Monday, April 11, 2016

Seven Series Q&A

SPOILER ALERT

If you have not started or finished the Seven Series (including One Second), this post will contain SPOILERS. You can can bookmark this post to look at later, but I'm also adding it to my EXTRAS page on the menu above for easy reference.

Straggler questions not addressed below might be added at a later time.

 


I wanted to open the floor to readers who have questions about One Second or the Seven Series in general, now that it's all over. 
 ~
I had a lot of questions about future books, spinoffs, stories of Ben, Lakota, Melody, even Atticus. I hope my readers can understand that I can't answer anything that would be considered speculative or not written in stone. In my mind, every single character, no matter how small a role, has a story. We all do. But whether or not that translates to an actual book is another matter.


Q: Can we learn about April's Mage gifts?


A: If it was not disclosed in the book, it's one of those things that will be unknown and left to the readers' imagination, including her maker's mark. Some Mage's don't discover their rare gifts for years, and I imagine April will be figuring out her new life for some time to come.

Q: Why doesn't Ben have a Book?

A: I have watched readers vehemently despise Ben from the time he betrayed Wheeler, and I only started seeing people ask for his book when the last one was announced as Lexi and Austin's. Part of this might be a desire to keep the series going, but...
Ben was never meant to have his own book. Not all characters were. Trevor’s love story happened along the way, just as Lynn’s did, and I think a side story within a main story can be just as rewarding because we cherish those moments and it also provides a fun diversion from the main story. The series was laid out from book 1, and I had no intentions of deviating from the plan. However, I did find a way to weave all those important elements in so that everyone got their moment.

Sometimes it can be overkill when every single character in a series finds love. That doesn’t always happen in real life. Some people have destinies that don’t involve getting married or finding that special person. 

For Ben, his HEA was coming home. He needed to learn to love and respect himself before he could share that love with family. I never saw him as a villain; only a lost soul. Many people lose themselves along the way in life by way of addiction, and Ben’s stemmed from the competitive nature of his relationship with Wheeler. I love exploring sibling (and twin) relationships and how each are different and complex. For Ben, he saw Wheeler as the better half. He made decisions that hurt people, including himself, and was enabled by Wheeler, who covered up for him his entire life. It weakened Ben as a man. Everyone in the family liked him and saw him as the good twin, so he never realized the consequences coming until it was too late. When he lost his family and the only person who had ever protected him, he truly lost himself.  It will always be a struggle for Ben, but his love story was with Wheeler and the pack. This series has always been  about family, so the "coming home" scene wrapping up the series was perfect. Part of that change had to happen in Wheeler, not just Ben, and Wheeler was finally ready to forgive.


Q: What did Will and Trevor exchange a the wedding?

A: lol Perhaps their jackets, but I'm certain their hearts. :)


Q: Could you explain why Judas was the rebel leader. He does not really have any ties to the rogues, was not a character with exceptional abilities and so on. Also, if he was attacking the Westons for the reason stated, how did he know that Lexi was his daughter, where she could be found, and that she was pregnant. I feel like he could not have known about her situation beforehand or why else would he attack any place but Austin?

A: Not all villains have exceptional powers or strength. Sometimes all it takes is someone having a voice and galvanizing people into action. Every villain is unique and are each driven by different motives. Only a persuasive man could have made Lexi's mother have an affair on a Packmaster. Lexi's identity was revealed in Seven Years, but it was never insinuated it would remain a secret (one can hardly keep secret the discover of a family member), so discovering her location wouldn't be difficult. Her pregnancy was not a secret by this time. 

Every book has had a villain seeking to keep the main couple apart. In this case, the only thing that could keep Lexi and Austin apart are death. The series explores the very best and very worst of family - her biological father representing the very thing that threatens to destroy everything she loves. The war is an extreme representation of how the past never really leaves us and is always the storm on the horizon that will test how strong we are. We saw the wind blowing for years through their lost pregnancies and how it shook Lexi's faith. Every man in her family has left her, so it was a wonderful chance to be able to explore her demons and see how it all shakes out.



