After waiting for what felt like forever, the Blue Bloods saga has finally come to an end in Gates of Paradise. Secrets are revealed. Motives explained. Schuyler, Mimi and Bliss continue their race against time to discover the remaining secrets of their pasts, presents, and futures, and everything comes together in one last battle that will determine their fates forever.
Today, Mel answers a few of my questions about the finale as part of her Gates of Paradise blog tour.
1. After her absence in Misguided Angel and Lost in Time, Bliss is finally back in Gates of Paradise with a new mission. How did you come up with the idea for the Hellhounds and the role they serve in the vampire mythology?
I think when you write about vampires, your thoughts naturally stray to werewolves… it just seems like the obvious next step. I didn’t want to write about the usual werewolves, and I like playing around with words, and I thought making the wolves “hellhounds” would be so cool, and the word itself would fit in my mythology. There is a lot about history and time in Blue Bloods mythology, so making them timekeepers and guardians just sort of worked with the history of the Praetorian Guard, which was from Roman history. I sort of poke around and see what fits and use it in my stories. I love Roman history, it’s one of my favorite subjects, my history teacher in high school who ignited my love for it said the Romans are “just one big juicy soap opera”.
2. Your characters have done a lot of traveling throughout the saga. Do you visit all of the places you write about?
I definitely try to, but if I don’t, I hire local researchers who can tell me how residents live, what they would eat, where they would go, etc. My friend who had lived in Rio had lived there before they changed the airport name though, so I got a lot of emails saying the airport was wrong! Oh well, can’t win them all. I do try to get it all right, so that kind of stuff bothers me.
3. One of my favorite things about Blue Bloods is how rich the characters’ heritage is. What inspired you to create a past for your characters that drew from literature and history—not just from the traditional Western canon, but from myths from all over the world?
Probably from my own background. I grew up in Manila, and when you are born sort of outside the Western canon – the Philippines was a Spanish and American colony, and so you always sort of have this experience of being an outsider or a bastard stepchild to the West…and so Western history is not the only thing that is on your radar. Growing up in the Philippines, we studied Asian religions, Asian history, I remember if I had stayed there for high school, I would have learned Chinese history very deeply, that was one of the subjects in 11th grade. So being exposed to the world, sort of, at a young age, tends to broaden your horizons. But now that I am an American (and have lived in the US for almost 30 years) I feel a little sad because I didn’t go to elementary school here and I don’t know all the words to the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner, I sort of just lip-sync it when it happens.
4. You’ve known how the series was going to end since you began writing Blue Bloods almost a decade ago—was was writing the ending harder or easier than expected? When did it hit you that this was it, it’s finally over?
Hard to say, I think it was easier, because it was such a relief to finally GET TO THE END. But the pressure to make it awesome – that can be paralyzing. So in a way I didn’t even want to write it. It’s like dying, it’s so final. And there were a few tiny details I had to re-hash with my husband, to make sure I got what we had figured out all those long years ago right, like something as simple as the position of the sword in the final reveal. I had been hinting at so many things over the years, so I had to make sure I got everything right and made it fit.
I knew it was over in 2010, when we decided (me and my publisher) to end the series at 7 books, so I had 2 years to get over it. 🙂
5. A little bird told me that there was a possibility for a second Blue Bloods cycle. Any hints of what it’s about and who we might expect to see again?
Oh yes! We have kept the announcement under wraps because there are too many spoilers. I’m sorry I can’t say anymore! I really want people to enjoy the finale before they start thinking about the spinoff. The spinoff is a whole new story set in the Blue Bloods world. More on that very soon!
Mel, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Gates of Paradise is out now—be sure to read the final installment of this epic saga!