Mindy: While writing The Dark Divine, did you always plan to write the story as a trilogy?
Bree: At first I saw the book as a stand alone, but one of my mentors suggested that I leave the book open ended enough so it would have series potential. That way the book could be satisfying on its own, but have room to grow if my publisher (and readers) wanted it to. Luckily, my publisher asked for a second book. However, when I started writing the second book, I realized I couldn’t finish Grace and Daniel’s story in only two books. There were so many more things I wanted to do with the characters and storyline than I could fit in just that second book! I decided to end the second book with a pretty big cliffhanger in the hopes that my publisher would ask for a third book. And sure enough, two weeks after I turned in the manuscript for book two, they asked for a third. I am so happy about that. Book three, THE SAVAGE GRACE, is my favorite in the series.
Mindy: From the beginning, did you already know what would happen with the characters and how the story would end?
Bree: I always knew how the story would end between the three main characters. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to get them there, but I always had the image of what would happen between the three of them in my head.
Mindy: Do any of your characters remind you of someone you know now or knew from your past? And how did you come up with your characters and their names?
Bree: The first book in the series, THE DARK DIVINE, was initially inspired by something that actually happened to me. When I was a little girl, I was good friends with a neighbor boy. We played together all the time until his family moved across the country in the second grade. I figured I would never see him again, but then one day when I was in the ninth grade, I went into my history class and found this rough looking guy sitting in the seat behind mine. He had long hair that hid his face, was drug addict-skinny, and his clothes were ripped and rumpled. He made me nervous but I figured that if I didn’t bother him, he wouldn’t bother me. Wrong! The second I sat down, he started hassling me. I finally got so annoyed, I turned around and said, “Who the hell do you think you are?” He looked up at me then and asked, “So you don’t recognize me then?” That’s when I realized that this guy was actually my old best friend. But before I could say anything else, he got kicked out of class. And I never saw him again. (He got kicked out of school that same day, and he never came back.)
For a long time, I was haunted by this encounter. I couldn’t stop wondering what had happened to him to change him so much from the boy I’d known. And I couldn’t stop wondering where he went after that day, or what might have become of him. Or what might have happened to me if he hadn’t disappeared again. I eventually forgot about him until about ten years later when I was driving down the street and I suddenly remembered this strange encounter. Then a conversation between a brother and a sister started playing in my head. The brother was warning his sister to stay away from an old friend of theirs who had returned after having disappeared 3 years ago. “He’s dangerous. You have to stay away from him. He isn’t the person he used to be,” the brother kept saying. I knew the brother had some sort of secret he wasn’t sharing with the sister, and I knew she wouldn’t be able to stay away from the friend. I had to figure out what was going on with these people, so I went home and started writing down their conversation in a notebook—and just kept going until I’d written THE DARK DIVINE.
Mindy: How long did it take you to write each book in The Dark Divine trilogy?
Bree: The first book took 4 years on and off, so probably about 2 ½ years of actually working on it.
For the 2nd book, I was given 4 months to write it. (But I pushed it to about 6 months.)
I was told I had 3 months to write the 3rd book, but I knew I couldn’t do the book justice (for myself or for my readers) in that short amount of time, so I insisted on taking longer. It probably took me about 8 months to write the first draft.
Mindy: How are your wolves different from “typical” werewolves?
Bree: My werewolf mythology was inspired by an old court document from the 16th Century I found while researching. It told a story about a man who was accused of being a werewolf and was facing a death sentence by stoning. However, instead of trying to fight their accusations, he stood up in court and said that he was indeed a werewolf—but that the town didn’t understand what werewolves really were. He claimed that werewolves were invented to protect humans from demons and monsters, and if the town killed him, they would no longer be protected. The court decided to let him go (just in case he was telling the truth) and he escaped being stoned to death. I thought this was a really clever twist on typical “werewolves are evil” mythology and I decided to expand on this idea. In my books, werewolves were created by God to protect humans from demons—however, they eventually became so prideful of their special abilities that they were corrupted by their power and transformed into monsters even more evil than what they were originally created to destroy. Their blessings became their curse, so to speak. Some of the characters in my books are looking for a way to redeem the werewolves and return them to what they were originally meant to be—the Hounds of Heaven.
Mindy: Now that you are done with your series, do you have plans for a spin-off, or are you currently writing a new book that you can tell us about?
Bree: No plans for a spin-off right now, but I have played with the idea. Currently, I am working on a new book that is slated for publication in Fall 2013. It’s about a demon prince who is sent to the mortal world with 6 months to convince a certain girl to return with him to the Underworld. If he fails, all hell will literally break loose upon the world. But if he succeeds, the girl will die. The complication he didn’t see coming: he falls in love with her—despite not even knowing what love is until now. Now the two must figure out how to either outrun or outsmart their fate.
Mindy: A couple years ago you wrote a short online post about “The real reason Daniel didn’t go after Grace when she found out what he did.” Basically, the story was about Daniel vs. Jace. Do you have anything else out there like that?
Bree: Ha ha. That was a fun story I wrote for some bloggers—but it doesn’t really fit into the Dark Divine canon. I do have an eBook short
story called “The Lost Letters of Gabriel.” It is a collection of letters that tell the story of how Gabriel (Daniel and Grace’s mentor) became a werewolf. It also gives some interesting insights on my werewolf mythology. The eBook can be found for only $1.99 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble —and all of my proceeds go to a charity called Kids Need to Read!
The Dark Divine trilogy!
Click on the book covers below to buy on Amazon!
Click on the book covers below to buy on Amazon!
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry, glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boys' dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.
The non-stop sequel to The Dark Divine delivers an even hotter romance and more thrilling action than Bree Despain's first novel. Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven. Desparate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble. Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung. Readers, raveous for more Grace and Daniel, will be itching to sink their teeth into The Lost Saint.
Grace's life is a mess. Daniel is still a werewolf, Talbot can't be trusted, and Caleb is still out there. With Sirhan's impending death, war seems imminent. Will Grace give in to the wolf to save her family? What will happen to Daniel . . . and can their love survive one last test?
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