Q: Why did you make the final book about Lexi and Austin instead of another set of love interests?

A: It felt right to circle back to where we started. Lexi and Austin’s story wasn’t over. None of my characters’ stories are ever over. They go on long after the reader has finished the last chapter of the last book. I wanted to show their journey from the beginning and all through the years; who they had become and what struggles they faced as a couple. The newness of love is a wonderful thing we read in most romances, but we don’t often get to revisit couples decades into their relationship to find out how they’re doing and what new challenges they're facing. That wasn’t something I wanted to touch on as a side story. They are the force that keeps this family together. Though Austin is the Packmaster who has grown as a leader, I wanted to show Lexi’s influence over her pack and the strong woman she's becoming and always was. 

This final book was a different kind of love story. It was about love of family. The heartache of one day losing your parents; the fear of your children getting hurt; accepting and appreciating the differences between one another; learning to stay strong, even through the toughest storm; welcoming new members and the idea that nothing will ever stay the same.


Q: During this series were there characters that jumped out and surprised you by going in a different direction than you originally imagined with personality or actions wise?

A:  Usually I have a baseline of personality in the first draft and nobody deviates. I always knew the rift between Ben and Wheeler, even if I didn't know all the details until Wheeler's book.  I can't say anything stands out since I have a good feel for who they are when a book begins. If it shocks me, then maybe I'm not being true to the character. I will say I didn't expect Maddox and Lynn to hook up when I first introduced him in Six Months. I really liked Maddox, and I could totally see how that would have happened, the old rascal.


Q: At the end of the book is the letter T. Who is that for?

A: Travis was the love story in One Second. Although, it could very well represent Trevor. That kind of worked out, right?


Q: Is it hard for you to keep the sense of humor consistent. With my mostly mainstream sense of humor I wouldn't have taken a picture of Reno in bunny slippers directly after his life mate almost died. But my husband would find that kind of thing funny. Is that sense of humor along the lines of your own or do you have to consciously make sure that moments like that happen to showcase the difference between human and shifter sensibilities?

A:  Not at all. In fact, my sense of humor is often something I have to pull the reins on in my writing to keep it balanced. In every serious situation in life, there is always an opportunity for humor, no matter how grim. Shifters bounce back harder than humans do. It's something I hinted at even in Seven years the way Lexi seemed to take every shocking and weird situation thrown at her in stride- something that separated her from the humans reading the book who might have expected her to behave differently. It's innate, and that ability dust themselves off and get back up is what has kept Shifters alive. 

And that's how the Weston pack rolls. You'll notice in almost every situation there are antics at play, usually from the boys, but it doesn't mean the girls can't get in on it too. We often want to compare what we would do in a situation with what a character does, but not only is each character unique, but Breed are fundamentally different from humans.


 
Q: What did Ben and his brother talk about at the end of the driveway?

A: Again, that's something I leave to the reader's imaginations of what two estranged brothers would say in a moment of peace and resolution. Ben has for years stood on the sidelines at events and disappeared, feeling what it is to be an outsider - something his twin felt for a long time. I think that gave Ben a sense of perspective as to what he put his brother through, if even a little. In the end, Wheeler recognized the sacrifice his brother was willing to make for a family he was no longer a part of, so Wheeler was ready to bury the hatchet and.... forgive.


Q: Why wait so long for Austin and Lexi to have a baby?

A: I think a lot of couples ask themselves this same question. Why not them? Why so long? That was part of their continual struggle as a couple. Explained in Maizy's book and also One Second, you learn that Lexi had lost many pregnancies, and it had taken a toll on them as a couple. Some people, like April and Reno, are fine with not having kids. But for others, it's the missing piece in their lives. Not being able to conceive is hard enough, but daring to hope and then losing the child is something else. Sometimes people are willing to sacrifice everything for a child, even at the risk of losing their own life.

