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Maggie Shayne | How Wings In The Night Got Its Start

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It’s very hard for me to fathom that Wings in the Night, my vampire series, has within it 20 stories, including the three still to be published next year. When I started writing my first "Twilight" vampire novel, way back in the early 90’s, I had no idea it was going to be a series. I didn’t even know whether it would be published, for that matter. I was an aspiring writing with a growing pile of rejection letters the only evidence of my work.

But I had this idea for a vampire romance. I’d only read one other. As far as I know, there only was one other. A book called OBSESSION by Lori Herter, who was an author ahead of her time. There were two more to follow, as the book was the start of a trilogy. Aside from Herter, though, I knew of no one doing vampire romance, and she very quickly moved on to other things, leaving the field wide open for me.

Of course, at the time, I could barely give such a story away. Then, I heard about a new line-Silhouette Shadows. And I submitted Twilight Phantasies to editor Melissa Senate there. I then took several other steps guaranteed to result in a sale. I suggested that my local writers group should host a conference. I volunteered to be the speaker coordinator. And I invited Ms. Senate to speak. She accepted. Which, to my mind, meant that she couldn’t possibly be intending to reject my story. She’d already had it for a few weeks by then. Surely she had read it. She’d have turned down the speaking gig if she were going to reject me. Wouldn’t she? So she must be intending to buy the book. She was probably waiting to tell me the good news in person. She’d probably make the big announcement from the podium, and all my writing pals would burst into a spontaneous standing O, and probably hoist me up on their shoulders to carry me around the room. Ms. Senate would likely then drag a giant sized check from somewhere out of sight-you know, like the ones on the Publisher’s Clearinghouse commercials.

It didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, the day before the con, Ms. Senate phoned to tell me she had to reject the story. It needed revisions, and it was against company policy for her to offer me a contract before those revisions were done, since I was an unproven author. The main problem with the story was too much focus the hero’s best friend, Roland. I said, "but I love this character!" and Melissa said, "save him for a book of his own." The proverbial lightbulb went on over my head. And suddenly, this was more than just one book. The Wings in the Night Series was born.

I did the revisions, and while I was doing them, Melissa Senate offered me a contract on another of my projects--a romantic suspense called RECKLESS ANGEL for the Intimate Moments line. And then, shortly thereafter, she also bought the revised TWILIGHT PHANTASIESfor the Shadows line. They were published in August and September 1993, and although TP was the second book out, and technically the second sale, it was actually written first, and I’ve always considered it the book that started my career.

It really was, because I’m more well known for these vampire books than for anything else I’ve done. And here I am, just reaching the culmination of this series, almost 18 years later. It’s hard to believe. I started the first book before my youngest daughter started kindergarten. She’s nearly through with college now.

And yet, unlike those old days, today, everyone is writing vampire romance. It’s a very crowded field, but I fear some may be writing it because they see it as a lucrative, popular theme, and a shortcut to bestsellerdom, and not because these are the tales burning in their souls to be told. And a vampire novel really needs to be that, in order for it to work (for me, that is.) A tale burning to be told, almost with a life of its own beyond the author. That’s the way Anne Rice’s vampires always felt to me. As if she were just the channel being used by these beings to tell their tales. And that’s how I have felt about this series of mine, too. I’ve never believed I was just making them up. These stories are given to me from . . . somewhere else.

At any rate, that’s just my weirdness seeping through. This year, MIRA is reissuing three of my vampire books. They didn’t go all the way back to the beginning, and they didn’t reissue them in any particularly logical order. They’re putting bonus material in one book, but it’s out of order too. Now, rest assured, I wrote these books intending for each of them to stand alone, so you don’t need to read them all or to read them in order. But you should at least know the order, so you’re not confused. So at the end of this blog, I’ll clarify the how these reissues fit into the series.

Meanwhile, for those who’ve been asking so eagerly, yes there will be more to this series. Three more, all in 2011. And that’s as far into the future as I can see at the moment. Two of these really do feel to me like the end of the series. But I’ll never say never.

