The Evolution of Paper Dragon

by | Apr 4, 2021

Or, how Jake Winslow* went from being a side character in the Sister Witches Urban Fantasy series to the star of his own trilogy.

“A muscle-bound human crouched beside a small pool of water. One of his ankles was chained to the flat-topped boulders stacked at his back. The metal ring was thick and the chain was chunky, cumbersomeā€”sized to keep boats attached to piers, not men attached to rocks. Unless the man possessed a mythic kind of strength.”

“The Scarab Eater’s Daughter” gave us our first glimpse of Jake. A much more complete version of his backstory began to evolve during the first draft of Paper Dragon. I thought Alderose would become his “love interest,” that they would stumble through figuring out how to be in a romantic relationship.

Turns out, the witch and the dragon weren’t suited for each other.

The short story I started from Alderose’ point of view after the final scene in Witches Everbound convinced me she had a whole other story arc to follow. Once I let go of the idea that she and Jake would become more than friends, his story really opened up.

I like to set challenges for myself with each book, and writing from a male point of view was a big one. I was confident I could do it; after all, I’d raised four sons and read them so many fantasy genre books through their childhoods.

Rolling up my sleeves, I dove in. The editor I hired sent back the early manuscript with a brutal assessment of the story (editor Michelle went on maternity leave after “Beguiled, Bewitched, & Broken”).

My head was messed up for weeks.

My husband became a constant sounding board. He believed in Jake and his complicated family life–and so did I. My author friend, Meka James, was right there too. With their support, I set goals for this book. Showed up to my on-line writing community (Go, Tasha L. Harrison’s Wordmakers!) five mornings a week and tapped into the energy of that workflow. Cover designer Elizabeth Mackey gave me a fantastic cover for Paper Dragon, and once again knocked it out of the park with the covers for books #2 and #3.

PAPER DRAGON releases in ebook on April 27 (you can order the paperback now). I can’t wait for you to read it!

(*Random Fact: I dated a descendant of the artist Winslow Homer in college–and that’s where Jake got his last name šŸ˜)

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