When I was a senior in high school in 1997/1998, the movie Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes came out. And more than just reading the play, the movie’s ending bothered me SO DANG MUCH! In fact, it drove me nuts so badly I felt compelled to rewrite the play with a happy ending, where Romeo and Juliet (SPOILER ALERT) both live and run off to live happily ever after instead of having a double suicide.
But even rewriting the ending to the great Bard’s play when I was a teen didn’t seem enough, and that whole forbidden love thing stuck with me. So when I read the Twilight Series, Romeo and Juliet came back to me, demanding that I write a forbidden love story of my own. But my world had to have a major twist.
See, I can’t stand weak heroines. Yes, there is a different kind of emotional and psychological strength a girl has to have in order to be able to date a powerful vampire. And do not get me wrong, I loved the Twilight Series, own the books in both original and movie themed cover designs plus the graphic novels, and I dragged my hubby with me to every movie version’s premiere night. But I like romantic couples who have a balance in power, and for me it took far too long for that to happen for Edward and Bella. I wanted my girl to be able to save her guy every bit as much as he could save her.
Plus I love witchy stories about magic just as much as vamps and shapeshifters.
Then it came to me. What if my version of Romeo and Juliet was set in a modern day world that secretly revolved around a powerful group of magical families who were at war with an equally secret vampire society? And let’s toss aside the cliches here...make the hero the witch and the heroine the vampire!
Then I thought, “Wait. Here’s one better. What if the girl was both a vamp AND a witch, a sort of never before seen hybrid of the two species, and her very existence freaked out both sides and threatened to start another war between them? What would happen if she fell in love with a boy from the magical side, AND he was the son of the current magical side’s ruler AND he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps?”
From there, I could see in one blinding burst how it could all play out and the disastrous consequences their breaking the rules to be together could cause. Tristan and Savannah’s love was forbidden for a reason, not just because their families hated or feared each other, but because THEY COULD KILL EACH OTHER AND START ANOTHER WAR!
Admittedly, the steps along the way for these two have changed many times from that initial overall series idea, to the outlines for each book each year, and again during the many revisions each Clann Series book has undergone prior to publication as my brilliant editor Natashya Wilson and I brainstorm plot hole solutions and twists and turns. And the final results are, I hope readers will agree, even better than hoped for!
Melissa Darnell is the author of a growing list of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction books. Born in California, she grew up in Texas and has also called the following states home since then: Utah, West Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Iowa and South Dakota. She currently lives in Nebraska with her husband Tim and two children, Hunter and Alexander, where she enjoys watching Whale Wars, Glee and True Blood, designing digital graphic products for the virtual world of Second Life, and of course writing her latest book.
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, CONSUME.
—William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert's joy—and despair. By changing the Clann's golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape.
As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, Tristan and Sav face a new threat—a fracturing of the all-consuming bond they share. To fight for peace, they must forge a new trust and risk everything to take down their deadliest enemy, even as they must run for their lives. Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love—and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.