In two weeks I’ll release my 12th self-published book on Amazon. Well, technically, it’s my 5th actual book since most of what I self-publish are short stories but I digress. The book is Forbidden, and it was one of my most challenging books I’ve worked on. The process was tedious but I’m ecstatic with what I’ve created. Months of research and creating character profiles has resulted in well-told stories that offers the one thing I search for in books, the perfect escape. So, since we’re inching closer to Halloween, the release day for my Forbidden Anthology, I’m ready to talk about the creative process behind it.
I’ve wanted to create an anthology for the longest. My goal since I was in college was to be a part of one of Zane’s future anthologies since her anthologies inspired me to hone my writing craft and pen short stories. I believe anthologies offer that nice mix of scenarios that fit a theme. They’re short and sweet… when done right… and it feels like you’re getting more from less if that makes sense. Most of all what inspired me to write this book was I wanted to have a “guilty pleasure” read in my catalogue.
Not too many creatives are okay with labeling their works a “guilty pleasure” since there is a negative connotation associated with guilty pleasures (not as much now, I guess, since the term is tossed around a lot more lately) but I wanted to have a mix of sweet stuff and just straight naughty since I’m kind of in between myself ?. I based the stories in Forbidden on a bunch of “what if” questions and things I knew readers would feel they’d never do. Watching or reading others do the things you yourself wouldn’t do is thrilling… even if you won’t admit it to anyone else.
When I decided I wanted to do this anthology, I understood off the bat that it would be character driven and not too much reliant on the plot. So research for setting wasn’t all that necessary since the stories are set in New York City and I’m familiar with this city well enough to write accurately about it without having to put hours into learning about it. But the character part us where I invested most of my time. I spent 3 months developing 12 characters who all have different personalities which means they have different voices. The stories are told in first person, so I needed to know these characters like the back of my hand to visualize how they would talk. What they would say and how they would say it. What words they’d use and words they wouldn’t.
I took my time with creating their character voices by giving them detailed back stories, some of them childhoods, and this type of work took the most effort. Because I already mapped out how their short stories would begin and end, this helped with developing the characters as people who could walk off the page. I like relatable characters because they keep my attention. And if they can keep my attention as a reader they will do the same for other readers too. Outlining the stories took another few weeks, and I wrote the story in just under 2 months. What resulted were five stories scandalous by nature and intriguing by default.
I had the cover created as I started work on the stories. I knew before even scouting for design ideas that I wanted the cover to be an artistic creation. Book covers look the same to me with similar cover models. It isn’t totally the fault of the writer. Sometimes this is the only thing that is available and unless an author knows a few models or they’ve got the cash to make respectable deals with photographers who have photos of models, no one else has used on their cover, the search to make your cover fit your vision is a project itself. For this book and my final book for 2017, Mr and Mrs. Jones, both covers are artful creations, depictions of real people.
So for Forbidden, I had my cover model created from my imagination. I searched the internet and magazines for facial features that I found appealing and had the artist create a face based on that. Sounds creepy, but whatever. I’m pretty A-personality for my work, time, and family but interestingly lax about everything else. Anyway, I had the artist create the model and then I sent the drawing to my cover designer for them to turn the drawing into a cover. I had the idea for the cover for a while. I just needed a project to bring the vision to life.
The Ideal Perception
These stories are totally fiction. I may inject some of my philosophies and interests in the characters since I believe it makes them appear realer but they are not real. A few beliefs that make me uncomfortable I made it their philosophy on life. Stuff I completely disagree with, I made them agree with. Actions I could never do, I made that action their first response.
Forbidden is a mental voyage into a world where karma is misunderstood and characters are driven by primal lust. The word lust makes people uncomfortable. Sex in general (the word itself ?) makes some people uncomfortable for reasons I’ll never quite understand… so I always try to deliver both in a relatable way. Forbidden is entertainment. One of those books you can return to more than twice and notice something new about the story. Hidden clues in the characters’ personalities. Things mentioned in their monologues that could lead to extended stories?
All I can say is to read the “Author’s Note” at the end of the book. I have a question that I’ll need you to answer.
Have you read the synopsis? Click here to check it out!