ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs, Author, Screenwriter, Copywriter and Dramatic Historian
When I stopped wishing I could be a writer and I actually sat down to write my first novel, The Vital Sacrifice, I decided that I wanted it to be a love story between my two main characters, Teresa McMillan and Ali Rahman. My initial drafts set their love story in the past during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, but something kept urging me to make it a present-day tale. So, I put the drafts of their past romance aside and began working on their modern love story.
As I was formulating their contemporary romance, I was pleased with its development, but I felt that their past romance had relevance in my tale. How could I juxtapose a story set during the 1500s with the present-day?
That’s when a light bulb came on in my head. As I pondered how to fit both tales into one storyline, I remembered that my favorite horror film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, tied in a historical love story between Count Dracula and Mina. She and Dracula were lovers during 15th century Romania and they crossed paths again in late 19th century Victorian England. Dracula was a paranormal entity who lived for many years feasting off the blood of humans which was how he was able to see Mina again. I concluded that if I was going to weave Ali and Teresa’s past and present together, I would have to make Ali a paranormal character; however, I didn’t want to write a vampire tale. I needed to create a unique paranormal love story that was different from what was already on the market.
I thought about using other paranormal creatures such as werewolves, zombies or ghosts but none of these inspired me. The genie in the lamp tale intrigued me but I didn’t want my love story to be about Teresa rubbing a lamp and out comes Ali, the man of her dreams. Since I was creating an adult love story, I didn’t want my tale to morph into a children’s novel by using the genie in the traditional sense that we are familiar with in western culture. Therefore, I had to reconstruct the whole idea of how we perceive genies in this culture.
When I researched genies, I discovered that they are much more than the playful entities that we see in Aladdin tales. Eastern cultures, which refer to the genie as Djinn, have cunning and somewhat vicious interpretations of what these creatures are. My research revealed that these entities exist in a world similar to our own but they are invisible to the human eye. They also live much longer than humans and have different classifications ranging from the playful types that we see in Hollywood to much scarier ones.
After realizing that I didn’t have to stick to the genie in a lamp cliché, I begin to work diligently developing a genie that didn’t play by the rules of lamp enslavement and instead existed on his own terms. My genie characters were half-men half-genies but live longer than their human counterparts. This paranormal character was the glue that I needed to link Ali and Teresa’s past romance to the present one and this changed my story from a romance to a paranormal romance novel.
Follow this blog to learn more about how I developed the paranormal novel, The Vital Sacrifice.
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