Guest Post: Haley Walsh writing as Jeri Westerson and her new book, Deadly Rising

Demon Lover By Jeri Westerson

I love writing complex characters. At first, they might seem pretty simple, even tropey. My heroine is “feisty” which in itself is a trope of the genre, but is she just an ordinary person who steps up to the plate…or is there more to her and her history?

My heroine Kylie Strange moves from California to Maine to start a new life and open Strange Herbs & Teas. But when doing some renovations, she accidentally breaks through a wall and finds an ancient book called “Booke of the Hidden.” When she opens it she unwittingly releases deadly creatures into the world that she is tasked with hunting down and returning to the booke. But along with the creatures of supernatural lore, the Guardian of the Booke is awakened, a demon called Erasmus Dark.

What happens when a four-thousand-year-old demon who is only awakened for a few days every several hundred years, finds himself confronted with someone like Kylie for the first time in his life, a woman of the 21st century who befriends a misfit coven of Wiccans to help her, and refuses to go down fighting? And what happens when this demon, who has a deadly relationship with all those in the past who opened the booke, finds himself falling for a human?

When I devise my characters, I like to give them full backstories, some of which the reader will never know about. It flavors their reactions to stress and gives them reasons for doing what they do. And an important part of that is their name, or the meaning behind the name. Character names are important to me. The names have to sound and look right on the page, and they have to mean something. Sometimes that’s just my little secret, but at other times, they can get downright Dickensian. Kylie Strange has a surname that might seem a little over the top at first, but having done the research, I found the “Strange” surname has been in New England since it was New England.

As for Erasmus Dark, well, the “Dark” name is self-explanatory. But the “Erasmus” part I chose for two reasons. One, it’s old and sounds out of date, much like he is himself. He’s a fish out of water. The last time he was awake, it was 1720. Now there are cars, computers, and women who aren’t afraid to go toe to toe with him. He certainly was no virgin for four thousand years but there were never any emotions involved. And now there is. Kylie seems to be his match and the big and bad demon must come to terms with what he has been required to do to the ones who opened the booke, but now there are feelings of protectiveness for this human. Being a deadly demon, he has walked alone and now he finds he no longer wants that. So his name was perfect. It means “worthy to be loved.” Is he? Does his past get in the way of that? Can he be worthy to be loved?

Kylie isn’t so sure she wants to get involved with Erasmus, but his broodiness and exoticism is very alluring. But so is the handsome sheriff in town. Kylie is a woman of her time and can’t decide, and does she have to? I guess readers will find out.

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Award-winning author Jeri Westerson likes to make the fur fly in her new paranormal series Booke of the Hidden. The second book in the series, DEADLY RISING, will release October 23rd. See her “booke” trailer, friend her on Facebook, and sign up for her quarterly newsletter on her website


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