If you chat with me on social media and/or join me on my blog tours, then you already know I’m a pantser, not a plotter. By that I mean that instead of carefully plotting out my next novel or novella before I write it, I fly by the seat of my pants. That’s right. I just sit down, start typing, and let the story unfold however it will. This does not mean, however, that I have no notion of the plot. I always know the beginning, middle, and ending of a story—as well as a few key scenes that have been dancing through my head—before I get started. I just don’t always know the path that will lead me there.
This holds true not just for individual books but also for the Immortal Guardians series as a whole. Though I didn’t know exactly how many books the series would entail, how many characters would get their own stories, or in what order those stories would come, I did know several key elements of the overall series arc before I began writing Roland and Sarah’s story. I knew, for example, that Seth’s book would end the first series arc and how the jaw-dropping climax would unfold. I knew the ghost of Bastien’s sister, introduced fleetingly in Darkness Dawns and Night Reigns, would return later in the series and find love with an Immortal Guardian. I knew Ami’s brother Taelon would eventually make an appearance. I knew all of the d’Alençon siblings would find love. And I knew how and when Seth’s origins would be revealed.
All of the little—and sometimes big—things that surprise me along the way as I write are what make being a pantser so fun. And sometimes those surprises come in the form of characters… like Zach. When I introduced him in Phantom Shadows, I initially intended for Zach to remain a mysterious background character who only made brief appearances here and there. I knew who he was and his relation to Seth. But I had no solid plan for him… until he perched on David’s roof with Ami and accepted a lollipop. That scene changed everything, fueling me with a determination to help Zach find love and give him his own story.
Cliff is another character who surprised me. I never would’ve guessed when I launched a series in which vampires were the bad guys that one of them would come to mean so much to me. One might think it impossible since all vampires go insane and become monstrous killers in my books. But there you have it. I also did not foresee how much Cliff would come to mean to readers and audiobook lovers. Yet I have received countless emails, messages, and comments on social media posts asking if the Immortal Guardians and the doctors at the network will be able to save him.
Naturally I didn’t answer that question… and not—as some of you jokingly suggested—because I love to torture you. I just wanted very much to tell you Cliff’s story before I revealed his fate. This presented me with a bit of a quandary though that no other book has. There have been a few times in the Immortal Guardians series in which stories have overlapped. While Bastien was falling in love with Melanie, Richart fell hard for Jenna. While Lisette was falling in love with Zach, Yuri fell in love with Cat. My Immortal Guardians family is a big one, and sometimes they aren’t always content to fall in love one couple at a time.
Cliff’s story, on the other hand, didn’t overlap one book or even two. It overlapped them all. It began in Darkness Dawns and has slowly and steadily progressed until we’ve reached the point at which it all must come to a head. And thanks to snippets in Blade of Darkness and Death of Darkness, you’ve already come to understand that somewhere along the way, he fell in love. I’ve known for some time now that—whether Cliff’s ending would be a happy one or a tragic one—I wanted you to see what has been unfolding behind the scenes, which did indeed pose a unique challenge: how to tell a tale that spans nine novels and almost six years.
That was a challenge I readily accepted because I really do want to share with you what has been transpiring in my imagination. Since Cliff’s story encompasses the entire series, it won’t be told in the same way as previous books. A six-year tale requires one to