Posted On November 23, 2012 by Print This Post

Undying Love for the Undead with Lindsay J. Pryor

Do you remember New Voices 2010? Boy, I sure do. That’s also where I met Lindsay J Pryor and got a chance to read a few of her wow-factor chapters. Now here she is, with her brand new book Blood Shadows! Way to go Lindsay!

I recently had a conversation with an artist friend. I asked him if he’d ever like to do a solo exhibition of his work. He responded that he paints for himself and not others – that’s how he produces his best work. He’s an active member of local art groups, enjoys teaching and promotes others’ work, but he has no great desire to have his own on someone’s wall. If he concerns himself with what others will think, of what might be saleable, he’ll lose what makes his art what it is. The conversation triggered memories of my somewhat long journey to publication.

It was twenty-one years ago that I wrote my first paranormal romance. I was seventeen at the time. I’d already been into vampires for years ever since I’d seen The Little Vampire on TV. I was instantly hooked by this other world living undetected alongside humans and all that came with it.

I began writing paranormal romance because, at that time, I couldn’t find it in my local bookshop. Anne Rice was in the horror section. Paranormal romance/urban fantasy shelves didn’t exist. I wasn’t surprised: vampires weren’t supposed to fall in love – they were supposed to bite you and run off into the night with their cloak flapping behind them. No one I knew ever talked about vampires let alone read about romantic ones.

I was already hooked by the concept though and continued writing my stories until, in my early-twenties, I started to consider seeking publication one day. I’d quickly resolved that I was never going to get published writing my kind of love stories. Instead it would remain my ‘quirk’ whilst I wrote scripts, poetry, short stories, a series of children’s books and a full-length children’s novel.

I’d left home by this point to take up my first teaching post. I’d moved to a big city over 300 miles away from everything I knew. Walking home one night, I got lost in a very isolated and run-down part of the city. Iron bars were on windows. Metal shutters were on doors. The place was dead. I was terrified, but the idea for Blackthorn was born – dark paranormal stories set in an urban, gritty backdrop of social unrest, where vampires brush shoulders with humans. I’d have a dystopian world where humans were calling the shots, where there was segregation and prejudice.

Over time, Blackthorn developed into a backdrop for dark and intense romances focusing claustrophobically on the hero and heroine who, incidentally, had no place falling in love with each other. Oh yes, a publisher was going to snap those up – absolutely not. I didn’t even know how to categorise them let alone where to sub them.

Instead I focused my attention on a project I thought might actually get onto shelves one day. I spent years on it, cramming a ridiculously epic supernatural thriller into every spare hour between a full-time demanding job and trying to keep some semblance of a life. And every time an inevitable but unwelcome romance started to evolve between the two main protagonists, I’d cut the scenes and rewrite. And rewrite. The story was finally left with no heart, no soul.

Every time I needed a reprieve from the frustration, the endless plot-knots, I’d go back to my Blackthorn stories. Over the years, I’d developed notebooks full of plotlines, characterisations and background information. I wrote novellas to test the characters – to see if they worked on page, to see if they’d spark. I thought I’d get bored, but the ideas and the potential just kept coming. A whole multi-layered world was taking shape – a world that had become tangible to me.

And then I’d get back to ‘The Novel’.

That was until everything changed for me back in 2007 when my dad lost his seven-year battle with aggressive multiple myeloma. After years of living on the knife-edge of hope that a miracle cure would be found, I saw firsthand the human condition in all its vulnerability and limitations. Anyone who has been through that kind of tragedy knows it makes you see the world very differently. Another personal tragedy only a few months later and never had I been so aware of how precious life is and how important it is to chase your dreams. My Dad had already told me that in one of our last conversations: to make sure I did what I wanted to do in life.

I pulled out all my scribbles and started to construct full-length novels for the Blackthorn series. Like my artist friend described, I absorbed myself in the pleasure of the stories with no worries about audience or future publication. I went back to writing for me.

