About three years ago, I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I've never been a big fan of vampires or horror movies, and I've never (still to this day!) read Dracula, but on the eve of Thanksgiving 2003, when I was cooking my fanny off in my kitchen in prep for the next day's dinner, I brought my laptop in to keep me company. I'd borrowed my friend Brian's first season of Buffy and I popped a DVD in just for something to watch while I was cooking.
I got hooked. I watched the whole first season that weekend, in between cooking and visiting and all the other stuff we do over the holidays. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about that show.
In the mean time, I'd been writing novels for years, trying to get published. I'd written contemporary stories, but my real delight was in writing in historical settings. Plus, I loved authors like Jane Austen, Liz Carlyle, Julia Quinn, and others who set their stories in Regency England.
As the months went by and I was trying to figure out what my next writing project should be, I noticed that there were a lot of books being published-and sold-with vampires in them. Many of them didn't appeal to me, because I don't find the undead romantic. To me, vampires were the bloodsuckers I'd seen on Buffy, and in the movies; but to me they weren't romantic heroes or heroines. My concept and opinion of the undead was not a sympathetic one.
So I didn't consider writing about vampires, even though I knew the market was hot for stories about them.
Until I happened to watch a Buffy episode in which Angel/Angelus (a male vampire) has a flashback to a scene that takes place in 19th century Paris.
And then the following night, I was watching the Disney version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella with my daughters.
And I started thinking what if Angelus was at the ball with Cinderella?
Then I thought well, what if Buffy was there too?