Ask KMM: March 2016

askKMMFirst a general announcement:

FEVERSONG will be available 1-17-17 and we are doing another epic book launch party in NOLA! Please drop by the book launch page for details as we are currently in the process of selecting the hotel and planning the itinerary.

Now a clarification:

FEVERSONG is the final conclusion for the entire 9 books Fever Series. In FEVERSONG, I wrap up what I began a decade ago in DARKFEVER.

I recently signed with Random House to do two more books set in the Fever World, to be published after FEVERSONG but they are different. FEVERSONG is the end of many things.

I will tell you more when it’s time.

Q: Annie:  Will you be writing each of the Nine’s stories?  And tell us who their forever love is?

KMM:  No.  The Fever Series was never intended to be a romance novel series with each man pairing off with a woman and living happily ever after.  This series is about Mac and Dani.  Their story has always been one of transformation, the joys and pains of sisterhood, a discovery of inner and outer strength and their journey toward love in whatever form it takes for them. The men in their circle are important and fantastically fun to write (especially Barrons & Ryodan, through whom I get to explore nearly sociopathic power, and Lor, through whom I get to behave as basely male as I often want to) but the Nine are peripheral to the women’s lives—not the other way around.

KMM: Here’s a bit of a different question. It’s a long one.  A wonderful one.  And I think many of us make the mistake of looking at reviews before we reach for something. I recently did this myself with an episode of SCANDAL that had gotten ripped to shreds. I skipped it and pretended it hadn’t happened. Then one day, I went back and watched it and was blown away by how good it was, how much I enjoyed it—and how I totally didn’t see it the way other people did at all. We’re all in different phases of evolution and places in our lives, therefore any type of art, media, books, resonates differently to each of us. When we let someone else influence us, we may as well carve off a piece of our souls.  Any Rand said: “By whose values do they judge?” Not yours. Be you. 

Q: Sara:  Let me start by giving you a brief statement of where I am coming from:  I have read 1-5 of Fever, and I just recently finished Iced two days ago.  Until tonight, I had no idea about any of the drama that happened after you released Iced.  I went to the bookstore tonight to buy Burned and Feverborn and read some reviews when I got home.  I wanted to know if Dani was going to be in them, because it didn't seem like it from the synopses on the covers.  I have not read Burned yet, and I have not read Feverborn yet, but I have both.  After reading more reviews than is healthy, I am scared to read them.

I LOVED Mac and Barrons.  I have read countless paranormal romance and urban fantasy.  I have watched any paranormal TV show or movie you can name.  And I can say that Mac and Barrons were in my top three favorite love stories of any I have ever read, possibly number 1.  Their first five books were well written, deep, thought-provoking, and heart-warming.  The way they complemented each other and grew together was so well done and rewarding when you ended their story.  When you ended it.  With book five.

It was hard to let them go, and I still go back and re-read them.  But you ended it, and they were in a good place.  And it was a place I was happy to leave them because you ended it so perfectly for them.

Then you started a new story with Iced, and because I was so invested in Mac and Barrons I was hesitant to dip into Dani's world.  But you lead me there, and I went with you because I trusted that someone who wrote a love story like Mac and Barrons' would not lead me astray in Iced.  And you didn't!!

 Dani is (or according to some reviews was) an amazing character.  She is strong, vibrant, and more mature than many people I know that are twice her age.  Her past and the unseen and unwritten trials that she went through before Iced added to her depth.  Her trials in Iced saw her beginning to grow, and they let us see how unique and talented she is.  I am a 23 year-old UCLA graduate, and you made me fall in love with reading about a 14 year-old girl.

Then there was her relationship with Ryo.  I will admit, when you think about it at face value, it is weird, a millennia-old man being attracted to a 14 year old girl.  But I don't care what people say about it being "pedophilia" or whatever dirt they'll sling.  That is not what you wrote.  Iced was the beginning of a very complicated relationship between a girl who is more grown up than her age and a man who recognizes what a powerhouse she is and will be WHEN she GROWS UP (emphasis added).

