. Two novels seemed inadequate at that point.
Once I had A Cure For Hunger published, I set out on the sequel, A Cure For Hunger II: Howl of the Wendigo. That story revolved on a friend of the couple, a simple mortal man named Ivan who was fascinated by the supernatural world that Benjamin and Thomas represented. One night, Ivan became intimate with a strange man and soon started to feel strange as a hunger overtook him. That hunger transformed him into a wendigo, a creature with a ravenous hunger that couldn’t be sated.
Howl of the Wendigo also marked my first kill—that is, the killing of a major character. I had created a werewolf character named Todd Kesseldorf, and he ultimately became the disposable character when I needed Ivan to cross the line of innocence and take a life, setting up conflict between the remaining protagonists. Once I wrote the scene where Todd was killed, I was stunned, as though I’d actually gone out and snuffed out someone’s life myself.
With two fascinating tales of romantic love and friendship love tangled with oogly-booglies and enchanting spells, I knew I had to think to come up with a final chapter to the vampire-witch romance. I had set up certain things in the first two books. One, Benjamin’s magical belief system only allowed him to inherit one active power from his father and one from his mother. Two, there was a tale about the end times and how they would come to pass. With those two items in mind, I decided to make the third story truly “The End.”
I had a hell of a time coming up with a proper name for the third book, at least beyond the Roman numeral. The story was clear—after two installments of Benjamin swooping in to save the day, I wanted him to be the one that needed help. After several name ideas seemed inadequate, I finally came up with A Cure For Hunger III: Darkling in Abeyance.
I started setting up Benjamin’s fall from grace in the second book, first by causing consternation at the discovery of another active power from his mother’s side, something that was supposed to be taboo. Then I really knocked him for a loop with revealing a prophecy that proclaimed he would be the one to destroy the world. Darkling in Abeyance followed Benjamin’s efforts to cheat fate, and when he’s unable to do so, how Thomas and his friends go to hell and back to bring the world back to life.
All in all, I believe my foray into writing about the supernatural was a success. The trilogy tends to be one of my more common sellers when I go to fairs and book events. I think it’s because people love to believe in fantastic stories. Boy meets girl/boy falls in love with girl has been done to death, and other stories tend to avoid outlandish twists, like someone getting murdered after a UFO malfunctions and falls out of the sky to crush him. We love tales that cross boundaries.
While I didn’t stick exclusively with writing paranormal novels, I did come out a couple of years ago with one set in Wittenberg—Bittersweet in the Shadows. I’ve mentioned it several times, but I’m also working on a fantasy novel currently called Hex of the Dragon Fruit. The urge to cross boundaries is still there.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to find a book that tests our beliefs in the natural world. Whether it’s science fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal or even just the tale of a little girl getting whisked to a magical land with yellow brick roads and emerald cities, I believe everyone should cross the line at least once in their life.
What story will you choose?
(More on the A Cure For Hunger trilogy can be found here.)