Behind the Book: Lab Rat’s Love
by Ana J. Phoenix
Nex and Kane first came to me when I trying to write a short story. It was only supposed to be a bit of smut to take my mind off a longer project I was working on then. I set a timer for twenty minutes and started to write. When the alarm chimed, the plot for a whole novel had unfolded in my head, starting with that sex chip experiment.
Since I was busy with other things, though, I dropped it. But it kept nagging at the back of my mind, so I gave it one month—NaNoWriMo 2013. (It’s basically a writing challenge where you try to hit 50,000 words on a novel in the month of November.)
I guess the story really wanted to be told, because I hit 23,000 words in the first week, which is a personal record. I had a finished first draft before the month was over. It was a mess, but a beautiful mess, so I decided to keep working on it. A lot of things changed between the first draft and what became the finished novel.
The most surprising maybe, in the first draft, Nex didn’t have a brother. Styx didn’t exist, though in the finished novel he’s a major player, even if deceased. I first thought of him when I was looking at a Wikipedia entry about Greek mythology and went, “Hey, Styx would go well with Nex. They could be siblings.”
It was quite a revelation; the story needed another character—a dead character. A common denominator in the past of the two main characters. I had to rewrite most of the story to make it fit, but it was worth it. I got to write about family ties, identity, troubled characters, and complicated relationships—and I love complicated relationships.
The story grew from a short sexy romp to a novel I was truly enthusiastic about. All thanks to a deceased character. Rest in peace, Styx. You will be remembered.