The Midnight Breed Series Companion Online - Lara Adrian

Introduction by Lara Adrian

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a deep love of books. Although neither of my parents are avid readers, they made sure my siblings and I had library cards in elementary school and a couple of dollars to spend when the Bookmobile came around to our small hometown in Michigan. I can still remember the wonder I felt—and the agonizing indecision—every time I wandered the aisles of the public library or perused the tables of brand-new books set out for consideration in the traveling Bookmobile. It was always so hard to choose just one or two!

Other kids saved their pennies for candy or the latest cool toys. I could never get enough books. I could never get enough of the mysteries that books showed me, the magic they created, or the many incredible worlds they opened up in my mind’s eye.

Books were my escape from all the things that troubled me. They were my passage into amazing, sometimes terrifying places I never dreamed might exist. Books were my home port, their pages a comfort and companion, no matter my age or where life took me.

They still are.

The fact that I now make my living writing books—telling stories I hope will give my readers some of the same kind of escape and wonderment that other storytellers have given me throughout my life—is a privilege I never take for granted.

I worked hard, but I also got lucky early on, landing a publishing contract with Random House for the very first book I’d ever written—a medieval romance that released in 1999 under my first pen name, Tina St. John. I wrote six more historical romances over the next six years, books that received nice reviews and won awards, but never found a large enough audience to keep a publisher happy.

And so it was, in the summer of 2005, that I found myself at a crossroads. My publisher didn’t want any more medieval romances from me. The proposal for the book I was working on had been rejected and I was without a contract—news I received just after my husband and I had signed a mortgage on the first home (a condo) that we’d ever owned.

Fortunately, my editor believed in me and invited me to send in something totally different for consideration. Even though I was reeling from the fact that my Tina St. John career had just ended without notice, my mind was already leaping forward to the folder of story ideas I’d been gathering and playing with over the years—ideas that included everything from gritty thrillers and psychological suspense stories, to small-town, feel-good romances. I also had a couple of concepts sketched out for dark, sexy vampire novels.

My agent wasn’t very enthusiastic when I told her I wanted to propose a vampire romance. She cautioned me that editors had been predicting the death (the true death?) of vampires for quite some time. She worried that, as with my historical romances, I might be coming in on the downward curve of the trend. Little did anyone know that in just a few months’ time, a certain phenomenon called Twilight would breathe all-new life into romances with blood and bite!

A couple of weeks after that bad news call from my agent, I submitted a rough outline and first three chapters for a book I’d tentatively titled, Kiss of Darkness. Feeling I had nothing to lose, I packed my story with all the things that entertain me most as a reader: action, suspense, urban fantasy, and, of course, scorching sensuality and romance featuring a dark, absolutely lethal, drop-dead gorgeous, uber-alpha male.

My agent read the material, and she loved it. She loved it so much, she asked if I could possibly expand the outline to cover three books, so she could shop the proposal to a handful of publishers as a trilogy. I worked out brief plotlines for another two books (one story that stuck pretty much as I’d pitched it, and another that, well, didn’t—which I’ll explain further on in this Companion). My agent sent out the proposals and told me she hoped we’d have some nibbles of interest shortly.

Not even a week later, we had offers from almost all of the top publishing houses in New York. An auction took place between several of them, and within a few days I went from being an unemployed historical romance writer to a brand-new, dark contemporary vampire romance author with a new name and multiple offers in hand.

In the end, I