Q:  I feel like I should know the answer to this, but whatever happened to Delgado? 

A: Wheeler "took care of him" In Three Hours.
“I took care of him,” he said, allowing his words to settle. “Put him in the ground on that property where no one will find him.”

Because the series just ended, readers had to wait a long time between books. Although, some re-read them with each release. Now that the series is over, it might be fun to do a full reread and catch all the little hints foreshadowed early on, as well as remember and experience everything all over. :)


BONUS INFO




 In FOUR DAYS, Ivy visits a Hot Dog shop up in Cognito. This is Charles (Charlie) Langston's store, and he's the man behind the counter.

In TWO MINUTES, it's mentioned that someone left a chess piece on Thomas's grave. Though it's never mentioned again, Simon (Mageri Series) placed it there.  Thomas was a human and got involved in their world when he fixed a computer for a Mage. I drop a hint when Thomas says "...if I betrayed them, he’d have a Vampire scrub my memory to the point where I’d be singing nursery rhymes in my nappies.”

And in the final book, ONE SECOND, two characters from the Mageri series are present during the war. I didn't write more details on them because it would have detracted from the story and scene to put too much focus on them. This was about the Weston pack, but it was also an opportunity to show how the whole family comes together when it counts.

In FOUR DAYS, Wheeler mentions a "Marco". Yes, this was Marco De Gradi (Mageri series). Remember that he owns bars, clubs, and elite hotels and is located in Texas.

Cameo's are fun, and I prefer to put them in on the sly, especially since it could spoil things for readers who have not read the other series yet. Not everyone has read my books in the same order, so I haven't mentioned the biggest crossover for a reason. Mageri fans knew right away, but I didn't give too many details. This is what makes rereading my books especially fun. Names (especially full names) aren't always mentioned, but for good reason. The perceptive reader familiar with all my books will pick up on it, and yet it won't ruin surprises for readers who aren't up to speed with all my books.

As exciting as cameos are, which gives readers more page-time with their favorite characters, please remember that it becomes extremely hard to keep track of, and if done unnecessarily, can cause me to mess up with the time sequences and open me up to mistakes. This is not something I will promise to do in every book or series I write. The excitement for me is the new characters and drawing readers into their lives. We can always go back to the other books to revisit, but I never want to shine the light away from the new kids on the block, who are just as compelling and deserve to have their own following.

Until next time....

Dannika :)

7 comments:

  1. I loved reading about Lakota in One Second! And when there was mention of a Chitah and Mage joining the fight, I sent up a little, "Yay" at Silver and Logan's cameo :)

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  2. I absolutely adore the way you write! I look forward to loosing myself in the worlds you create every time I pick up one of your books (which I've read several times) and then morn the loss after two days when i've already finished the book. One second was amazing, I found myself getting so excited when something I've hoped for several books finally happened or was brought up! So happy for Trevor and William! Love the little cameos from the Mageri series, I put together Charlie being the owner and of the hot dog shop in Cognito and its so cool to have those little things pop up. Keep up the great work! I anxiously await Simons book!

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  3. I don't mind not having anymore of the adults books, I feel Ben's, Trevor, William, Atticus, Maddox and Lynne's stories have been wrapped up well, however I think it would be awesome to have a next generation series. I think Lakota and Melody would be one book and then the others would be individuals. (In my opinion) Plus bits and pieces about their parents.

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  4. I loved the subtle way some of the stories unfolded around the central story. Especially William's.

    I did hope that in the future we could see Lakota and Mel get together. I would've loved it if Lakota becomes the beta for one of the twins. But perhaps that's a story for another series...

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  5. I'm in love with your stories. Reading gives me an hour or so of me time, and it is great to curl up with one of your books, or fold clothes listening to Audible. I am looking forward to Risk, and hope that the Mageri Series continues. But, if not, I have no doubt that you will come out with a new breed of character for me to fall in love with!❤

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  6. Glad to know that April will be around for a long time. Wish you could have opened that up in her story.

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