Your first love. You’ll always have that special place in your heart for your first one. Rachel and I wrote Burning Bright and I pitched it at my first writing conference, before I even knew what pitching a book really meant. I knew business, of course, and that books are business, but somehow the concept of pitching a creative project made my knees turn to water.
Neal Harrison is the hero of Burning Bright. An ex-Marine, he brought the survivors of his unit back from the mountains of Tora Bora after an operation to find Bin Laden failed and they found something far more deadly: a Siberian tiger shifter, half-mad with blood-lust and the desire for revenge. Left behind by the Soviet invaders, he attacked the Americans with a fervor that no one anticipated and wiped out a highly-trained squad of Marine Reconnaissance fighters.
Neal decided to open a restaurant called The Factory. As business grew, he expanded to a gay bondage club downstairs, called The Basement. In the process of writing the story, we needed to know where things were in the physical space that made up both businesses. We scouted around the city so Rachel could get an idea of common building construction here, and we found a candidate (the real building that houses our imaginary restaurant is located not far from my house, as a matter of fact). Then it was time to get down to business and draw out the space itself.
Doing this allows us to mark where things happen in the books, to develop a more clear idea of the space, and also keep stuff straight while we’re writing – and when we go back, months later, to edit a project.