Guest Blogger: J.T. Ellison
At nearly every event I do, someone asks me which book in my Taylor Jackson series is my favorite. That question is nigh on impossible to answer, because you’re always in love with the book you just finished, because its done, and you’re always in love with the book just published, because it’s your newest baby, and you’re always in love with your first, because it’s your eldest child. You can see where that leads… no good answer.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. My newest Taylor Jackson, THE IMMORTALS, is hands down my favorite in the series.
To start with, the minute I started the research and began the planning process, all the horrible nightmares I’d been having while I worked on THE COLD ROOM stopped. Stephen King would probably be really annoyed that his source of story ideas dried up. I, on the other hand, was thrilled. Good night’s sleep, happy dreams… wow. It was stunning.
Secondly, I wrote this book very quickly, and submitted it short because I was worried about the story. I was missing something, but, forest for the trees as writing is sometimes, I couldn’t see what that was. My awesome editor, who has sadly left the company, read it and pinpointed the problem immediately, I needed a bigger subplot. We tossed around a couple of ideas before I realized I already had the perfect story, the background of FBI Profiler Dr. John Baldwin, Baldwin BEFORE Taylor.
Third, writing the subplot was a massive challenge. It ended up being almost 25,000 words all by itself, and in order to tell the story properly, it had to utilize flashbacks. I’d never written in flashback before. I was scared to death that I’d mess it up, but I think it worked, and my editor loved it. It made the book, which leads me to the fourth reason…
Fourth, I learned how to trust my instincts. I love to take risks with my books. I never want a reader to finish and think, hmm, JT did the same story over again. I want them all to be different: some serial killer stories, some mysteries, some heavier on the romance… heck, the one I’m working on now if a Gothic. Learning that it’s not just all right to challenge myself with intricate, time-bending stories, to get out of my comfort zone of forensics and into the world of mysticism and the occult, it’s better that way, truly gives this book an edge.
I hope you enjoy reading THE IMMORTALS as much as I enjoyed writing it!
JT Ellison is the bestselling author of the Taylor Jackson thriller series, including THE IMMORTALS and THE COLD ROOM. She is a former White House staffer who moved to Nashville and began research on a passion: forensics and crime. She worked extensively with the Metro Nashville Police, the FBI and various other law enforcement organizations to research her novels
You were very fortunate to have a good editor who was able to pinpoint the initial problem. I’ve always felt it never hurts to have a second pair of eyes look over the story. To quote Stephen King, “new eyes see clear.”
Congratulations on your work.