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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Some Final Thoughts

Some final thoughts about American Hellhound as I wind down with the final polishing and get ready to turn it loose into the wild.

What they say about assuming is always, always, always true. I feel like that old adage pulls double duty here - for me personally, and for the story itself.

When I started piecing together ideas for AH last year, I thought this would be a very straightforward and simple book. Most likely a novella, barely breaking 200 pages. Throughout the course of the series, I'd spent so much time narrating from Maggie and Ghost's POVs that it seemed there wasn't much material there for a novel solely focused on them. Six months later, that assumption has been shattered several times over. This is the longest book in the series after Fearless. Turns out those kids had a lot to say. And in the process of uncovering their true story, I realized that Maggie was somehow stronger than I thought...and Ghost weaker.

Weaker is a poor choice of word. More vulnerable, we'll say.

For me, the most fun aspect of the novel was the juxtaposition of the way people viewed Ghost and Maggie Then - as screwup kids ruining their futures - with the way people view them Now - as the undisputed leaders of their club/family. True, this is fiction, and also true, this is an outlaw society that doesn't closely resemble regular suburban life, but I like to think there are nuggets of truth embedded within the narrative. The cast of this book is plagued by assumptions, on both sides of the scenario, and that's a theme I play with throughout. The contrast between what we think, and what we actually know...and the frustration of the things we will never know.

It goes without saying that this book handles situations of questionable morality. I don't think I'll ever be able to wrap my brain around the idea that certain readers enter a book about outlaw bikers with expectations of reading about impeccable morality. Some questionable and depraved stuff happens in these books, yes. That isn't a reflection of who I am as a person, or who my readers are - there we go with those assumptions again. This book, like every book in the series, was written with the fans in mind. It is my greatest hope that you'll all enjoy Ghost and Maggie's book, and that you'll look forward to the upcoming spinoffs.

I can't wait to share it with you! (And then sleep for about a week.)

In answer to some questions I've received: Yes, there will be paperbacks. And yes, I will be giving some away! Along with swag. So stay tuned to my various feeds so you can enter to win some Dartmoor goodies.

Thank you, readers, love you lots. We are ALMOST THERE!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

#AmericanHellhound Song List

Most of these tracks I've shared previously in the writing process - you can check the Music Monday tag - but I wanted to compile the unofficial-official American Hellhound Song List.

These are the songs that inspired me while writing:

Highly recommended for getting in the mood to read the book very, very soon...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Check - In

556 pages.

That's how long the book is.

When I get really frustrated about the time this whole process is taking, I remind myself that this thing is 556 pages. A bit of consolation.

I'm getting ready to start my final computer read-through, so that then I can order a proof and do a physical read-through. If I say "almost there" one more time, I might scream. But. We're almost there.

*Throws teaser at you and slinks away*

American Hellhound
Copyright © 2017 by Lauren Gilley

Monday, May 8, 2017

#MusicMonday 5/8

Another American Hellhound track for the day:

There's a specific scene from Fearless that I wanted badly to echo in Hellhound. I think I've just about pulled it off, so that's exciting! For me, anyway. You take the little victories on the long slog through the process.

While writing this weekend, I tried to pinpoint why exactly this book seems to be taking so long - it actually isn't taking any longer than any other book, it just feels that way, each word count goal painfully met, with none of my two a.m. manic writing sprints, fingers flying over the keys in moments of rabid inspiration. It feels slow and careful, like a school project on a complicated subject. Loverboy felt this way, too, so I think it boils down to this:

A desire to up the ante.

The urge to echo without repeating myself, without dragging out something in the same way, at the same pace, with the same layers of character realization. The need to go bigger, better, more explosive - while simultaneously maintaining a level of intimacy that keeps the story personal and relevant, and not just an array of special effects. So to speak.

The first book in a series of books is just that, the first. Everything is fresh and new. And you want to maintain that freshness through each consecutive book, while keeping things familiar and cozy, taking the characters to deeper places, pressing just a little harder each time. It's a balancing act. Juggling with raw eggs, and it comes with no small amount of pressure.

Sometimes I look at it and think "it shouldn't be this hard." And sometimes I think the opposite, that maybe the fact that it's hard means it's a worthwhile effort.

At the end of the day, my main driving force behind each new installment in a series is my readers. Having been on the viewing end of beloved media that went astray, I always want to deliver to you guys on an emotional front. I don't want that horrid moment of "WTF is this??"

Because upping the ante is only worthwhile - for me - if it's done in a fulfilling, rewarding way. There are enough stories out there that end in disappointment; I want to be one of the creators who delivers the kind that makes you smile.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Music Monday 5/1

Happy Monday and happy May! I miss blogging - when the book's done, I look forward to getting back in the habit.

Last night, I had my iTunes library on shuffle while I was writing - which I love, because a song pops up you haven't listened to in a long time and you think "hey, why don't I listen to this anymore?" - and this song struck me as very present day Ghost and Maggie, perfect for a montage of their greatest hits as a couple, so to speak.


If she pressed in a little harder, she thought they might just fuse together into one creature, something with fangs, and claws, and blood on its hands, and a tender heart. All this painful love for the family they’d made together: a family made of their children, and of the lost souls they’d invited into the club together. Her eyes searched them out in the crowd: Walsh, Michael, Tango, Mercy. All the young ones Ghost had brought up in the new tradition. When she’d met her man, the club had been a den of angry, snarling strays…but it had become a sanctuary for the misplaced and unloved, somewhere where they could finally find what had always been missing in their lives.

They’d done that. Ghost had done that. Taken a crippled club and turned into a multinational powerhouse, the strongest and most infamous MC in the world.