KMM: Just as SHADOWFEVER was the conclusion to the first story arc, FEVERSONG concludes the second story arc. I talked about this in my August 2015 blog post where I said: “ICED was my DARKFEVER, setting the stage and engaging emotion where I wanted it, BURNED is my BLOODFEVER, building the scenery and developing the nuances necessary, FEVERBORN is FAEFEVER & DREAMFEVER where the stakes become increasingly clear and everything goes code red. FEVERSONG is my SHADOWFEVER, where the shit I've been stirring into a mystery and a puzzle and a pattern hits the fan and flies off the blades to take its true form.”
I think the confusion stems from a recent post in which I told fans I agreed to write an additional two Fever novels for Random House. They will not be part of the current story arc. The current story arc ends with FEVERSONG.
Q: Dawn: How is the second story arc you’re telling different from the first five books of the Fever series?
KMM: I’m not sure I entirely understand this question but here goes: In the first five books, everything was mysterious because you were just meeting the characters. And the mysterious is exciting, compelling, sexy. Not knowing what’s really going on heightens the reader’s sense of danger and titillation. By the time we get to the second story arc, we know the characters better. We’re seeing behind Oz’s curtain. A writer has to go one way or the other: keep it eternally mysterious (which would drive me crazy) or enter into the character’s true selves, behind Oz’s curtain. So the first five books, I’d say you’re seeing the curtain and in the next part of the series, you’re getting glimpses behind it.
I’d also say the first story arc was about Mac discovering what she was and wasn’t. The second story arc is about finding out what she does about that. The first story arc was about meeting Dani. The second story arc is about Dani becoming the next thing. And finally, both story arcs are about this: Mac had all the love in the world but had suffered no trauma, had never developed true strength. Her story is about finding strength. She hasn’t attained it at the end of SHADOWFEVER. Her ‘strength’ at the end of the first story arc is Barrons—making their relationship imbalanced, and Mac knows it. Mac knows she has to address her insecurities about herself before she can ever have a truly phenomenal relationship with her man. Dani had all the strength in the world but no love. Now is her time to know love. Both characters start out flawed, in a state of enormous imbalance. My goal is to balance both by the end. Evolution, transformation is always my theme. These stories aren’t really about Barrons or Ryodan or any of the men. They’re about Mac and Dani.
Q: Jenny: Is Shazam real? You can't leave me hanging. I love him so much! He has to be real!
KMM: You’ll find out in FEVERSONG, which will be released in January 2017.
Q: Rosie: I love how Dani/Jada is evolving. Will we get to see more of her time in the silvers?
KMM: I’m certainly open to it. It was five plus years and a great deal happened. The question I have to ask myself as the writer is how much backstory is relevant to events that unfold in FEVERSONG. I love writing Dani at 14 as well as at her current age, so we’ll see.
Q: Maria: I love Mac and Barrons but my best friend doesn’t get it (maybe I need a new best friend, LOL) she wants more romance. What do you think it is about them that makes them so polarizing?
KMM: First, thanks! I love Mac and Barrons, too. Second, we all have different tastes, different desires in a relationship. I cringe at the thought of a joined-at-the-hip kind of relationship but my BFF has exactly that and loves it. Different strokes for different folks.
I think what makes Mac and Barrons polarizing is that they have a non traditional romance. They’re both pure Alphas at varying phases of evolution and Alphas aren’t big on pillow talk, or any kind of talk at all. They’re the strong silent type and can be hard to handle. There are degrees of Alpha. Barrons is a mature, pure Alpha, born in a barbaric time (and no I’m not telling you when) who has endured many living hells and who—although he has evolved throughout a small eternity—will always be a product of his origins, driven by the beast within. He obeys no law but his own. He’s been saying from the beginning, look at my actions, don’t ask for words. Ryodan tells Mac early on the key to understanding Barrons when he says “words can be twisted into any shape….the wisest man is the silent one. Judge him by his actions.” Actions are all the really count to M & B, ergo the dearth of conversation.
(As an interesting side note, one of my friends told me back in college that he believed the best relationship a person could have was with someone who didn’t speak the same language—he was also an Alpha. He said, words confuse things enormously because the same word can have a completely different connotation to different people. He married a Japanese woman and they never learned each other’s language. They have an amazing marriage. Again, different strokes…)
Mac is a young pure Alpha who is still defining herself and her needs. Mac & Barrons require a lot of room to breathe and make their own decisions—right or wrong. Neither are the type to confide or ask for advice. They’re prickly and independent. Respecting each other’s space and boundaries is critical to them, they both enjoy—even require—large chunks of solitary time. As sex is often the only place an Alpha shows raw emotion, sex between Alpha partners is intense and necessary to their feeling of unity. That they choose to be intimate with each other is the way they show the depth of their unconditional commitment. A sort of raw, fierce primal: you are mine and I am yours, always.
But some people—my BFF and maybe yours—like romantic talk, verbal foreplay and expressions of love, flowers and candy and and for that reason an Alpha partnership doesn’t work for them.
Q: Sally: How do you explain Jada dancing to Hozier when the song didn’t come out until after the walls fell?
KMM: Some of these question I never see coming! Since I’ve never mentioned what YEAR it is in any of the Fever books, you must be making the assumption that the year one of the books in the series was published equates to the fictional year is in the book—which is impossible because only one year has passed in both story arcs so far, and I’ve published 8 books over ten years. I chose to give only the month and day (with the exception of when I define time/AWC) from the very beginning, so the series would always be current.
Q: Ellen: As an aspiring writer, I have a technical question. How do you handle having so many Alphas on the stage?
KMM: Good question! I addressed this at the FEVERBORN Launch also (Link to Q&A). It’s difficult and I do it as well as I can but I think it’s a catch-22 when you have this many primary characters that readers love. I have to remove certain primary characters in order to give other characters’ stage time and once I remove them, people who love that character get upset, they want to know what’s going on with them. I get emails from people who think Dani and Dancer and Ryodan don’t belong in these books, and feel it’s Mac and Barrons’ story. I get just as many emails from people who think exactly the opposite. The fact is, they’re all in it and they all belong in it. There will always be readers who want one character on the page right now more than any other. I feel the same way when I read GRRM. I’m like—wait—get back to this character right now, damn it! My advice to you if you’re just starting out is limiting the Alphas you put on the stage. Keep a tight focus. It’s easier on both the writer and reader.
Thank you for sending your questions in. They’re so much fun to read. Keep ‘em coming!