RETURN TO ME - Julia Templeton
In the case of RETURN TO ME, I was flipping through the pages of a GQ magazine when I came across a picture of twin brothers standing side by side, both gorgeous, and yet they were as different as night in day in how they dressed, wore their hair, and overall attitude. That picture sparked my muse and twin brothers Darius and Demetri MacLeod were born. From there, I had an interview with them to see who they were, where they came from, and what single event changed their lives forever. That event happens to be when Darius, a Scottish warrior in Robert the Bruce’s army, is cut down at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, and a handsome young man appears offering him immortal life.
It was important for me to write a story about vampires who weren’t necessarily devastated that they were made into creatures of the night. In fact, a few of my characters love their dark gift and wouldn’t trade places with a single mortal being for anything. The only reason my hero struggles with his gift at all, is the single fact that the change in him terrifies his pregnant wife so badly, she ends up dying in a tragic accident while trying to flee from him.
I wanted Darius to find another love, but it couldn’t be just any woman, it had to his wife, reincarnated. When his wife does return, she’s a beautiful woman who resembles his wife in every way, save for now she’s no longer a medieval Scottish woman, but a nineteenth century beauty with the power to read minds, cast spells and heal. Unfortunately, she’s also at her uncle’s mercy, and he basically sells her to an old, lecherous man who has killed each of his previous wives. Knowing this, Gabrielle sets a plan into motion to escape, but that plan is thwarted when she meets the devilishly handsome Darius and feels an attraction and familiarity that confuses her and intrigues her at the same time. No matter how much she yearns to know him, she has no choice but to flee into the night to escape her impending wedding.
Weeks later Darius finds Gabrielle, and swears to protect her from her uncle and betrothed. In the process, Gabrielle falls madly in love with the man who had been her husband centuries before. The fact that he’s a vampire weighs heavy on her mind, but she trusts him completely, even when he whisks her away, back to his home in the Scottish highlands. Unfortunately, trouble follows in the way of her evil betrothed.
As in many of my books, there’s a secondary romance that is played out, and in RETURN TO ME that couple is Demetri, Darius’s twin, and their maker Remont. I remember asking my critique partners and agent just how far I should take the romance with these two men. I received different answers from each, but in the end, I stayed true to my characters and their love for each other. I’ve received great feedback from reviewers and readers about this male/male romance. In fact, I hope to write a sequel, which will delve a bit deeper into their love affair.
Out of all my novels, RETURN TO ME was the most challenging to write, mainly because the characters have lived so many centuries and have unique powers. Despite those challenges, I’m definitely writing more vampire romances, because let’s face it—vampires are just plain sexy.
So that’s how RETURN TO ME was born. Thank you, Heather, for letting me share at The Idea Boutique!