Road to Revenge is one of my favorite books that I've written. Is it odd to have a favorite among your own stories? It probably is, but oh well. It started off as a what if thought: what if I wrote something to do with my Masters degree. I lived for an entire year in Israel while I was studying counter terrorism and homeland security from experts in the field. I worked damn hard to get my education, but since the job market sucks I haven't been able to actually use it. So, what if I put together a story about fighting terrorism in Israel?
At first the answer was clear. After writing exclusively fantasy how could I suddenly branch into contemporary fiction? My readers wouldn't follow me. Up to this point The Dragon's Hoard series was selling like hotcakes and everyone was cooing over Cleanly Wrong, my brownie story. I felt like I was stuck in a specific niche of writing and breaking out of that could hurt me as an author more than it would help. Chances were also very high that Less Than Three Press wouldn't take such an eccentric story since there was nothing else similar in their book market. I couldn't find any books centered around real world politics on their site. I refocused myself on finishing Melting the Ice Witch instead.
Then LT3 posted an anthology call titled Kiss Me At Midnight. They were asking for a short story of less than ten thousand words along the theme of a new beginning. I had all sorts of ideas floating through my head: fantasy worlds, vampires, and maybe even another brownie. Yet none of those fleeting ideas went anywhere on paper. I sat down in front of my computer and just wrote, throwing all my ideas about magic out the window as I let my fingers go on the keyboard. Hadash Aviv was the result and I absolutely loved it. It was intrigue and mystery, coupled with the beginning of a love story and the end of a salvation story. I titled it Hadash Aviv, which means New Spring in Hebrew, and decided it was a perfect fit for Kiss Me At Midnight. But would LT3 take it? The love story was strong and central to the plot, but it had that tricky element of modern politics woven throughout. I was half-convinced that LT3 would reject it, but they are first and foremost a romance publisher. Hadash Aviv is definitely a romance book. I submitted it, thinking I was taking a chance on a long shot, and LT3 wholeheartedly accepted it.
Hadash Aviv got the reception I expected from readers. None of my fantasy readers picked it up, but since it was part of an anthology people did eventually read it. The general consensus was: great book, but too short. I received no bad reviews. Hadash Aviv was even nominated for M/M Romance's 2013 Member's Choice Awards in the Best Law Enforcement category. In short, if someone read Hadash Aviv, they loved it. I just wasn't getting a lot of people to actually read it. Maybe, just maybe, a longer book with more plot and intrigue would draw in a larger reader base. I decided to take another chance and Road to Revenge was born.
Despite having a Master's degree in Counter Terrorism Studies, I still had to do hours and hours of research to ensure every facet of the book was correct. It took me months to write Road to Revenge and it turned out to be as opposite of The Dragon's Hoard as any book written by the same author could be. There wasn't any magic, for one, but my main couple was already established. The story wasn't about their romance as they met and slowly learned more about each other. Rather, they were married and the honeymoon period was long gone. Love, however, had not faded in the least. When Mihi is hurt in a terrorist bombing, his husband Rafi can think of nothing else except taking revenge on the people who hurt the most precious thing in Rafi's life: Mihi. It's a love story about being so deeply in love that nothing else matters. Yet the terrorists are still out there and they're planning more attacks, which means that Rafi has to make the difficult choice between being with Mihi and saving the world.
I eventually submitted it to LT3 with a warning that it might have what some would call delicate subject matter. Delicate is a polite way to describe current Mid-East politics, but LT3 wasn't daunted in the least. Road to Revenge was set to come out on July 3, 2013. Within a few hours of its release date it received a best-seller star on All Romance. It was selling! I couldn't believe it! Like Hadash Aviv, Road to Revenge received no bad reviews. It actually has the highest rating out of all my books on Goodreads.
Road to Revenge is one of my favorite books because it challenged me. I was forced to use and expand on my education. I had to change my writing style to accommodate the difficult subject matter. Every bit of sweat that went into the book was totally worth it, which means a lot to me. I recently finished the sequel, titled Road to Home. In less than twenty four hours LT3 accepted it. They're not daunted by the series being different and neither am I. Will Road to Home be the final book in the series? I don't know. But I'm so glad I wrote Road to Revenge. That's really all that matters.
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April 3, 2019
The Coup and the Prince
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Mell Eight is an author writing with LT3. For more information about Mell and her writing, please visit her website: http://melleightfiction.