So here’s what’s still to come in Wings in the Night:
May 2011: TWILIGHT PROPHECY, MIRA
July 2011: VACATION WITH A VAMPIRE, Harlequin Nocturne
October 2011: TWILIGHT FULFILLMENT, MIRA

The July story is a lighthearted, kind of stand alone story for a special Harlequin Nocturne release. It’s subtitled: and Other Immortals, and it features a vamp tale by me, and another novella by Maureen Child. We’ll have cover art soon. Watch my website.

In May and October, you’ll get the stories many of my readers have been asking for. The twins. If you don’t know who they are, read the three reissues, and then you too will be dying for their tales. They are very much two parts of one bigger story, so you’ll need them both. The first is written, the second is in progress. =)

I feel very blessed and very lucky to have been the conduit through which these stories were delivered. They’re very real to me, and I think they mean something, though I have yet to figure out just what. I believe there are messages deeply engrained in each of the books, for every individual who reads them. Indeed, I had a fan letter from a reader who had been advised to abort a pregnancy in order to save her own life, and told that the fetus she carried was not viable anyway. Depressed, and in mourning as she approached this decision, one of her daughters gave her one of my books to read. EDGE OF TWILIGHT, a story with a hopeless pregnancy storyline. Its ending made her decide to go against the doctors and follow through with her own pregnancy. She and the baby were both fine. Amazing!

I believe these books have magick in them for everyone they touch. Their magick has certainly touched me. And yes, Rhiannon is alive and well, somewhere. She speaks to me every single day.

Much love, Maggie

Clarification of Reissues & where they fit:

TWILIGHT HUNGER (reissued this month) is book 7 of the series and was originally published in 2002. It was the first one I did for MIRA, so it is very much like the beginning of a whole new chapter of the series, and as such, is a very good place to start. But just so you know, previous to it were 4 novels and 2 novellas: Twilight Phantasies (1993, Silhouette Shadows) Twilight Memories (1994, Silhouette Shadows) Twilight Illusions (1995, Silhouette Shadows) Beyond Twilight (Novella, Strangers in the Night Anthology 1995) Born in Twilight (Silhouette Single Title, 1997) Twilight Vows (Novella, Brides of the Night, Intimate Moments 1998)

EDGE OF TWILIGHT (reissuing in November) was book 9 of the series, originally out in 2004. It was the third one I did for MIRA. In between TWILIGHT HUNGER and EDGE OF TWILIGHT there were 1 novel and 1 novella: Embrace the Twilight (2003, MIRA Books) and Run From Twilight (2003, Two-in-One release TWO BY TWILIGHT)

Included in EDGE OF TWILIGHT is a bonus story, "Before Blue Twilight" which was originally an E-Harlequin.com online read, and has never before been in print. But in the chronology of the books, it was supposed to be read AFTER the full length novel BLUE TWILIGHT and BEFORE the one after that, PRINCE OF TWILIGHT. (I blame myself for the confusion here. Naturally one would presume a short story called Before Blue Twilight should be read before the book called Blue Twilight. But that’s not the case.)

BLUE TWILIGHT (reissuing in December) was originally released by MIRA in 2005 and it came right after EDGE in the reading order. If you skip the novella at the end of Edge, and read it after you read this one, you’ll be reading in the correct order.

After BLUE TWILIGHT there were several more books. And I’m providing here a link to the full, downloadable reading list, in order.

 

 

Comments

47 comments posted.

Re: Maggie Shayne | How Wings In The Night Got Its Start

Your books sound fascinating and I am so glad that you were one of the first to start this particular genre.
(Joanne Reynolds 6:21am October 21, 2010)

I'm looking forward to checking your books out.
(Pam Howell 7:38am October 21, 2010)

Thanks goodness you didn't give up, I have only read Edge of Twilight and the rest of your books sound great and I can't wait to read them.
(Barbara Hanson 8:54am October 21, 2010)

Yay, love vampire books!!!! Yours sound fantastic!!!

