While I’ve been waxing nostalgic about the origins of the Enchanted, Inc. series with the publication of the last book, I nearly missed another series anniversary. It was ten years ago when I took my research trip to New York to write A Fairy Tale. It’s rainy this morning, and that sparked the memory, since a tropical storm hit during that trip, so the first day was gorgeous, and it rained just about non-stop, sometimes torrentially, for the rest of the trip. If you look at the photo gallery for that book on my web site, you can see that some of the photos of Central Park show a bright, sunny day and the rest are dark and gloomy.
I’d had the first germ of the idea for that book years earlier with a mental image of a woman in a floral dress walking a bulldog and vanishing into the mist. It took me a long time to tease the story out of that image. I’d decided to try writing that book when I got a lot of rejections for another story, with the editors saying they wanted something more like Enchanted, Inc. This was a contemporary fantasy involving a southern woman in New York, so I thought it might work. I spent the summer doing research reading, digging into all the folklore about fairies. Then when I decided that the guy involved would be a cop, I read a lot of books about police.
The settings I had in mind were in parts of the city I hadn’t explored in depth. I also had never really taken a schedule-free trip, when I didn’t have any meetings, so I booked a short trip. It would be nice and like a working vacation to just do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, without having to worry about fitting it around meetings with editors or agents.
So, I spent a few days walking non-stop, much of it in the rain, and found all the places I wanted to write about.
It took me more than a year to get the book written (though I wrote Rebel Mechanics during that time when I put this book on hold to figure out the ending). Then it got rejected all over the publishing world, in a couple of cases because it was “too romancey,” though I find that odd considering there isn’t so much as a kiss in the whole book. There’s just some mild attraction. I guess the fact that there are two cases of a man and a woman meeting early in the book made them think it would be a romance rather than fantasy, which proves they didn’t read beyond the first couple of chapters. It was a few years later, after I’d successfully published the continuation of the Enchanted, Inc. series, that I decided to write more books in the series and publish them myself.
I’ve sold that series for audio and to the Japanese publisher, but it’s still sort of my forgotten stepchild. I may have packaged it badly. There have been a few people who thought it was intended for children. I may need a more conventional “urban fantasy” cover, or else the “paranormal chick lit” kind of cartoon cover. I do want to write at least one more book, but as much as I love that world and those characters, they’re not really clamoring for attention right now.
Maybe I need another rainy trip to New York to inspire me.