Ilona and Gordon Andrews, who jointly write under the name Ilona Andrews, were at BookPeople yesterday evening and I went to hear their talk and to get a signed copy of their newest book, Gunmetal Magic. The talk was a lot of fun, and their youngest daughter, who was maybe 14-years-old and constantly interjecting comments, was adorable. (The daughter actually kind of reminded me of Lydia from The Lizzie Bennett Diaries… big smile, rolling eyes, and a propensity for teasing her parents.) However, I told Anna that she was probably just as happy not being able to attend, because there were a lot of spoilers.
Thus, the reason for breaking the description into two posts:
This post, part 1, is going to be Anna-friendly, ie, discussing all the books and stories that were published prior to this week. The next post (part 2), will discuss all the books and stories that might be coming down the pipe.
It was interesting to see that Gordon loved talking about the plot twists coming up while Ilona (the individual) didn’t like any possible mention of spoilers, including mentions of facts that were stated in previous published books. However, since I’m going to recount some stories about the writing of different books, there will be spoilers below.
For those of you who haven’t read and don’t want spoilers for AlphaMenz, Magic Bites, or Magic Mourns, don’t click on the spoiler cut below.
Here be Spoilers!
SPOILERS for AlphaMenz:
I really enjoy Ilona Andrew’s writings, although there are some I prefer more than others. The only exception is AlphaMenz which I read a long time ago and then proceeded to pretend that I had not read. It’s disturbing in the way it specifically romanticizes sexual slavery. However, we were warned not to get Gordon even started on talking about it because he would rant. Of course, we asked. Or rather, I thought about asking for the rant and another person asked if there would be a sequel. To my pleasure, Gordon delivered the rant.
So, they’d started writing the story as an exercise in writing dark and disturbing situations, with unhappy people in unhappy situations. There was no romance here, no happy endings. This was something of a response to the romance trope regarding beautiful and powerful Alpha males forcing some random regular woman into being a mistress.
Their editor asked to see what they’d written and responded that she actually knew of an anthology that might be interested in it. They were pleased with the thought of getting paid for it, they signed a contract, got paid, spent the money… and were then asked to just stick on a quick happy ending in which the two main characters discovered their mutual love and devotion. To which their reply was, uh, it’s not a happy universe and one of their main characters has kidnapped, threatened and raped the other. Unfortunately, they couldn’t exactly give back the money and thus settled into a round of discussion regarding what exactly they would be willing to do. They eventually wound up compromising on the ending, making it a whole lot “happier” than they had intended, but, in Gordon’s words, making them “feel really dirty.”
Thus there really can’t be a sequel to the story because there’s no way to get from where that first story left back to where they wanted to go with the story.
While the explanation doesn’t make me like the story anymore than previously, it does reassure me regarding liking the authors.
SPOILERS for Magic Bites and Magic Mourns
Apparently the first draft of Magic Bites was about 10,000 words too long and needed to be cut down to size, so that it could be published for $6.99. The editor suggested removing the whole scene in which there was that one woman with all the vampires on the ceiling. After all, (apparently) what could be the importance of such a climactic scene in which it’s revealed that Roland exists out there and that Kate is likely related to him and can control vampires, while at the same time getting Curran into her debt and, and, and….
Ilona said, no, no, they would cut the words from somewhere else, really. So they cut out the whole scene at the beginning of the book where Ghastek tells her that there’s a giant dog chasing a cat. When Kate goes to investigate, it turns out to be Cerberus chasing after Jim.
In case you recognize this, yes, the whole scene was later thoroughly edited and became Magic Mourns, with Andrea going to investigate and Cerberus chasing Raphael. All the fun to be had with recycling text.
And Here’s Some Space so Commenters Won’t See Spoilers