Valerie
in Germany
(Valerie Bongards 11:01am October 21, 2010)

I have been reading Maggie's books since "Reckless Angel" came out while I was in HS. I had the great pleasure of meeting Maggie at this year's RWA to get my copy of "Reckless Angel" signed. I would love to get a collector's edition of any of the Wings In The Night series! Thank you Maggie for such awesome books!
(Jenn Baker 11:46am October 21, 2010)

I would love a chance at this prize, thank you kindly!
(Freda Mans-Labianca 12:34pm October 21, 2010)

Wow, and now that is such a popular genre. How cool is that? I'll bet it makes you very proud to be one of the first.
(Vicki Hancock 12:44pm October 21, 2010)

I have read your later books but would love a chance to read this book!
(Susan Mahaffey 12:52pm October 21, 2010)

Have read several of your books and
now have quite a few on my TBR shelf.
I'll have to check the reading order.
The list will also help me fill in the
blanks so I can look for the books I
don't have. I prefer to read books in
order if I can.
Thanks for the interesting post.
(Patricia Barraclough 12:56pm October 21, 2010)

I'd like to this prize. I've read your romantic suspense books but now I'm eager to read the vampire series - especially knowning it laid the foundation for the vampire genre.
(r w 1:01pm October 21, 2010)

love vamp romance thanks for the peak and love the cover art :)
(April Strength 1:03pm October 21, 2010)

Enjoyed your column. Congrats on this month's re-release.
(G S Moch 1:15pm October 21, 2010)

Thanks for sharing your story!
Blessings,
Marjorie
(Marjorie Carmony 1:45pm October 21, 2010)

Have to add your name to my list of authors to read... sounds like a great bunch of books to get into!
(Colleen Conklin 1:46pm October 21, 2010)

You are a poster girl for not
(Elizabeth Parzino 1:58pm October 21, 2010)

You are a poster girl for not giving up! glad you stuck to it as I've read a couple of your books and am looking forward to the rest.
(Elizabeth Parzino 1:59pm October 21, 2010)

Memories, thanks for being one of the first authors to start me on the Vampire Road.
(Esther Carrillo 2:29pm October 21, 2010)

Your books are great I'm a Big Fan, I love them and Please keep them coming.
(Vickie Hightower 3:09pm October 21, 2010)

Twilight Hunger was a gem amongst the rubble of a paperback grab bag I bought at a library sale a couple of years ago. Since then I have tried to get my hands on as many of your books as I can!
(Amanda Miller 3:57pm October 21, 2010)

I can't believe its almost the end of the series! I'm surprised this was originally a stand alone. It would have been so strange to only see one story from the world.

Thanks for writing!
(Rae M. 4:22pm October 21, 2010)

It is so wonderful to read a story from an author who doesn't just put pen to paper, but puts all of her being into her books!! I hate reading a book that somebody slaps together, just to get it off to press!! I apologize for not reading your books, due to the fact that this genre doesn't normally grab me, but I am definately going to put yours on my list of books to read!! You've made me a believer!! Thank you for going the extra mile all these years!!
(Peggy Roberson 4:37pm October 21, 2010)

Congrats for being at the forefront of a genre which has taken off like a rocket! :-) With the plethora of "wannabes" now, it's so interesting to read of your beginning, and of your continued success!
(Jl Welling 5:01pm October 21, 2010)

I agree that there are more authors out there writing about vampires and we see a lot of genres grow with their popularity, but overtime readers are able to separate a good story from a bad one. I'm glad that you tell your stories as stand alones because that makes it easier for someone to jump into a series.
(Leni Kaye 5:42pm October 21, 2010)

Your books are one of the reasons I started getting into paranormal romances to begin with. I started reading your books with your Brand series, which I loved and because I got caught up in your stories I started rading your twilight series books and have been hooked ever since. Before that you couldn't get me to even try a paranormal
(Amanda Boyer 5:54pm October 21, 2010)

It takes great writing to get me into paranormal. Thank you.
(Mary Preston 6:01pm October 21, 2010)