By that time paranormal romance was well and truly a genre of its own. In 2010, I saw that Harlequin Mills and Boon were running a writing contest called New Voices and were accepting paranormal romance. Best of all, they were offering editorial feedback for runners-up. So I tentatively entered one of my Blackthorn stories – Blood Roses. I got into the final.

A year later, while I was still waiting for editorial feedback, I entered the competition again with another Blackthorn story – Beguiling The Enemy (now Blood Shadows). I got into the final again. The response was amazing and I was soon inundated with requests from readers to get both stories published.

Over the next few months, I polished up both novels and researched agents and publishers. I’d just started to sub when I was approached by Bookouture (founded by ex-Harlequin marketing controller Oliver Rhodes). They requested both manuscripts and fell in love with them. Soon after, I was offered a three-book deal for the first books in the Blackthorn series.

To top off what has been amazing three months for me, a major film company requested the book the day after the press release of my signing. Okay, so I won’t let myself get too excited – I know countless books get requested. But I will get excited about potential new vampire films being scouted. For someone like me whose passion for vampires has spanned almost thirty years and is still as intense as ever, that’s fantastic news – let alone for newbie paranormal fans already working their way through everything books, films and TV shows have to offer in the genre.

I guess I spent years trying to find my glasses (figuratively speaking) when they were on top of my head all along. I don’t regret it though. I learned a lot along the way – not least that you have to write the stories you have a passion for. If you love your characters – whatever they are – if you take them on a journey and root for them every step of the way, it will shine through. Know your voice, use it as only you can and hopefully one day you’ll find your audience. If not, you’ll certainly have a lot more fun trying!

Blood Shadows – the first book in the Blackthorn series – is available from Amazon
ebook
paperback

***

Okay RU Writers and Readers! What dream should you be following that you’ve been pushing to the side?

Come back on Monday and find out what RU founder Kelsey Browning has been up to!

***

Bio: Lindsay J Pryor is a British Paranormal Romance author who writes dark, intense stories set in the dystopian world of Blackthorn.

Find Lindsay online at www.lindsayjpryor.com or on twitter @lindsayjpryor

“An intoxicating blend of danger and sensuality – Lindsay J. Pryor easily earns a place alongside Paranormal Romance’s best writers!” Michele Hauf

“An incredible voice for paranormal.” Rhyannon Byrd

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27 Responses to “Undying Love for the Undead with Lindsay J. Pryor”

  1. I first read Lindsay’s work via New Voices and yes I was one of those begging/demanding that she should be published. She got me hooked on the paranormal genre!
    Blood Shadows is an absolutely gripping read. I literally could not put it down. It’s stunning! Lindsay puts a completely unique spin on the world of vampires. It’s dark, edgy and unpredictable.
    Can’t wait to read Blood Roses the next book in the Blackthorn series.
    Well done Lindsay you did your Dad proud. Wish you every bit of success x

    Posted by Tracey | November 23, 2012, 4:16 am
    • Thank you so much, Tracey. What can I say? You nagged me into submission! I’m thrilled you enjoyed Blood Shadows – I’m glad it was worth the wait. I really appreciate you coming to comment and thank you too for what you said about my Dad. x

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:00 pm
  2. I remember reading Blood Roses in New Voices 2010 and I adored it. I thought it was head and shoulders above the rest of the entries (including my own!). When I entered New Voices 2011, I kept waiting for Lindsay’s name to pop up amongst the entries. Part of me was delighted when I finally found her but the greater part of me was astounded that she was still not under contract. I had genuinely thought she would be snapped up. All the same, I read the first chapter for Beguiling the Enemy (the book that has become Blood Shadows) and adored it every bit as much as Blood Roses.

    I am delighted to say Lindsay and I have become good friends since those NV days and my awe at her talent remains undiminished. If anything, it has grown. I am now a third of the way through Blood Shadows and am loving every word. I’m now going to sign off so I can go back to immersing myself in the world of Blackthorn.

