Saturday, July 20, 2013

Enchanted Orb - Cheryse Durrant on Unleashing the demon within…


Cover art by Ran Valerhon
Art by Ran Valerhon
This week we're lucky to have a visit from paranormal romance author
Cheryse Durrant. With her first book, and the first book in her Heart Hunters trilogy newly launched in e-book form, and soon to appear in paperback, please welcome Cheryse as she tells us how she went about



Unleashing the demon within...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A child’s fingers curled around the outside rim of a partially-open coffin… my courageous Heart Hunters heroine Shahkara evolved from this single, spooky image after it flashed through my mind more than five years ago. Those tiny, lifeless fingers didn’t belong to my Shahkara, but their discovery forced her to unearth and expose a horrifying cover-up.

That moment of inspiration, that Enchanted Orb, led to ideas and questions that had to be answered before my pen could hit the page. My ‘barest of bones’ puzzle included:
  • Why were children going missing – and why was the child corpse found with its chest ripped out?
  • What was the secret that forced Shahkara to fear herself even more than the evil Taloners devastating her homelands?

As I jiggled away at the broken images and half-baked cookies scattered inside my mind, I discovered the answer: My Taloner demons fed off human hearts. That’s why they plagued Shahkara’s homelands, and why an insidious Taloner had infiltrated the castle – to slay humans for his own hungry desires. My Heart Hunters were born.

Cover art by Ran Valerhon
Of course, I still didn’t know how my demons killed their prey, but that secret lay in my subconscious. Why did I name them Taloners? They had to have… talons. These super-strong, super-sharp claws, concealed between their knuckles, enabled them to rip out a heart with a single snatch.

My first Heart Hunters exploration was a short story chronicling Shahkara’s discovery of a demon lurking within her royal castle. The twist: my Shah was hiding her half-Taloner bloodline (and its associated cravings) in order to protect her subjects.

Once I ended my original short, I kept wondering: What happens next? How will Shahkara destroy the blood-thirsty Coven? How will she cope with the spiralling heart hunger that rides her blood? That’s how my novel, The Blood She Betrayed, about to be published by Clan Destine Press, was born.

Again, the answers to my questions hounded me for yet more solutions:
  • What if Shahkara discovered there was an ancient artefact, a death lantern, which could destroy all those heart-devouring Taloners in a single blast?
  • What if that artefact was hidden on earth and she was forced to travel through a portal to find it?
  •  How would a royal princess from medieval Gorias cope with the bizarre, technological minefield of Brisbane, 2013?

I upped the ante by strengthening Shakara’s motivations – she lives with the guilt of ripping out her fiance’s heart the night before they were wed. Now she’s an exiled princess desperate to find the lantern that will, by saving her people, salve her condemned conscience.

Art by Ran Valerhon
All Shahkara needed now was a little more conflict – and some love. An image of geeky billionaire Max McCalden flashed through my head. He’s the first boy-man she connects with when she arrives on Earth (um, she catches him after he falls from a balcony).

Max becomes the one person she can trust, but his friendship and tantalising heartbeats become a temptation she struggles to control. The more she relies on him, the harder it is to deny her heartlust – and one human heart in particular!

Although my novel, The Blood She Betrayed, and my Heart Hunter series, started with one thought-provoking image that flashed through my mind many years ago, it has been the piecing together of image upon image, question upon question, concept upon concept, that has created the rich tapestry of my Heart Hunters world that I now invite you to enter.

Email me at cheryse (at) quietdawn (dot) org and I’ll add you to my mailing list to be part of The Blood She Betrayed promotional giveaways when my paperback is launched next month. Until then, may the Enchanted Orb be with you, filling your life with magic, and ideas, every day.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bio:  Cheryse Durrant grew up on an Australian cattle property where she invented stories about scrub faeries and imaginary superheroes. She wrote her first prose on her aunt's bedroom wall at the age of five but it did not attract literary acclaim. She worked as a journalist for 15 years before trading her soul for fiction. The Blood She Betrayed, is her first Urban Fantasy novel, and is described by Vampire Diaries creator LJ Smith as ingenious and unique. A caffeine and Twitter addict, Cheryse shares her love of writing and all things spec fic at:

@cherysedurrant  (Twitter)
 

6 comments:

  1. Hello Cherie,

    I'm new to blogging and just tried to comment using my wordpress account that I set up for my uni course, but it didn't work, so I am typing the comment again and I will have to use the anonymous title at this stage.

    I think your book is fantastic! I never new that the singular image of the hand coming out of the coffin inspired such a wonderful story.

    As a child, I actually saw the same hand-coming-out-of-coffin image in the 1940s film Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein, but I think Shah and Max are much cuter than Bela Lugosi's Dracula that emerged from the coffin in that film!

    I can't wait to read the next two books in the series!

    <3 Guess Who?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I must have ESP... Hello Alina! I'm delighted you enjoyed The Blood She Betrayed. The image of the lifeless child's hand curled around the rim of the coffin was a tad different to this post's image but it's etched on my mind for life. I'll have to brush up on my old films as I haven't seen Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein. There's a lot of movies I missed out on - that's what comes of growing up on a farm where we only had one TV channel, but at least I was able to enjoy the important stuff: Dr Who and Blake's Seven! Thanks for dropping by. *hugs* Cher x

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've had the advantage of storing Cheryse's work on my computer for years (as a back-up for her) and have never read any of it. I don't read books often and I have never read fantasy! But it all became too much for me so I decided to take a walk with Shah in her Heart Hunting world. I was blown away. I felt like I had escaped into Shah's world and the danger and excitement of it just kept on coming. Can't wait for the launch next month.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My beautiful sister Tam, you've put up with my writerly ways for many years (and I know you've always thought spec fic weird) so I'm extra stoked that you've loved my book and even found some of the fantasy aspects interesting. Love you heaps xx (And maybe I wasn't accidentally swapped at the hospital after all...)

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a wonderful creative journey - and I can really relate to the idea of building up your world layer by layer. Writing is definitely like weaving tapestry...

    Release date is so close now. Exciting!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Adina! You know exactly what I'm talking about - you've shared the same process *HUGS* Cher x

    ReplyDelete