I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs since I have absolutely nothing I have to do, and it feels…odd. Since I feel like I should be writing something, I decided to respond to a few e-mails I’ve received regarding the origin of the James and Sarah saga. I’ve told bits and pieces of the story in previous interviews, but here’s the scoop in its entirety:
The story was inspired first by Twilight simply because if I hadn’t read the Twilight books I never would have watched True Blood on HBO, and it’s more accurate to say the Loving Husband Trilogy was inspired by True Blood. If I’m being entirely honest, I should say it was directly inspired by great acting from Stephen Moyer.
There’s an episode early in the first season of True Blood (I think it’s episode four, but don’t quote me) where vampire Bill is giving a talk at Sookie’s grandmother’s church. Someone shows Bill a picture of his family from his human days before the American Civil War, and Bill becomes so emotional at the remembrance of them. That’s what clicked my brain into gear. Here’s this vampire who has everything humans only dream of—extraordinary strength, immortal life—and yet he becomes so emotional at the sight of the ones he loved as a human. That episode of True Blood aired somewhere around October 2008 (at least I think that’s when I saw it; again, don’t quote me). So thank you, Stephen Moyer. And, no, your eyes did not deceive you—I did plant a few odes to True Blood throughout the Loving Husband Trilogy. The most obvious example would be that James cries blood.
After that episode, I started wondering… What would happen to a vampire who lives forever? Obviously, the humans he loved would have died at some point. Would he forget about them and go on? Would he have trouble moving on? What if he fell in love again? What would that look like, and who would that be with? If he was so in love with his wife, could he ever love anyone else?
I didn’t have any immediate sense that there was something tangible in those oddball wanderings. I like to tell stories, in case you haven’t noticed, and I’m always kicking scenarios around in this empty head of mine, most of which come to nothing. When I was still thinking of this idea about the vampire six months later, I decided to see if there was anything to it.
The exact date I began writing was April 15, 2009. It was a Wednesday. I remember the date because I was off for Spring Break that week. I had just come back from a few days in my hometown, Los Angeles, to spend some time by the beach and visit my favorite coffee/tea joint—Urth Café. Back home in Vegas, I woke up that Wednesday morning and the crazy vampire idea was distracting me again. I made myself eggs, toast, and coffee, sat down at the computer, started typing out whatever I knew about this vampire and the woman he loved, and never looked back. In case you were wondering, James’s official birthday is April 19 because that was the day he found his name. When it comes to character names, I feel like the name is inherent with the character; in other words, they already know their names, but they leave it to me to guess. I feel like the miller’s daughter scrambling to guess Rumplestiltskin’s name. Is it Bob? Is it Herbert? Is it Randolph or George or Ichabod? At some point I do guess correctly, and that’s without the help of a messenger spying on the One-To-Be-Named.
Since I’ve received so many e-mails lately asking about the Loving Husband Trilogy, and a lot of the questions are similar, I’m in the process of compiling a Loving Husband Trilogy FAQ I’ll be posting here in a few days.