Writing an historical novel is different than writing a lot of other types of books because it involves things that actually happened, not just things that take place in the author’s head. Verifiable events and times which can be remembered or read about in history books. This requires more meticulous research into the era involved, and people’s lives at that time.
Also, collaborating with another author is different from sitting down and writing whatever comes to mind. SL Danielson and I managed both feats in our first collaborative effort, My Fair Vampire. The research was relatively easy to do, especially made easier as we set the book in our own back yard—turn of the century St. Louis, Missouri, during the time of the Louisiana Exposition. Or you might know it by its more common name—the World’s Fair.
As for learning to write together, that came with trial and errors, but we seemed to fall into a definite rhythm of literary cooperation almost immediately, and in the process became friends.
I imagine every literary couple has its own methods for writing together. Without the Internet, though, most couldn’t do it, and we were no exception, despite living in the same town. We did our work via emails and attachments. Back and forth, both in the writing and in the plotting. And bit by bit a story began to grow.
Basically we started by each creating a character. These two became our protagonists. We developed them separately but worked on the plot together. William Deming is a young reporter from a small Utah newspaper who is given the chance to cover the World’s Fair—and he leaps at it! Fresh-faced and eager, he arrives by train to the city that has the spotlight of the world for this moment in time. Many people in St. Louis were opening their homes to the visitors that flooded their town, renting rooms to the newcomers for the duration of their stay. William finds a place within walking distance of the Fair, to his delight, a boarding house on Lindell Avenue, run by a Russian woman by the name of Ekaterina, who just happens to have a dark and mysterious nephew. His name is Misha.
But Misha has a secret, one he dare not reveal to the handsome reporter who intrigues him so. Misha is a creature of the night. A vampire. Turned by the not-yet infamous monk Rasputin in his homeland of Russia, Misha has come to the United States to live with his aunt in order to avoid service in the Russian army. He is discreet both in taking sustenance and in satisfying the needs of his libido, which hungers for young men, and not women. But how long can he withhold the truth from William, and when it comes out will he lose him forever?
Working with another writer has advantages. You have someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to do half the writing, someone who understands the characters and the situations as well as you do who can give you insight into them and vice versa. If you pick the right co-author, and work hard together, your book can come together in less time than if you’d written it alone. Thanks for having mehere today, Ialways enjoy visiting with you!
Blurb: In 1904, the world’s spotlight shone brightly on St. Louis, Missouri—gateway to the West and host of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Visitors came from all points of the globe to wonder, to gape, to taste, to explore and to enjoy the marvels which the World’s Fair had to offer. An ambitious young reporter from Utah, William Deming, sees his chance to not only visit the fair, but make a name for himself by reporting on its goings on. He takes a room in a boarding house, close to the Fair itself. What he doesn’t count on is meeting Misha—a young and handsome Russian, whose aunt owns the boarding house.
Misha is something William has never encountered before—a vampire! As if that isn’t enough to accept, when a man is discovered murdered at the Fair, William has to wonder if his Misha is involved. Especially as there seems to have been a connection between the vampire and the victim. Will an old flame cause new problems for William and Misha? Will they find love at the World’s Fair? Or will theirs be doomed to be a fatal attraction?
April 23, 1904
William unfurled the crisp Utah Gazette in his hands. The periodical smelled of fresh ink, and the paper was still warm. 'Hot off the press', as the saying went. He took care not to hold the page too long, so his fingers wouldn’t smudge the fresh print.
1904 World's Fair to be held in St. Louis, Missouri.
William's heart skipped a beat. Such an opportunity! To meet people from distant lands, to see amazing sights from around the globe—truly a marvelous undertaking. I must make certain I become the reporter Mr. Andrews chooses to send to the exposition.
He licked his lips in anticipation and felt his woolen pants rise. Travel always had that effect on him. Of course, so did the delicious possibility of an exotic visitor who might cross his path. One that didn't speak English, but was a linguistics master in the language of sex. It'd been far too long for him, and he needed to tip the scales in the other direction.
