3 May 2015

Guest post by the lovely Jillian David

I have the wonderful Jillian David taking over today. Jillian's latest book is out TOMORROW!

Thank you, Suzy for asking me to do a guest post on your blog! You’ve been a tremendous support to new authors, and I appreciate your efforts to get our books some additional exposure.
Today, Suzy has asked me to discuss the inspiration for Relentless Flame, book #2 in the Hell to Pay series from Crimson Romance.
To recap, in book #1, Immortal Flame, we meet Peter and Allison, two tormented individuals who overcome personal and external odds to fight evil and finally discover love. Both characters have to sacrifice to gain love.
I like that theme: sacrificing one’s self for love.
So in book #2, Relentless Flame, I decided to push the envelope. I like to take on topics that are hard to tackle and make us uncomfortable. That’s probably why much of my writing tends toward a dark tone. I want to turn that stone over to see what’s lurking beneath. I want to find out exactly what goes bump in the night, drag it into the light, and confront it.
In Relentless Flame, we meet Dante, a swaggering, self-assured mountain of a man. He’s got the world at his feet, aside from the pesky fact that he has to kill on command as part of his cursed Indebted existence. His job? Seek out evil humans and kill them with a special knife that sucks out all that delicious evil, which feeds his boss Jerahmeel, Satan in human form.
One fateful night, a criminal who is about to die asks Dante to beg forgiveness from the man’s previous victim, his stepdaughter. Little does Dante know the extent of the damage this criminal wrought. In his usual self-assured way, Dante searches for the victim, expecting appreciation for delivering the apology. He doesn’t find the response he expected.
Hannah is rebuilding her life after her stepfather brutally assaulted her several years ago. She lives in constant fear that he will find her again. She’s broken in body and spirit and it’s a testament to her inner strength that she carries on with quiet determination. Hannah is surviving, but just.
Dante discovers that delivering an “I’m sorry” message cannot erase the torment her stepfather has caused. Dante has to question every bit of who he is as a man and an Indebted killer if he wants a future with Hannah.
Hannah must confront her demons and open past wounds to begin healing. Hardest of all – she must trust Dante to keep her safe, even after she learns of his eternal contract as a killer. Then, her strange powers attract the attention of Jerahmeel. Not good. There is always “Hell to Pay.”
One of the hardest jobs I’ve done as a physician involved a stint as my rural county’s only Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE). For about six years, when any sexual abuse/rape in the county occurred, law enforcement contacted me to perform the forensic exam. The collection of specimens, photographic documentation of injuries, and treatment to prevent disease – that was the easy part of the job.
The hard part? The detailed interview, complete with the patient describing exactly what acts occurred. And then the emotional fallout during the exam -- wow. No matter how gentle I was, how carefully I draped and covered patients, that exam brought out emotions in patients…and in this doctor. It’s a point of pride that I can empathize with folks and help them feel comfortable in unpleasant situations, but I must also maintain a “therapeutic distance” to keep myself from falling apart. Being a SAFE examiner pushed me past those boundaries.
After I no longer performed SAFE exams, I delved full on into writing. All of the stories from the victims combined into a big ball of emotion that needed a voice. Writing has allowed me to reshape those raw emotions, and give the horrible situations and stories new endings. No way would I ever suggest that sexual assault ends on a rosy note. But with love and support, I believe that a person can become stronger and not be defined by a cowardly act.
When I originally wrote Relentless Flame, I began the book with the assault itself, ugly descriptions and all. Under the guidance of editor Gwen Hayes, it became clear that the focus needed to be on life after assault, and overcoming the horrible act. So that assault became backstory, woven into the fabric of Relentless Flame, but not featured and detailed. Frankly, that jerk of a stepfather didn’t deserve the attention.
When Crimson acquired my Hell to Pay series, wonderful Crimson editor, Julie Sturgeon, further refined how Hannah and Dante should handle the fallout from the assault. If readers feel pain and hope, then those reactions are thanks to Julie’s suggestions on how to handle the topic with sensitivity. I can describe medical facts just fine, but maintaining a professional distance makes it challenging to wade into certain areas of pain and suffering without getting lost, myself. That’s the push-pull of writing and medicine. They don’t always exist in harmony together.
My hope is that folks will read Relentless Flame and feel: uncomfortable, hurt, hopeful, fearful, and finally love. And that theme of sacrificing one’s self for love? It’s right there, but comes out in ways that you might not expect.
So what was my inspiration for this novel? A vivid imagination, lovely patients, and the need to create something good from the ashes of pain and suffering. I’d love to hear what readers think. With the help from my expert editors, I believe we’ve created an emotional roller coaster for readers to experience.
Suzy, thank you again for inviting me to do this guest blog. Your Fiction Dreams site has given a voice to so many new authors. I appreciate your support!

Jillian, it's such a pleasure to have you on the blog today. I do love helping out whenever I can! Best of luck with the release :D

Jillian David lives near the end of the Earth with her nut of a husband and two bossy cats. To escape the sometimes-stressful world of the rural physician, she writes while on call and in her free time. She enjoys taking realistic settings and adding a twist of “what if.” Running or hiking on local trails often promotes plot development.
Goodreads: Relentless Flame
Website: Blog
twitter: @jilliandavid13

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Hiya! Thanks so much for stopping by the Fiction Dreams site. If you have the time, I'd love to hear from you so please do leave a comment :D xx