Evolution – Unleash by Lauren Harris

I know, I missed a week or two. Sorry. I had conventions, then I had to get over conventions, then life…but anyway, there are a bunch of great Evolution posts coming in the next few weeks, featuring books by amazing writers, including this one, by Lauren Harris. I’ve read Unleash, and this is a helluva kickoff to a new Urban Fantasy series. You should definitely check it out! 

If you know me, you know that nine times out of ten, I will gravitate toward characters with swords rather than guns, so UNLEASH was a fat raccoon in the kitchen cupboard–wholly unexpected.

It came at me while I was on my third version of my first novel. Frustrated by an inability to get it past the Revise & Resubmit stage with agents, I shelled out for a novel revision class. While I followed a writing prompt, the first seeds of UNLEASH took root.

I probably wouldn’t have written the book if not for the confluence of several events on October 31st, 2010.

I had come back from Japan mere weeks before and was depressed, isolated, and stuck in rural NC.

  1. I needed distance from my first book
  2. I was eager to implement the outlining tools I’d gathered while revising my first book.
  3. I wanted to prove to myself I could finish a second book.
  4. NaNoWriMo LITERALLY started the next day.

The moment I realized I needed to write another book, the scene from that exercise sprang to mind. I scrounged up some note cards and hammered out a rough outline of a book I was then calling HELLHOUND.

Okay, so, my outline was almost worthless. I had 24 hours to plot, worldbuild, and develop characters. You know this first draft was a dump. I mean, I ditched a second POV within a few chapters, requiring some structural gymnastics I was not yet skilled enough to accomplish.

Lots of stuff didn’t survive that first draft. There were demons, Celtic ancestor flashbacks, and the bad-guy was immortal. Helena was a fake college student and there was some weird, second-dimension demon gate stuff that I don’t really understand now. All these things were better left on the book-journey’s roadside, though I will forever regret losing the scene where Helena–a shapeshifter–gets arrested while trying to sneak back into her window. Naked.

…which is how I learned that women can’t get charged with indecent exposure in the state of North Carolina. My Sheriff’s Deputy brother sometimes worries about the questions I ask him.

I started writing this book in November of 2010 and finished it that February. That original novel went through an arduous attempt to change it from third to first person before I realized it was the novel equivalent of the money-sink renovation. It was cheaper to just bulldoze the lot and build from all new materials.

After multiple drafts of my first book, I was loathe to get dragged back into the rewrite spiral. So I shoved the manuscript in a drawer, where the ideas fermented and matured while I improved my craft and published novellas and short stories. Finally, I outlined and drafted a book that–though it kept the same main characters and basic plot trajectory–bore absolutely no resemblance to the story I had in 2011.

That book is UNLEASH. Sign up for my mailing list get an exclusive excerpt and a reminder when the book hits the shelves.

Already think you want it? (You do.) It’s available right now, so go grab it!

(Link: www.laurenbharris.com/unleash )



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