I spent many years dreaming of writing around diapers, every-evening dinners, and the amount of laundry only two kids two years apart can create. My sister, Dani Wade, was writing romance novels targeted at Harlequin, and I remembered how that felt, the evolving of a new world, the playing out of a scene across the screen of my mind that somehow, through the miracle of the pen, translated itself to the page. But I didn't try it.
I don't even remember exactly how he came into being. I only remember asking myself, if I could write my fantasy hero, what would he be like? Well, Arik is it. He is dark, sexy, a loner, a male in need of healing and yet the embodiment of strength. He's everything I ever wanted in a book hero. But then I had to write him.
And that's where everything changed. Because I didn't write Arik immediately--I spent three years honing my skill as a writer before I ever let myself touch his story (and yes, for me most stories are about the hero; the heroine is just a replacement for me, lol!). The world of the Archai and the supernatural characters that populated it deserved my best, and I refused to begin the story until I knew for certain I was ready to give that best. So, in a way, Arik is responsible for the writer I've become, not just someone who dabbles, but a committed, skilled author who can finally bring that scene stuck in my head onto the page in a way that makes readers forget they're reading a book and not actually walking along beside the characters themselves.
Wanna know more about Arik? How about a little treat? Here's Arik's introduction in the first chapter of Unbroken. Go on and read it; you know you want to! Indulge yourself with the hero who changed my world. ;)
The roads were rank with the scent of recent rain, exhaust, and unwashed human. Stalking through the midnight-black streets, skirting the circles of light cast by an occasional irritating streetlight, Arik held back an ugly grin at the expressions on the few bums and far-gone club hoppers he happened to pass. No long hair flowing like a curtain behind him, no leather duster flapping in the slight wind--who the hell needed the theatrics, anyway?--but it didn't stop the fear that sparked in the eyes that witnessed his passage through the night. And they should be afraid. He wasn't the only one on the hunt tonight.
His senses flared, humming like a refrigerator on full cold as he followed the shifters' trail through the maze of sidewalks scattered with flashing neon lights and the occasional roar of sound when a bar door opened abruptly. Downtown Nashville was full of nightlife, but the middle-of-the-night cold kept most of the revelry inside rather than spilling onto the streets as it did in the summer. Hunting was harder then, but tonight, with a full group of shifters moving through the heavily traveled area, most of the oblivious population wisely kept their sport indoors and out of his way.
A yellow cab, the "available" light a beacon for customers, passed on the narrow street. A blast of exhaust clouded the air, fucking up his nose, and Arik hissed. The sound startled a drunk on the darkened steps jutting out from a nearby alley, and the man jerked, his bottle of cheap liquor rattling as it hit the concrete. He slid wild eyes in Arik's direction before hastily shuffling farther into the yawning cavern between two buildings. Arik ignored the interruption and continued on.
They were close, he knew, the ones he sought. Not Archai like him. These were the dark ones, the Anigma that had risen in the Great War, after life for the Archai--and Arik--had changed forever. Shifters that had given up their honor for... Well, whatever the hell they'd given it up for, they hadn't won. No shifter had. But still Arik hunted the Anigma. They were his enemy, and he'd be on them in moments.
Turning left at the next corner, Arik allowed his animal to the fore, using his griffin sight to scan the next several blocks. Even in the darkness of this less frequented section of downtown, he instantly homed in on the group of males dispersing at the entry of a local blues bar. The lit sign lazily proclaiming the place to be Lenny's shone on the half dozen black-clad figures entering the building, the rest of the Anigma team fading into the surrounding shadows. Arik had no doubt the males stayed close. When he followed their team members inside, the rest would know.
"Let 'em," he said, low and mean, the animal strong in his voice. Power surged in his muscles, the adrenaline of the hunt, and he found himself standing outside the bar in seconds. Too fast for human eyes to see, but not the Anigma. The whisper of their shifting weights as they noticed him was easily discernible to his sensitive ears. He ignored them and stepped inside.
Over on The Mutual Admiration Society, we have what we call Friday Feature Foto--the first Friday of every month, we feature a character from one of our books, including a photo. Hop over there and check out my personal message for Arik this month!