I get it, it's an out of the box romance that toes the line between weird and uncomfortable.  But you never crossed that line.  And if no one ever wrote weird it would be a very, very dull literary world indeed.  You have written different from day one, and I respected and loved you for it.  I would hate to see you back down. You did a fine job of navigating the potentially rough waters of their relationship by keeping it at an appropriate but still interesting level.  I invested into Dani and Ryo, mostly Dani, but both of them together as well.  I loved her story and I loved where you were going with it.  I was so excited to watch Dani grow into herself and maybe a relationship with Ryo.  When I finished Iced, I wanted to jump right into Burned.

(Side note, I finished Iced two days before I was supposed to take my LSAT, and I had to fight myself, painfully, to keep myself from buying Burned before I took my test because I thought I wouldn't be able to put it down.  That's how much I loved Dani's story.)

Imagine my utter and complete disappointment when I went to the bookstore tonight, picked up Burned, read the back, and was reading about MAC.  I think I stood there for a few minutes just blinking and staring at it.  Don't get me wrong, I love Mac.  But it was Dani's turn for her story.  She deserved a story, and I felt that I deserved to hear the rest of her story because you had already made us invest in it.  So I was perplexed and troubled when the synopsis of Burned read like Mac's next adventure and not Dani's.

Then I saw you had Feverborn out now as well, and I was like "Okay, deep breaths. Maybe Dani is back in full force in Feverborn, let me just read the synopsis of that to be sure there's some Dani."  Nope.  Not even a whisper of her name.  More Mac and Barrons.  Even worse, Ryo was mentioned with no mention of my Dani but some Jada person thrown in whom I have never heard of in any of the previous books.

Words cannot describe my disappointment.

I spend 70% of my time studying, so when I dive into a series I commit to the characters, and to the stories, and I invest my emotions and my thoughts in them.   I've reread your series 3 times now.   I invested in Dani.  I invested in Dani and her relationship with Ryo (or I'd have even taken Dancer over nothing at all!).  I invested my time and many of my emotions.  I trusted you to honor that investment, especially after the first six of the Fever Series were so incredibly amazing.

Now, I am afraid that if I read Burned or Feverborn, what I have built with these characters will be shattered. I might not be able to resist reading them anyway, but I am really nervous about it based on what I have heard. I know reviewers can be overly harsh. I don't know what you felt when you were writing these books, so I don't know if you "sold out" or just wanted to go a different direction for a bit.

I sincerely hope it was not the former.

But I had to write you this letter to ask you for an honest answer to the following question:

If I read Burned and Feverborn, will I be disappointed to find that the Dani in Iced has been cut off and abandoned forever?  I know that's an odd question to ask you, because they're your books, and why would you ever tell me I'd be disappointed?

But as an avid fan and reader, I am asking you to tell me the truth.  And I trust that you will respect that I do not want to ruin what is one of my all time favorite love stories, and what might have been one of my all time favorite characters (Dani) by reading more.  I will be so, so sad if I read these books and discover that Dani's character has been a sacrificial butchering on Mac's altar, and that Mac's character has been vandalized and razed.  I would rather not read any further and stop with Iced, with all of the characters still a loving and cherished memory.

I don't want to make a decision based on reviews; people can be prissy, mean wannabe critics, and I don't trust them.  I thought I would ask you.  Because if anyone could give me an honest answer, and a real answer, as to whether I should read Burned and Feverborn and whether they will tarnish these characters for me, it's you.  And I trust that you will be honest with me and honest with yourself when you answer.

KMM: Sara, thank you for a well-written, intelligent and sincere email. I love Dani too and in no way am done with her story. (You might check out the recent Q&A I did and also the previous Ask KMM for more details.)

If you loved the first six books--and you're suffering so much doubt about continuing because of what other readers have said--you must believe on some level that I changed, did the unforgivable and caved to pressure of reader expectation.

