Monday, July 16th, 2012
Join me in welcoming Kate Lutter to Highlighted Author
Kate Lutter believes she was born to write. She wrote her first novel when she was in eighth grade, but then almost burned her house down when she tried to incinerate her story in the garbage can because she couldn’t get the plot to turn out right. Now, many years later, she lives in NJ with her husband and five cats (no matches in sight) and spends her days writing contemporary paranormal romances, traveling the world, and hanging out with her four wild sisters. She is happy to report that her debut novel, Wild Point Island, the first in a series, has just been published by Crescent Moon Press. She is busy writing the sequel and her weekly travel blog entitled Hot Blogging with Chuck, which features her very snarky and rascally almost famous cat.
Welcome, Kate. Please tell us how Wild Point Island came to be.
I blame my husband for my addiction to vampire-like heroes.
He was the one who suggested I watch the hot new HBO show True Blood, and, of course, I was hooked immediately. The attraction between Bill, the 173 year-old vampire and Sookie, the small town waitress who could hear people’s thoughts was mesmerizing. They seemed destined to be together and yet doomed to failure. And everywhere I turned that year, people—mostly women—were talking about Sookie and Bill and Eric, the other vampire who lusted after Sookie. Every woman I knew seemed to be in one of two camps: the Bill fans or the Eric fans.
Suddenly, vampires had become the new hero in novels.
Was it their super human strength or their old world charm or their bad boy past?
For me, the vampire as hero was perfect because when a woman hooks up with a vampire, there’s little or no hope of a future—which means instant conflict. Sorry, I’m a writer. But in the case of True Blood, the relationship between Bill and Sookie—that destined to be together part—also spoke to me.
I was schooled in the Michael Hauge screenwriting philosophy. Hauge, a famous Hollywood scriptwriter, travels the country preaching that what solidifies a romance between a hero and a heroine is more than just physical attraction; it’s the reader’s belief that the hero and heroine are made for each other. That belief hinges on the moment when the hero and the heroine can see each other for who they really are.
In True Blood, Bill warns Sookie that she can never have a relationship with a human man because her ability to hear his thoughts will always get in the way. Then you see the scene when Sookie feels a perfect peace with Bill, and you know he’s right. For Sookie, she’s one of the few humans who can see Bill as a man, separate from his vampire persona, someone who’s still capable of love.
As a writer, I was immediately inspired to come up with a storyline that was as compelling for my novel Wild Point Island. But I wanted to invent a new kind of life form, a life form that had some of the same features as a vampire but one who wouldn’t have the same need to kill their victims and drink their blood. I’m a bit squeamish that way.
I called my new life form a revenant, which means one who comes back from a long journey or from the dead. And then I needed to create a 400 year-old backstory, rooted in an actual event—what historians refer to as The Lost Colony of Roanoke—the greatest mystery in American history.
But let me explain.
In 1587 English colonists settled on the Island of Roanoke, off the coast of North Carolina. Then the mother ship sailed to England for supplies, leaving about 100 colonists behind. When she returned, the entire colony had disappeared. Most historians believed that the colonists died of starvation or drought or were massacred by the native population, but a few historians speculated that the colonists may have relocated somewhere else.
That’s the theory I followed. I created a mythical island—Wild Point Island—and decided that the colonists went there, then survived by eating a local plant called Euphorbia Candelabra, a plant which transformed them physiologically into another life form and granted them immortality, but at a price—they were confined to the island and needed to continue eating the plant, the Euphorbia Candelabra, to survive.
I wanted to write a story about two people who fall in love but can’t be together. Even though Ella, my heroine, has developed a magic elixir so revenants can now leave the island, Simon, my hero, who is a revenant, can’t leave Wild Point Island without the ruling Council’s permission. If he helps Ella, my heroine, who is half revenant and half human, rescue her father, he’ll sabotage his own chances of leaving the island and being with Ella.
Ella has the same problem as Sookie. She lives among humans, but she’s had to hide her true identity all her life. This secret has made it difficult for her to find love. When she returns to Wild Point Island and meets Simon, she can finally be herself because he sees her for who she is. Likewise, when others doubt Simon’s intentions, Ella sees him as someone who can be trusted.
With little or no hope for a future, Ella can only be successful if she is willing to accept who she is and reach for the future she desires.
Wild Point Island was fun to write, and as Ella explains to Simon at the end of the story, “We were drawn to Wild Point Island, as if called by sirens, entrapped, and realized too late that there was no escaping our fate.”
Ella and Simon, even today, live a sheltered life. This is the only photo of Simon that has surfaced. He is onboard a boat, off shore from Wild Point Island. I love this photo because it captures the raw energy of the man.
Wild Point Island
Banished from Wild Point Island as a child, Ella Pattenson, a half human-half revenant, has managed to hide her true identity as a descendent of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Thought to have perished, the settlers survived but were transformed into revenants–immortal beings who live forever as long as they remain on the island.