    Congratulations Lindsay – your book is beautiful to look at and beautiful to read. I wish you every success in the world. You certainly deserve it. xxx

    Posted by Michelle Smart | November 23, 2012, 5:52 am
  3. I am four chapters into Blood Shadows and feel completely immersed in the world of Blackthorn. Of course her work will have appeal for fans of the paranormal genre but I think what stands out about Lindsay is the mainstream appeal of her stories outside that niche. Her characters are 3D and so engaging they leap off the page and her world building touches all the senses – I feel like am in Blackthorn and I want to explore every corner of it. I have that excited greedy feeling of discovering a new author and realising there are more books waiting for me to read!

    After the saturation of Twilight it’s very easy to dismiss any vampire story with ‘oh not another one’, but Lindsay’s stories offer so much more than ‘just another vampire story’. I believe she has the ability to really refresh and redefine that genre. I absolutely recommend her.

    Super-exciting news about the film interest, Lindsay, I can’t wait to see if that pans out. Loads of luck!! xx

    Posted by Charlotte Phillips | November 23, 2012, 6:43 am
    • Ah, the ‘just another vampire story’ – the potential bane of my writing career! Fortunately I have a very savvy publisher who decided to read the entire two books first and listen to my lovely NV supporters – I’m very fortunate. Thanks so much for the amazing compliments, Charlotte. What you said means an awful lot to me. I think it’s super-exciting about the film interest too – just because I want an adult vamp series up on the big screen even if it’s not mine! Thanks for your good wishes. xx

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:10 pm
  4. Great post and great advice, Lindsay. Your passion for your characters and the world of Blackthorn shines through your writing, and kudos to you for remaining true to your vision throughout this long and sometimes uncertain journey. Congratulations on all of your success, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

    xx

    Posted by Natalie Charles | November 23, 2012, 7:29 am
  5. Great post!

    Excellent words of wisdom. You’re beginning to sound a bit like Yoda, lol!

    I’ve loved Lindsay’s writing for over two years now so it’s terribly exciting to see her begin the next stage of her career, which I predict will be huge.

    One the her great strengths is digging deep, very deep into her character’s emotional conflicts. To do that successfully is incredibly draining for a writer. But she does it effortlessly. Another strength is world building and as you can see she’s been living with Blackthorn and it’s characters for a number of years and that’s key for a paranormal author. She writes with confidence and authority and I’m terribly excited to watch her and the stories as they develop.

    This is the birth of a great writer, and I for one am thrilled to be here to support and cheer her on!

    And I hope she’s writing books four, five and six :)

    Posted by CC MacKenzie | November 23, 2012, 8:07 am
    • Yoda? LOL. “Big compliment you give.” (Sorry – total Star Wars fan.) I’m so pleased the digging deep looks effortless – it makes up for what really goes on behind the scenes! I don’t know if I put my characters through their paces or they do me somedays! I’ll never complain – I love it when they take over. Thanks for the amazing things you’ve said. I’m working through my notebooks for books 4, 5 and 6 as we speak… ;-)

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:18 pm
  6. Morning Lindsay!

    Congratulations on your book! It’s so exciting to see the New Voices entries take off. =)

    I’m glad you found your “voice” and stuck with it – your writing is amazing.

    Best of luck!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | November 23, 2012, 8:09 am
    • Hi Carrie! Massive thanks for letting me come and guest blog here today. I was so excited to see you’d introduced the post. I loved your entries in 2010 and 2011 – your voice is so addictive. Thanks for your good wishes. Oh, and I love the moon over the cityscape. Perfect. :-)

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:21 pm
  7. Congrats Lindsey!

    I love your story! I’m so glad you found your passion all over again and YAY on the film option. That must be so exciting. :) Good luck with your releases.

    Posted by Kat Cantrell | November 23, 2012, 8:26 am
    • Hi Kat! Thank you! I’m glad I stumbled back onto the right track again too – the passion was always there, I just never believed that anyone would love the stories enough to give me a chance. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. :-) Thanks for your good wishes.