Never going to happen. I am what I have always been. The person who writes my stories unflinchingly and only for me. Life is short. If I live another twenty years, I have only 7,300 more days.

Jean Paul Sartre once received a letter from a young man torn between his duty to remain home and take care of his ill mother or fighting in the revolution. He asked Sartre to tell him what to do.  Sartre sent him a telegram with a single word: Commit.

Either decide to go for the ride without fear, with exhilaration and trust--or don't go for the ride. But commit fully because it's only in being half-committed that the world seems a strange and suspicious place.

You might find this review of FEVERBORN at Barnes & Noble's SCI-FI & FANTASY Blog helpful.

BURNED will hurt. I take Dani away. BURNED will piss you off. I neuter Mac.  Your joy can fill you only as deeply as your sorrow has carved you.

Make up your own mind. The only reassurance I will offer you is that I am the same fearless writer I've always been.

Q: Mel: Why did Ryodan ask for that kiss knowing Dani wasn't in the driver's seat? can u tell him to keep his paws off our girl until she's better!! Thanks.

KMM: I love how passionate you are about Dani. I appreciate your take on things. None of my characters are perfect people in a perfect world. It's not in interacting flawlessly that we discover we're loved. It's in making mistakes and still being loved. Not on our most beautiful day, but our uglier ones.

Q: Nora: What brought forth the inspiration for Jericho Barrons? How did you come up with his name?

KMM:  The inspiration came from living around people who say one thing and do another.  I was tired of listening to people lie when their actions belied the lie.  I’m a person of few words in a relationship. I believe everything that isn’t small talk doesn’t need to be said, it needs to be shown.  That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a fiery debate, or a good long conversation about stupid, trivial things. It means the important things need to be shown, not said.  I wanted to create a man who lived, not talked. A man with a sophisticated code of ethics.  I wanted to write a man who hadn’t caved to the general pussification of the world.  Jericho Barrons was the only name I could give him.  (I rarely reveal the symbolism of the important details in my fictional world. I gave you enough with “Zigor.”)

Q: Toni: I’m a writer who wants to be a published writer.  Can you tell me what you think makes for a commercially successful story?

KMM: Successful storytelling (commercially or otherwise) is no more than a re-telling of old myths (study Joseph Campbell or watch his DVD interview with Bill Moyer) in a way that makes them relevant to a new age. There are no original ideas, no literary devices that have not been exhausted.  The strength of a story springs from the choices a writer makes in employing over-used, millennia-old tropes to create a fresh take on a timeless myth that resonates with people right now.

Q: Donna: I heard Feversong is the conclusion to the series.  That scares me.  When I finished Shadowfever, I didn’t buy Iced for a long time because I didn’t want to say goodbye to Mac and Barrons.  Then Burned came out and Mac was back so I started reading you again. Then I read Feverborn then went back and read Iced and loved it. Now it seems like you’re saying I might have to say goodbye to them again.  I just don’t think I can handle this! I want to keep reading about them forever!

KMM: I don’t see a question in here but I hear one.  You’re saying, “Can I trust you to write something else I’ll love as much as I loved this series?”  I think so.  Ultimately you have to make up your own mind about that. If you followed me from the beginning of my career back in 1999, in romance through my move into Urban Fantasy (2004) and you preferred my Highlanders—you probably won’t like what I write in the future.  But if you prefer my Fever Series, I believe you will love what comes next. I continue to evolve as a writer, and genre circumscription can be the death of a meaningful, emotional story. The best books—in my opinion—defy genre. They break the rules. Like the most interesting lives. 

As I said in reply to the email above, life is short.  Although writing is a profession and I need to be lucrative for my publisher to continue publishing me, this is my journey to evolve into the best storyteller/writer I can be, saying the things I find important. If you’ve read all my books, you know me.  I’m there, in the pages.  Trust that.

