Have I mentioned how difficult it was to write the first book in this series, The Devil's Concubine? Well, Tempt the Devil was just as bad. I'm so relieved that it's finally ready for you to read! I can't wait to hear if you enjoyed it.
Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id906818576
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I've always loved mysteries. I read every Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Three Investigators, Agatha Christie, PD James, A.C. Doyle, Lawrence Sanders, Dorothy Sayers, E.A. Poe, and true crime (a guilty pleasure of mine) novel on the library shelves. The Devil's Concubine and Devil Incarnate were political thrillers, but this time I wanted to write a mystery. Who knows where these whims come from? But I was determined, so even though I'd never written one before, Tempt the Devil would be a murder mystery even if it killed me.
It almost did. Like The Devil's Concubine, I completely rewrote this one three times. I am a terribly inefficient writer. In the first draft, QuiTai was the detective. She solved it too quickly, because she's The Woman, this planet's version of Irene Adler, the only person to ever outsmart Sherlock Holmes. It made for a very short story. Second version: I made Kyam the detective, but QuiTai was still leading him around saying "Here's a clue." It wasn't until I tossed her into the Fortress that I could let Kyam get on with the detective work uninterrupted. That version worked. Whew!
The phrase that popped into my mind immediately after deciding Tempt the Devil would be a mystery was "How about a nice, simple little murder for once?" But of course, nothing is simple in Levapur. The personal is the political, and the political is personal. (and yes, I know murder is never nice, but I don't write nice)
(this next paragraph might be considered a bit of a spoiler, so read with caution.)
That got me thinking about How Things Actually Work in Real Life-- a continuing series of reality checks I take with my stories so I write characters who act like real people and not like, well, characters in a novel. We'd like to think our enemies do things because they sat down and logically picked the most evil thing to do, but in reality, I think most of our enemies don't even know they're our enemies, and they blunder through life just the same as we do. If what they do hurts us, it's usually unintended. (When we set out to harm others, we usually just do something stupid to sabotage ourselves.) So How Things Actually Work in Real Life is that sometimes, the world does not revolve around us. Things happen that have nothing to do with us even though they affect us. The problem starts when we forget that it isn't always about us.
Was that cryptic enough?
I'm so glad to back on track and proud of how this story worked out. It was worth the three versions. The next book, Devil's Game, is swirling around in my mind in a happy little whirlpool of imagination. I foresee an airship, intrigue on the continent, and Grandfather Zul sitting across a table from QuiTai in a high-stakes game.