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:26 pm
  8. Hi Lindsey,

    Inspiration comes from many places. Be open and ready for it at all times. Good luck with the books and movie.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | November 23, 2012, 9:45 am
    • Hello Mary Jo. Wonderful advice! And thank you for your good wishes with my books. The movie is still a far off dream but it was certainly wonderful to have had the initial interest. Let’s hope they find what they’re looking for. I appreciate you taking time to read and comment.

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:29 pm
  9. Hello, Lindsay!

    Your story is a wonderful example of how perseverance pays off. I love the cover of your book. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | November 23, 2012, 4:06 pm
    • Perseverance is certainly the key word, Jennifer! I’m thrilled you love the cover. I’m very lucky that Bookouture (my publisher) managed to secure one of the best designers in the business. I think he has done an amazing job. I was thrilled when I saw it. There are so many more examples over on my website if you ever get five minutes to look. It’s quite a treat – especially the Blackthorn crest. Everything is completely unique to the Blackthorn brand. It was a pleasure sharing my experience with you. Thank you so much for taking the time to come and read.

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:35 pm
  10. Congratulations! If your book is made into a movie, please come back and let us know! I love paranormals – I’ll have to check it out.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | November 23, 2012, 4:11 pm
    • If any of the Blackthorn books are ever turned into movies, Becke, I dare say you’ll hear me screaming from wherever you are! It was just a request of the first book but I was still overjoyed that my stories had captured their interest. At the moment I’m totally wrapped up in the sheer excitement of just getting Blackthorn out there at last. It’s been my dream for so long as you now know. As you love paranormals, please do check out Blood Shadows if you get a chance. I keep getting told it’s very different, especially as it crosses a divide. But I’m sure you’ll have your own thoughts if you’re a fan of the genre.

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:40 pm
  11. Congrats Lindsay!!!

    Am so happy that through the years you clung to your dream and were able to make it a reality. Your story is truly inspiring. :-)

    Wishing you all the best with the book releases and the movie option.

    Posted by Jennifer Faye | November 23, 2012, 4:16 pm
    • Hello there, Jennifer! I clung to my dream to the point I cut off the circulation! If my story is inspiring, then that’s wonderful. Breaking into publication is just so difficult. If I’ve inspired anyone to keep going, then I’m even more delighted to have been able to come and visit today. Thanks for your support.

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 23, 2012, 5:44 pm
  12. Hi Lindsay, I was one of the many people who loved your NV entry. Like Michelle, I’m amazed they didn’t snap you up, but as my mum likes to say ‘there’s a reason for everything’. It sounds like you’ve found the perfect publisher who loves your stories as much as we all do. I LOVE the book trailer. Can’t wait for my copy of Blood Shadows to arrive. X

    Posted by Christy McKellen | November 24, 2012, 2:52 am
    • I couldn’t agree with your mum more, Christy. I’m definitely very pleased with how it turned out – some things are meant to be. I’m thrilled you loved the book trailer. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched it! And you’ve ordered Blood Shadows? Thanks so much! I really hope you enjoy it. I appear to be single-handedly responsible for sleepless nights, dehydration and making people late at the moment – I might have to put a warning on it! ;-) Thanks for coming to comment. X

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 24, 2012, 11:58 am
  13. So happy that you wrote what *you* wanted to write. I love reading stories like this.

    Working on rewrites of my first book, a contemporary romance. My guy is a beta hero. I keep reading/hearing about how no one wants to read about betas, they want alpha heroes. Even if this book never sees the light of day, my next guy will be a beta, too. That’s the kind of guy I want to read about, but I’ve had a hard time finding beta heroes. So I wrote one!

    Posted by Laurie Evans | November 25, 2012, 5:06 pm
    • Hello Laurie. Thanks so much. Good luck with your beta heroes – it sounds like that is exactly where your heart it. Who says a beta hero can’t be as intriguing, complex or appealing as an alpha? Use your skills as a writer to make it work – you clearly know your voice. I hope all goes well for you. (PS I seem to recall Mark Darcy being a beta hero in Bridgett Jones. And who were we all rooting for? Not the alpha.) All the best!

      Posted by Lindsay J Pryor | November 25, 2012, 6:12 pm

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