I’m not leaving the Fever World.  I can’t tell you now where things are going.  But I think by the time you finish FEVERSONG, it will make sense to you. If I’ve done my job well. And I intend to.

A bestselling series is a blessing and a curse. I’m grateful for the blessing but won’t tangle with the curse. Ad infinitum can too swiftly become ad nauseum. I won't keep writing these characters forever—simply because they keep selling—and end up negatively impacting the very things we love about them.


18 Responses

  1. I just want to say Thank You, KMM! I began reading the Fever series and got my mom hooked. It has been so much fun to have such an intimate little book club with my mom lol! We discuss our thoughts and hopes for the characters. When you went through the loss of your father, I was going through it with my dad as well. Thank you for being such an amazing talent in the world and touching my life in such an intense way.
  2. I am in dire need of a new Highlander fix!!! Anything in the works?
  3. Loved this series. Looking forward to how it finishes. Must admit love the romance angle of the novels in addition to the intricate details of plot and setting. Trust that you have great things in store for the feverworld in the 2 future novels too. Yeah the
  4. Please, please tell me this challenge will be fulfilled in Feversong. This is my favorite book series ever, and nothing has come close to how Barrons was written in books 1-5...KMM–"One last note about Ryodan: He will eclipse Barrons. Blot him right out of your soul’s sky. That’s the challenge I’ve set for myself as a writer. (God, I hate it when I do this to myself.) It won’t happen in the first book, or the second. But it will happen."
  5. Love Highlander - love Fever even more. My thoughts on Jada/Dani. From when we first realized Jada was Dani, I thought that Dani was Jada. Going through fire does many things, it can destroy, or temper us into the finest we can be. Dani went through many things in the silvers, we may never know what those things were. Ryo always knew that Dani was the finest raw material any blacksmith could use. I think he always tried to be that blacksmith because he knew he could help forge Dani into her best self, without breaking her. Then she went to the silvers. I think she merged with her other there to survive. When she found her way out, she knew Dani would never be accepted as leader of the Sidhe Seers because they knew her as a kid and if she were Dani - they would not take her seriously. Dani came back forged into the finest weapon ever made, but forged by events and experiences no one could foresee, even Ryo. I think she took the name Jada to hide that she is Dani, in order to come back to her city and be seen as an adult woman, a leader, a weapon. I also think she came back for Ryo. Christian is too unpredictable and Dancer, if he is who he appears to be, is too young. I am following KMM wherever she leads.
  6. No question here, just thanks! I love the way you tied all the highlander and fever books together. Yes, I will have to consciously adjust to a non fever world when you publish your new series. I never heard of the controversy you faced after Iced released. Of course as a read-aholic I escape to someone else's world and accept that whatever happens as the author's creation. You are a gifted storyteller. Please continue with any world you like. You have already blessed us when you wrote it as a series!
  7. Just wanted to say thanks for your amazing books and unwavering devotion to YOUR story. I don't understand the haters or worries because to me, your writing always blows me away. I trust you and your vision and am never disappointed. Thank you for not ever caving in to others and for being fearless. Your writing inspires me.
  8. LOVE these responses! KMM, I have only two authors that I buy EVERY thing they write, and you are 1! I have been with you since the Dark Highlander and went back and read everything prior. You are an artist spinning a tale and I have loved and hated your characters but I will never stop reading you unless you stop writing, and I hope you never do!! I read and re-read your tales and every time they are fresh and new and exciting!!
  9. Maybe this is kind of a weird question since you've said these books aren't really romance in the way the highlander series was, but will Mac and Barrons ever have a child? Will they ever get married? I know being alphas it's a strange relationship between them, but Jericho told Mac he's not jer boyfriend, and Mac told Alina that she's not Jericho's girlfriend, so where do they lie? I know they love each other, but are they going to build a life together? Or just live together for eternity?