He slipped into the washroom and nervously checked his reflection in the mirror. His blond hair was darkened by a liberal amount of oil; he only used it to tame his unruly cowlick. His cheeks appeared hollow in his thin, pale face, and his chin pointed. His favorite feature was his large, blue eyes; after that, he was most fond of his tame nose, thankful his family's history of large noses had not carried over to him.
He adjusted the round Benjamin Franklin-like spectacles he'd worn since he was ten years old, when he’d squinted at the blackboards at school. All eight of his older siblings taunted him with cries of four eyes and other teasing nicknames, which he greatly resented. Over time, though, he'd adjusted to the glasses. As his grades surpassed most everyone else's in the family, he felt as smart as they made him look.
He smoothed down his large tie and flattened out his vest. His brown woolen suit was still somewhat new—a Christmas present from his parents. He’d have to get it tailored a bit. He'd lost some weight since he’d moved from the quiet mountains to the relatively hectic Salt Lake City to take his position at the Gazette. The work kept him busy, often with little time to eat.
April 30, 1904
The crowds began arriving even before the sun, making their way from streetcars, from shuttles, and on foot—some having parked their vehicles at great distances in order to attend this historic event. They milled patiently about the main entrance gate on Lindell Boulevard until eight o'clock, mingling with the three hundred some-odd St. Louis police officers who’d been assigned there. At that time they were allowed to slog their way through the turnstiles and onto the fairgrounds themselves. This grand event had actually been delayed for a year. Originally meant to begin on April 30, 1903, which would have been the centennial of the day on which Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase, it had been postponed to allow time for it to be done properly. Even President Roosevelt—who’d traveled to St. Louis on the original day just for the occasion—had to admit that while progress was remarkable, and everything was just "bully" (as he put it in his own inimitable way), it did need more time in order to be the vision they wanted it to be.
The weather in St. Louis had decided to cooperate, which in and of itself was something of an accomplishment, as the natives of that fair city would attest. Balmy temperatures were an added incentive to attend the Fair; the day was filled with gentle breezes, and sunny skies, and spirits were running high.
Shortly after nine o'clock, the opening ceremony speeches began, the first speaker being none other than David R. Francis, whom many considered to be the architect and chief mover of the World's Fair. Former mayor of St. Louis and former governor of Missouri, now a respected member of the business community once more, he’d begun drumming up support for the Fair back in 1896. Having obtained five million dollars from the U.S. Congress, he went on to acquire ten million more in state, city, and private funding, forming the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company. He was named its president, and people referred to him thereafter, with affection, as President Francis.
After Francis's speech, in which he referred to the 1904 World's Fair as a distinct step forward, a marching band led by John Philip Sousa began to play, to everyone's delight. The strains of Stars and Stripes Forever reverberated throughout the area by the Grand Basin where all were congregated. After some two hours of speeches, the crowd parted to admit a carriage escorted by cavalry from Jefferson Barracks. The vehicle contained none other than Secretary of War William Howard Taft, who spoke on behalf of Theodore Roosevelt, who waited back in Washington, in the East Room of the White House. Taft spoke of harmony and world peace, of nations working together for the good of all, of hopes for the future.
Once Taft concluded his speech, it was time. An expectant hush fell over the crowd, which was estimated somewhere in the two hundred thousand range. President Francis pressed a gold telegraph key, which sent a signal to the waiting President Roosevelt back in Washington. In turn, T.R. pressed his own key, sending the signal back to St. Louis. Thousands of flags in a multitude of hues were raised on high, while water flowed into the fountains and the waterfall known as the Cascades, which traversed the hill from Festival Hall down to the Grand Basin, to the cheers of the excited throng.
The 1904 World's Fair had begun!
Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. Currently unemployed, she continues to write her books and stories, and reviews which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her published works can be found at Wicked Nights, Dreamspinner Press, and Silver Publishing. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her blog, Full Moon Dreaming
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