Giveaway: Moonlight author Lisa Kessler on the evolution of a new series
Please help me welcome back Night Walker author Lisa Kessler, who was one of our very first guests on GraveTells!
Hi everyone –
It’s super fun to be back on Grave Tells! MOONLIGHT just released into the world and it’s the first book in a new series for me, so I thought I’d share how the Moon Series came to be.
When I started MOONLIGHT, I had already written NIGHT WALKER and NIGHT DEMON, but I hadn’t had any luck selling the Night Series just yet. The rejections were stealing the joy of writing from me, and lucky for me, during my lowest moment, I got the chance to meet Ray Bradbury.
The Ray Bradbury. Oh wow was he ever inspiring. His love of writing stories made me cry.
Anyway, I asked what I could do to improve my writing. I actually thought he’d recommend a book on the craft of writing. He’s even published a couple himself, but instead he smiled and told me to write a new short story every week for a year. At the end of the year he promised I’d be a different writer and have story ideas to last a lifetime.
MOONLIGHT started out at one of those stories. I think I was about 12 weeks into the challenge. Every Sunday night I’d have a new story written and posted on my blog, but this one particular week I was really struggling to think up something to write. It was a full moon outside, but I didn’t want to write a werewolf.
That’s when the idea hit me. What if there was a woman who blacked out during the new moon instead of the full moon and had no idea she was shifting into a jaguar. (Cats can see in the dark, no moon during New Moon so it’s super dark outside.) It all came together. The opening chapter of MOONLIGHT started as a short story on my blog. I posted it, and then couldn’t stop wondering what would happen next.
I ended up writing MOONLIGHT and then book 2, HUNTER’S MOON while I continued Ray Bradbury’s challenge each week. I actually ended up writing a new short story every week for 18 months! I had a blast with it, and he was right. It not only improved my writing and fired up my creativity, but it gave me a whole new series!
I hope you all enjoy MOONLIGHT!
And what do you think about other shifters besides werewolves? Love ‘em, hate ‘em, undecided? I’d love to hear…
Rancher Adam Sloan is more than meets the eye. As the heir to his Pack, the sexy werewolf’s biggest challenge is keeping his kin’s true nature under wraps. But a group of jaguar shifters threatens to reveal the pack, blasting into town killing humans in plain sight. And when he smells one at the local diner, his standing orders are to take her out.
Lana Turpin doesn’t realize she’s a moving target. Raised in the foster system, she only knows that she blacks out during the new moon and wakes up without remembering a thing. But now she’s being tracked by some strange organization that wants her back–even though she’s never stepped foot inside their compound. And the stranger across the diner is watching her like an enemy.
It should be a simple mission for Adam, but when he touches the frustratingly beautiful Lana, his inner wolf howls…mate. Now, the two must find and stop the people who hunt her…and Adam must keep his own family from killing the only woman he will ever love.<
Read an excerpt
“I’ll have an Intimidator with extra bacon and two baskets of Cajun fries.” I handed my menu to the waitress, who raised a judgmental brow.
“That’s an awful lot of food for a tiny thing like you.”
I was actually twenty-five, but without ID to prove it, a truant officer would probably haul me right back to high school.
“Yeah, well, I’ve got a big appetite so…” I kept the fact that even though I looked small I could probably wrestle the big guy at the counter to the floor in a heartbeat to myself. I could also eat fast. With any luck, I’d be out of there before the creeps in the matching jumpsuits tracked me down again.
The waitress glanced over to the ladies room and back again. I rolled my eyes. “Look, I’m not binging and purging. Can I just have the burger and fries? Please?” I debated asking for dessert, too, but my order should’ve been enough food to keep me from getting blood on my hands later.
“Of course.” She snatched the menu from me and hustled away before I could give her my drink order.
Great. Oh well, I wasn’t thirsty anyway.
After fidgeting with the silverware, unfolding the paper napkin, and placing it in my lap, I glanced around the restaurant. I was running out of things to keep myself busy, and my paranoia grew with every passing second. Sighing, I peered out the window across the parking lot and then up at the dark night sky. No followers. No moon either.
I shivered. The new moon hadn’t been my friend in years.
Each new moon night meant waking up someplace I’d never been before, without any memory of how I got there. The sleepwalking started around the time I turned eighteen. At least that’s what I hoped it was—it seemed like sleepwalking. But my body only reacted in time with the phases of the moon, Lunar Phases. I’m pretty sure that’s where we get the word “lunatic” but don’t quote me on that.
Over the years, I learned to deal with “it,” but not so much what “it” might be. And last year after a visit to Bellevue, I thought I might finally be getting closer to figuring out this odd monthly cycle of mine, but it only made my world unravel even further.
Then there was the squirrel incident.
My gut retched at the memory, and I checked over my shoulder. New moon nights made me tense, but this one seemed different. Something felt off.
I faced the table again, shaking my head. Nothing looked suspicious. No men in white coats armed with sedatives in the next booth.
Maybe I’d finally lost them.
It wasn’t like Bellevue Hospital in L.A. would find me here in The Hot Rod Café in Reno and lock me up while I waited for my bacon cheeseburger and two baskets of fries. They wouldn’t come this far. At least I hoped not.
So why did my heart race like crazy?
The bell on the door jingled.
Oh, God. They found me.
About the author
Lisa Kessler is an award winning author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book.
Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.
When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.
Check out our first interview ever on GraveTells, featuring the fabulous Ms. Kessler, here!
Lisa is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one commenter tour-wide! To enter to win, leave a comment on this post letting Ms. Kessler know what you think of shifters other than werewolves, then fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!
Wow! Meeting Ray Bradbury must have been awesome! One short story a week sounds like a lot of hard work. I have your book in my TBR pile and hope to read it this weekend.
Hi Liz –
Ray’s challenge was super tough, but I grew to love it so much I actually kept it up for a year and a half! LOL It was really a super way to stay creative and keep writing and improving…
I hope you enjoy Moonlight!!! Thanks for grabbing a copy!
Sounds like a lot of work to me writing 1 short story a week but then i’ not a writer but I am a book whore and I love to read so thank you for doing what you do best.
I love all kinds of shape shifter’s Lion and Tigers and Bears oh my lol Oh and love me some shifter dragons .
Congrats on your new read and for not giving up.
I haven’t had a chance to read your book but i’m hoping to end that real soon.
Hi Lori –
Oh I’m glad you like all sorts of shifters!!! The Moon Series is werewolves, jaguars and psychics! 🙂
Thanks for the good wishes and I hope you enjoy Moonlight!!!
Thanks for sharing the great excerpt and the giveaway. This book sounds like my kind of book and I am looking forward to reading it. evamillien at gmail dot com
Hi Eva –
I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt and I hope you have fun reading Moonlight!
Thanks for commenting!