  10. I want to say thank you for the Fever Series. I am rereading the Highlanders and have read the Feber Series 5 times. I have turned people at work girls at the gym, & my neighbors onto the fever series. They have all said they would never would've thought they would fall so in love with such a great series. They love reading it and talking about it in . The involvement in the thinking of what will come next, and to get the next book to see what happens. The words there are unbelievable don't ever stop writing !💗
  11. I LOVED the Highlanders ans still mourn the end of that series but I also LOVE the fever world. Mac and Barrons and Dani and yes I've even come around on Ryo. I can't help but hope we find that Daegus (my all time favorit KMM character...seriously people even above Mac and Barrons. I've loved him the longest and the most.) and his Chloe-lass are reunited even though it looks impossible. I admit sometimes I loose my way and forget to trust you, KMM, to get us where you are taking us but I think that is because as a person that never left the historical romance genre before you, KMM, led me out of it I am, quite frankly, scared of the emotions you force me to experience. I have never come out on the other side feeling as though the journey was not worth taking. I feel I personally have grown as a human being in reading your books and have had to challenge myself to see faults within myself and accept or change them as the characters (especially Mac) have transformed and found their power. I too have done the same. So for that I thank you Karen Moning. I just wanted to say I love everything you write...even when I hate it! lol I have had to put the books down and walk away for a few weeks as I go through my own emotional journey that was triggered by one of your amazing catch phrases or life lessons. But I ALWAYS come back and re-read the emotional trigger and continue on from there. I think I have grown and transformed more from reading your books than I did from 20 years of therapy. Thank You!!!
  12. Great comment!! Dying for more Ryo
  13. Committed here! You've made me laugh, cry, cringe (thank you very much), given me chills, and hope. I love your diabolical. It feeds my reader soul and brain. You just keep doing what you do your way. I will be along for the ride.
  14. KRM
    Ditto to everything you just said Trisha. My mom and I have created our own little world reading KMM's books, I too lost my father, and KMM is the best! I love her honesty, talent, attention to detail, self evolution, and us fans. KMM is right, the best books defy genres and she carved her own path. Thank you Ms. Morning for every moment of truth, enlightenment, shared moment with fans and yourself, and the masterful escapism.
  15. I love both your Highlander series and the Fever series so much, and I will be sad when Feversong is released and everything is resolved, which is the unfortunate but necessary outcome of every series of books that I read. But at the same time, I am happy, because I know that if the series were to be dragged out any longer, it would lose its charm and everything that made all of the books so special would become quite dull, I fear. The Fever books are fantastical tales that draw the avid fantasy fan back, again and again, to read the novels and remember all of their favourite parts that made them smile, laugh, cry, frustrated and giddy or even pick up on pieces of the tale that they somehow missed after the first few times reading the books, which I admit happened to me. While I am sad that Feversong is the very last book, I am so very excited to see all of the characters on the pages for one last time in this version of the Fever world. I am also anxiously and eagerly anticipating the two books that will come after the finale of Feversong. Thank you so much, Karen, for giving us the Fever series and giving us a world and characters that we fell in love with. I, personally, will always have a special place in my heart of hearts for the Fever series. I wish you all the best in the future, Karen. I know that you'll continue to awe the world with your stories.
  16. Hey Miss Moning, I have been thinking about this for several days. Because we all have images in our mind as to what most characters look like. The graphic novel really helped with that. Maybe instead of having a movie with real actors you have an animated movie so they can be drawn as close as possible to how you described them. I think trying to cast live actors to fill the shoes will leave most of us very disappointed. Kinda like with the Harry Potter movies vs. The books. It's merely a suggestion. :0) I love your books I started reading them over again can't wait for the newest one to come out. Sincerely, Doranna
  17. Karen Moning
    Love this :)
  18. I enojy every single book of yours. I must say that as a foreigner I found it hard at the beginning of Fever series. There were words I'v never heard of before but after a while I was completally at ease. It took me only 3 days to finish each book ;) Looking forward to Feversong and will be as eager to read another books you will write in the future.