Friday, June 8, 2012

Dark Shadows...with an Edge

On a brisk Sunday morning in the winter of 2007 (March 11, according to the note card in that year's organizer), I woke startled from a dream in which my grandfather had been the creator of a famous daytime drama called Twilight's Edge, a soap opera not unlike my beloved Dark Shadows, that had ended its run under sinister circumstances, leading fans and former cast members alike to believe the show was cursed. In the family's home, a great estate similar to that in the soap, props and wardrobe from TE were housed.  My character in the dream would go to that house, access his birthright, and relaunch the show as a Web-based drama.

My first activity of that morning as I recall (after brewing coffee and feeding the cats) was to jot down all the information from the dream on the aforementioned note card. Like so many ideas during that time in which I supported the family through my nonfiction writing, TE got filed in my idea box.  Later that autumn, however, after finishing work on my Buffy book for Alyson, The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I set about writing Twilight's Edge. Three months after I started, my 90-k monster was done.  Less than a month after that, I crossed paths with an editor at the new Ravenous Romance imprint, and TE was contracted for based solely on its story line, the debut novel of my Rom-de-plume, Ms. Jo Atkinson.

From the Ravenous Romance listing:

Twilight's Edge: Act 1 — Synopsis
Winning the lead role in a Web-based remake of Twilight’s Edge, daytime TV’s classic gothic soap opera from the’70s, was a dream come true for struggling actress Veronica Evans. Falling in love with sexy costar Ryan Flanigan – son of the original’s show’s celebrated vampire, and the driving force behind the re-imagined Edge – was an added bonus she hadn’t expected.
Roni is instantly drawn into the pomp and pageantry of the set and her surroundings, a grand estate located in a remote mountain town, and the presence of her fellow actors, many of whom hail from the original production. Even more so, her passionate new relationship with Ryan…
But there’s a mystery brewing on the set of the re-imagined Twilight’s Edge – unexplained circumstances that mirror events that took place on the old series, and ghostly visitations from Rex Flanigan, Ryan’s late father, leading them to believe that there’s either a murderer loose at the great house, or there truly is a curse hanging over Twilight’s Edge and all associated with it.

Based upon its size (nearly twice that of Ravenous's standard 50,000-word novel model), I was asked to split TE into two books.  Both were merged together once more in the autumn of 2009, when my beloved modern Gothic world starring Roni, Ryan Flanigan, Rex, and all the rest was reissued in print as a special edition by Home Shopping Network, one of eight Ravenous titles (my The Wolfpact also among that group of novels), the first time HSN has offered fiction releases to their customers.  During the May premiere of the new Tim Burton take on Dark Shadows, TE was again featured two days running as Ravenous's Book of the Day, four years (and quite a few novels) after its original release. My soapy tale of TV vampires, ghosts, and Gothic romance hasn't gotten the big screen treatment yet, but it sure is classier and more romantic than Depp and Burton's re-imagined take on a timeless classic.

From Twilight's Edge: Act 2:

Twilight's Edge Act II — Synopsis
Actress Veronica Evans won the role of a lifetime as heroine Daphne St. Claire in a web-based remake of Twilight's Edge, daytime TV's celebrated gothic soap from the ‘70s - only to lose her life when the murderer who's been sabotaging the production strikes again.

Roni, who has fallen in love with handsome leading man Ryan Flanigan, wakes in the New York City of the past on the set of the original production and, at first, thinks she's seeing double when she encounters Ryan's dad, the late, lamented Rex Flanigan, whose ghost in the present warned her about the curse hanging over both versions of the supernatural soap. It's 1977 and, like her TV counterpart Daphne, Roni finds herself in a terrifying time and setting, surrounded by strangers. Faces, the familiar and the infamous, parade past as the events following Twilight's Edge's cancellation play out precisely as expected. If she's ever to make it back to the man she loves and her own time, Roni must gain the brooding star's trust - and unmask the identity of a killer poised to claim its next victim as the stage lights go dark, and Twilight's sinister shadows engulf her.

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