I love paranormal and your books are the best. I didn't realize that you were one of the first to write in that genre.
(Sherrie Maner 6:57pm October 21, 2010)

I've enjoyed a few of your Wings in the Night books. Thank you! I especially love Amber Lily (Edge, not as much).
(S Tieh 8:24pm October 21, 2010)

I would love to win this! Thank you so much for the giveaway!
(Lisa Garrett 9:41pm October 21, 2010)

congrat on your book and hope you have more i be happy to read it and blog
(Desiree Reilly 9:49pm October 21, 2010)

Haven't read any vanpire romances,did enjoy reading Bram Stoker's "Dracula". Your books sound like a great read. Thanks for the give away.
(Sheila True 10:18pm October 21, 2010)

I would love to win the book! Thanks so much for the giveaway.
(Brenda Rupp 10:31pm October 21, 2010)

Your book sounds exciting I can't wait to read it!
(Jane Thompson 11:31pm October 21, 2010)

This is so strange, but I'm actually reading "Obsession" by Lori Herter. I didn't know that it's a trilogy. I love vampire books and yours sound great.
(Ginger Hinson 11:34pm October 21, 2010)

So sorry I wasn't here yesterday. Daughter had medical tests and I spent the day at the hospital with her. Nothing diagnosed as yet and I'm 100% sure she'll be fine, but it'll be a relief to get to the bottom of her health issues. Anyway, wow on all the comments! I'm enjoying them all so much! Thank you!
(Maggie Shayne 8:39am October 22, 2010)

I remember when there was nothing & then BAM....Very interesting how it all came about for you. Hope alls cleared up w/ your daughter asap.
(Ivy Truitt 9:01am October 22, 2010)

I have read several of the Twilight series books and look forward to reading your newest editions. As always, your books are great, keep them coming!!!!!
(Nancy Wolfe 9:29am October 22, 2010)

I've managed to read all your Twilight books, as well as a few of your others, the first was about 10 years ago and I remember searching all book stores many in vain for your books or others similar, now I share them with my daughter who has already started her own collection, so thankyou twice, once for giving me somewhere to escape to when i needed to, and for helping to give my daughter (who has just turned 18) and i much needed common ground.
(Lynnette Nankervis 9:40am October 22, 2010)

I love vampire books so I want to read all of yours. They sound great!
(Cheryl Lynne 11:06am October 22, 2010)

The life of a writer is making more than enough revisions to 80/20% satisfy editors. I'm glad you had other books in the works that suited the publisher's fancy. No one sees the exactly the same things in a book or a reading, it's all open to interpretation and discussion. Vampires are all the rage and now even more since Halloween is soon. I know you'll keep plugging away, afterall, writing is in your blood.
(Alyson Widen 1:46pm October 22, 2010)

Haven't read any of your books yet! Looking forward to it though!
(Michele Powell 2:40pm October 22, 2010)

I get frustrated with reissues of books when I don't know the correct order. When I am in a bookstore and find a book I like, I look in the front and back of the book to see if there are other books listed. It really helps if the publishing year is also listed. It helps to keep me organized :>)
(Karin Tillotson 2:59pm October 22, 2010)

Mira's great about listing all the other Mira titles in this series, but the problem is, they were not all MIRA. There were 3 shadows, several novellas, a Single Title, and an Intimate Moments too. And soon to be a Nocturne. And they never list those. For a full reading list you can email me and I'll send it. [email protected]
(Maggie Shayne 4:17pm October 22, 2010)

That's amazing that there are 20 stories in your series.
(Maureen Emmons 5:02pm October 22, 2010)

Your book sounds very interesting thank you for giving me a chance to win it.
(Linda Hall 7:19pm October 22, 2010)

Sounds interesting, I hadn't heard of any of these books. I'll have to check out the series.
(Dani Brantley 10:04pm October 22, 2010)

Win or not, I'm going to have to
read this!
(Jennifer Crocker 10:33pm October 22, 2010)

I read every one of your Twilight series. I love them. It is good to know that there are two more books coming soon.
(Kai Wong 11:49pm October 22, 2010)

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