Now, Ella must return to the place of her birth to rescue her father from imprisonment and a soon to be unspeakable death. Her only hope is to trust a seductive revenant who seems to have ties to the corrupt High Council. Simon Viccars is sexy and like no man she’s ever met. But he’s been trapped on the island for 400 years and is willing to do almost anything for his freedom.
With the forces of the island conspiring against her, Ella must risk her father, her heart, and her life on love.
Despite what he believed, I never had a relationship where I felt so bound to someone and yet so constrained in behavior. Sitting so close to him on the beach, hidden from view, wanting to hold him, I hesitated. So I’m not sure how what happened, happened next. What kept us apart—the suspicions, the fact that time had elapsed and we felt a bit like strangers meeting again—all of it abruptly dissipated like so much fog when the sun shines through.
His strong yet gentle grasp pulled me toward him, and he held me close, wrapping his arms around my shoulders. I felt in the urgency of his grip how much he’d missed me, and remembered again the dream he’d arranged for me, how cautious he’d been only days before. But dreams could not satisfy me now, no matter how real they seemed.
We pulled apart, but our eyes met. I leaned in and pressed my lips against his, chaste at first, to taste him, to spur his reaction. But that tentative reaching out soon exploded into the confirmation I’d been waiting for. Our desires cascaded in upon each other. I wanted more of him, and soon lost awareness of the cold surf, which melted against our heat. The roughness of the sea also faded into the distance. The spray of salt water was forgotten.
I couldn’t catch my breath. I didn’t want to think of the future or eternity. Only feel sweet sensations as he kissed me harder and harder.
Helpless to resist this love-making, I was the sand being thrown about by the waves around me. Soaked with a longing for him.
His kisses grew stronger, and I wanted all of them.
“Ella,” he groaned, sweeping the stray strands of hair out of my eyes.
I reached up to touch his face, to trace the outline of his strong jaw. Desire flickered in his eyes, a wildness mirroring my own needs, and I wanted to lose myself in that need, in that desire. I wanted him as I had wanted no other, knew for the first time in my life I had the potential for loving someone who knew me for who I really was.
It was intoxicating.
“Can you take me now?” I asked. “Here. Show me what I have to do.”
Indecision flickered across his face. I saw it. A look of a man who walked a tight rope and risked falling to the depths below.
“Ella.” His voice floundered in his own deep emotion.
But I reached over to pull him closer, and he tumbled on top of me. The weight of his body anchored me to the ground. Within seconds, my back was pressed against the sandy floor. His eyes grew hooded as his lips played against my mouth. Teasing. Caressing.
Suddenly, the kisses changed. Slow and carefully placed, I felt a heaviness to them that made me ache where I had felt warm and riled up before.
Aching to be with him in that way that I knew was forbidden to us.
But what did I care.
He was kissing me, and I began kissing him back, as if I had been doing this all my life, as if I were some kind of expert, allowing the pooling warmth in my stomach to find release. His hands burrowed under my sweater, nudging, rubbing against my breasts, which swelled to his touch.
The feel of his skin against my skin pushed me to a boldness I had not known until now, and I reached my hand below the belt of his pants, dared now to touch where I knew he wanted me to touch.
“Simon.” I whispered his name into the air, so sure that he was the one. Knowing as we wrestled together on the sand, in this sweetest of lovemaking, that I had a fire in me that he had set. He was the man I had been waiting for. This was the moment–
I felt resistance. Simon seemed to be struggling for control.
Over me. Over himself.
“Enough.” His voice, raw and edgy, strained against the sea that roared in the background.
Still breathing heavily, he released his hold on me, and pushed himself to a seated position.
My heart pounded.
“Have I done something wrong? Tell me,” I demanded.
“Then why are you stopping?”
“We cannot be together, not now. I was wrong to even start.”
“Wrong? But I thought… ” I struggled to sit up, to face him, to put my own thoughts in order. When two people wanted to be together, how could there be something wrong? “Don’t you want to be with me?”
His gaze traveled down my body. I felt his stare, the desire in it. “Yes. I want to be with you.”
“Then–” I touched his arm. I needed to understand what could possibly be strong enough to hold him back.
“What I want has already been decided. You must decide what it is you want…” His voice softened. “… to do with your life.”
A chill coursed down my spine. And even though my flesh was still warm from his touch, I pulled my sweater down to cover myself, not because I was ashamed, but without his closeness, the early evening breeze now felt cold and damp. I guessed what he was saying, but I didn’t want to think about the future. Not here, not now.
“I want you to make love to me, Simon.”
“The Council forbids it,” he said.
“I don’t care about the Council. They have no say in what’s between us.”
He faced me then, and his finger touched my lips. “I could take you, Ella. Now. But it would not be the honorable thing to do.”
My fists clenched. I didn’t understand.
“I made a choice when I saved you from your uncle’s dangerous game. It was not difficult because I wanted you, Ella. But it was my choice. The moment our spirits fused, everything changed. Until you are sure I am what you want, I cannot take you. Until you are sure this island can be your home, I cannot give into my passions. My world is not like your world. There is no formal ceremony of commitment. There is the fusion and then there is consummation. When that occurs, you will be bound to me forever. There can be no turning back.”
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