You may know me best as Meredith Nic Essus, princess of faerie. Or perhaps as Merry Gentry, Los Angeles private eye. In the fey and mortal realms alike, my life is the stuff of royal intrigue and celebrity drama. Among my own, I have confronted horrendous enemies, endured my noble kin’s treachery and malevolence, and honored my duty to conceive a royal heir—all for the right to claim the throne. But I turned my back on court and crown, choosing exile in the human world—and in the arms of my beloved Frost and Darkness.
While I may have rejected the monarchy, I cannot abandon my people. Someone is killing the fey, which has left the LAPD baffled and my guardsmen and me deeply disturbed. My kind are not easily captured or killed. At least not by mortals. I must get to the bottom of these horrendous murders, even if that means going up against Gilda, the Fairy Godmother, my rival for fey loyalties in Los Angeles.
But even stranger things are happening. Mortals I once healed with magic are suddenly performing miracles, a shocking phenomenon wreaking havoc on human/faerie relations. Though I am innocent, dark suspicions of banned magical activities swirl around me.
I thought I’d left the blood and politics behind in my own turbulent realm. I had dreamed of an idyllic life in sunny L.A. with my beloved ones beside me. But it becomes time to wake up and realize that evil knows no borders, and that nobody lives forever—even if they’re magical.
Laurell K. Hamilton on Divine Misdemeanors
Meredith Gentry was created as a character so that my muse and I could have a break from writing the Anita Blake series. I’d written five Anita books in a row and was starting to have job anxiety dreams about her life instead of mine. I needed something different for my muse and me to play with. Merry was created to give me a different voice, a different world to visit. I guess she’s like a second child that you have so the first one won’t be an only. Then, like a parent that just didn’t understand that a second child doesn’t double your workload, but quadruples it, I was suddenly trying to do two different series at two different publishers. It went well since they’re both New York Times bestsellers. The audience for both crosses nicely and continues to grow with every book in a time when very few authors can say that. So it’s all good, but just like trying to juggle two kids instead of one, juggling two book series instead of just one presents its challenges.
At the beginning keeping Anita’s voice out of the Merry books was the biggest challenge. I was used to her, and her voice and attitude were closer to my own, so Anita wrote faster, clearer in my head. Merry was that second baby that is nothing like your first baby, so most of what you learned about taking care of character A doesn’t help a damn bit with character B. Who knew? But there comes a point when you make peace with the second child being so different from the first and so different from yourself. You find the unique joys in that second person, as I’ve found the joys in the Merry series that are different from Anita.
Anita fights me on paper and always has. She’s very much my rebel. Merry never fought on paper until the last book, Swallowing Darkness, and then she found things worth fighting for. She finally stood up and told me what she wanted and she was willing to do whatever it took to get there. I understood that. I let Merry’s desires, loves, and choices change where I had planned to end the first cycle of the series. Anita has thrown out entire last thirds of books by her choices, and even scrapped entire novel ideas because she’d simply grown in a different direction. If I did that for my oldest creation, how could I not do the same for my youngest creation?
In fact, Merry found her voice so pure and clear that on the last two Anita Blake novels I’ve had to chase her out of my head so Anita could be loud. Now the biggest challenge is balancing the writing schedule between two bestselling series, two different publishers, and that thing called a real life. Doing justice to my two imaginary worlds, and still managing to have a life in the real world... that’s the true challenge.--Laurell K. Hamilton