Thursday, June 04, 2009
Immortal Outlaw by Lisa Hendrix
When the sun goes down, the beast comes out…
That's one of the tag lines created for IMMORTAL OUTLAW by the brilliant copywriters at Berkley. I love it. For one thing, it establishes my hero's problem in a single sentence.
As one of the members of crew that raided Odinsbrigga in search of treasure, Steinarr suffers from the same curse as the other members of the Immortal Brotherhood: he's a were-beast, and he's going to live forever, enduring the pain of changing from man to beast and back again at every dawn and dusk until the end of time. For Steinarr, when the sun goes down, it's a lion who comes out...so dangerous to others that Steinarr keeps to the deep woods, where the beast can harm no one. It makes him a terribly, terribly isolated man.
For another thing, that tag line has nine words.
When I visited YRR last fall, I wrote about the premise for the Immortal Brotherhood and mentioned that there are nine warriors because nine is a number significant to the Norse Gods. But it's more than simply significant. The gods are obsessed with the number nine, and it turns up constantly in the old sagas and legends (Wikipedia has a partial list of nine references here, if you're curious).
I always intended that nine would play out all through the series. To start out with, I had those nine warriors, nine amulets, nine books to be written. But then without being told to, the copywriters came up with that nine-word tag line. And I—without intending to, I swear—created a nine-clue treasure hunt/quest for Steinarr and his lady-love, Marian. I didn't even realize there were nine clues until I started working on the interactive map of the quest for my website a few days ago. I put in the locations, numbering each clue as Steinarr and Marian found them, and as I neared the end, I was going, "No, it couldn't be, omigosh, there are NINE!"
I'm not superstitious, but clearly, there's something going on in the back of my brain. I'm fixing on nines in just the same way that you start noticing green VW Bugs after you buy one (or run into one). You may have never noticed a green VW in your life, but once it's flagged in your attention monitor, you see them everywhere.
Nines have now been flagged.
Just watch. You'll start noticing nines everywhere now. And when you do, you'll think of Steinarr and IMMORTAL OUTLAW. And why not? I mean, isn't that back gorgeous? Don't you want to think of him any chance you get?
Here's more of the copywriters' brilliance, the back cover copy:
For centuries he’s hidden in the woods. Now a maid has come to lead him out...
It’s been four centuries since Steinarr the Proud was cursed by a wicked sorceress—along with the rest of his Viking crew—to live for eternity as half man, half beast. By day Steinarr is like any other man—by night he is a lion. He has taken refuge in the woods of Nottingham, England, and there he encounters two young travelers, Robin and Marian.
Painfully aware of the danger he presents when the moon rises, Steinarr refuses to help guide them on their search for a special amulet. But a kiss from Marian awakens his desire. How can he protect the maid he so desperately wants to ravish? With motives of his own, Steinarr finally joins their quest, while the sorceress Cwen gathers her dark magic to destroy them.
As a legend spreads of an outlaw in the woods, their band is joined by others. But it is Steinarr who has the most to gain and the most to lose—if he is ever to be free of the curse and free to love as a man…
Yep, it's a Robin Hood story—but not your usual one. And that's all I'm going to say, because you can read the entire prologue and first chapter of IMMORTAL OUTLAW on my website.
And while you're there, poke around a little. You'll find printable bookmarks, a way to get a signed bookplate, that interactive map I mentioned, and other goodies.
Do you have a number that is special to you? What is it and why is it "your" number? Watch for nines today and let me know in Comments where they turn up and whether my little thought experiment worked (i.e., did you think of Steinarr?).
Leave your answer in Comments for a chance to win one of three autographed copies of Book 1, IMMORTAL WARRIOR.
Thanks for stopping by,
IMMORTAL OUTLAW, Berkley Sensation, Available Now
RT TOP PICK, 4-1/2 Stars, K.I.S.S. Hero
Myth. Magic. And the power of love.