As readers of Vanessa Wester’s EVOLUTION trilogy know, reaching the end of the trilogy doesn’t necessarily mean the story is finished. Vanessa is continuing her popular saga with the brand-new prequel novella EMILY, which is now available for pre-order at Amazon. With the help of e-mail and book tour host MY BOOK FAIRY, I “sat down” with Vanessa to chat about her life and her thoughts about the trilogy.
First, an introduction to the story:
Steven Thorn has no trouble settling in at university. He is confident, hardworking and intelligent. When Caitlin Chance catches him off guard he is bemused by the instant attraction, and the more he gets to know her, the more he likes. Yet, Steven has a secret past that is destined to reveal itself, and he is soon to become a stranger to everyone. The wheels are set in motion for his radical upheaval. But first love is a powerful thing, and the connection forged between Caitlin and Steven is not easily broken. The impossible is only the beginning…
Take us back to the very beginnings of your trilogy! What came to mind first — a character, a scene, the desire to do something in that genre?
When I first started HYBRID I wrote a scene that is no longer in the book. I think I was inspired by Grease and I liked the idea of a beach romance that was then renewed whilst at university. Of course, I added a sinister twist. My main character, Steven, was attacked whilst on the beach and awoke in a cave, disoriented and alone. It was pretty cool, but after many rewrites I took the scene out! I changed the beginning of my novel so many times. So, I’d have to say the scene came first… and my character was definitely inspired by a mixture of John Travolta and David Boreanaz!
You published all 3 parts of the trilogy within a few days, but I’m guessing the book took shape over the course of several months (or more). Once that world began to take shape in your mind, did the writing come quickly, or did it tease you along, a little bit at a time?
Amazon allows you to update your books, so the publication date corresponds to the date they were all updated. I don’t think Amazon allow you to change the publication date anymore, but I wanted to make sure that readers knew it was a new version. I would say Hybrid and Complications were written alongside each other. The first 10% of Complications was originally in Hybrid, but I did a complete rewrite of the end of Hybrid when I saw it needed more. This is why Complications was finished within 6 months of publishing Hybrid in March, 2012. Return took a year from beginning to end. I have to admit that I am terrible… I could easily rewrite the entire trilogy again, but I have to let go and move on to new projects!
The editing process for my books works alongside the writing of new books. For example, I have already written about 30,000 of my new book, whilst I was editing and working on my new novella, Emily, and editing another novel (which might never get published). Sometimes, I am in the mood for one story and other times I write just for escapism and begin a story which I don’t continue. I have many novels that night never go anywhere!
I think I have the answer to this… life! My characters and situations are real (or as real as they can be within a paranormal world). In fact, I read somewhere that people find it easier to relate to situations in a paranormal world, because they address the many issues we face today without thrusting it in your face. For example, within my trilogy I include instances of first love, lust, bereavement, suicide, murder, pregnancy, infidelity, unrequited love, thrill-seeking, coercion, paranoia… I think I covered a lot of bases!
You’ve had a very interesting career path — first in accountancy, then teaching, and now you’re hip-deep in indie publishing. What would you tell your students about learning to follow your dreams?
Everything is possible… you can do anything you want if you are prepared to work hard for it. Life has a way of shaping your path a lot, and it’s up to you to take hold of it and make it your own. It’s very easy to say, “That’s too hard” or “I can’t.” If you ask for help and share your thoughts with people around you it might surprise you. If I had never been brave enough to share my first romantic novel (as yet unpublished) with friends I would never have written the trilogy. Also, if I had not got pregnant again I would now be working as a secondary school teacher. Fate has a way of guiding your destiny and you just have to be brave enough to embrace the change. Yet, even when you follow one path, you can always take another one along the way!
On behalf of your readers, I have to ask: what’s next? Will you continue with the world and characters of the Evolution trilogy, or move on to something new?
I do have another trilogy linked to this first trilogy in mind, but at the moment it is on hold. I am currently working on a historical novel based on the life of my great, great grandparents. Both of English descent, they met in Jamaica, married and then moved to Gibraltar, where I was born. Victorian times are fascinating and I am having an amazing ride (if very daunting at times).
When Vanessa decided to start writing she found an outlet for her imagination. It’s the best way she can think of to express herself and escape from everyday life. She has a lot of eggs in her basket, since she’s a qualified Secondary School Mathematics Teacher, ASA Swimming Teacher, has a degree in Accounting & Law, has been a competitive swimmer and enjoys art, singing and drama. In addition, she is bilingual in English and Spanish, and speaks some Dutch, since she was born and raised in Gibraltar and has lived in Rotterdam. However, since her son was born, she has been a stay at home mum who gives up a lot of her time towards voluntary organizations.