Author's Notes

A Fanged Four/Spillow historical novel seemed to define unworkable when I started writing what I thought was a throw away piece. I started writing Odalisque on Christmas Eve, 2003. To summarize, the year is 1898, the setting is Prague, and Willow is, inexplicably, attached to the Fanged Four. I use the later date of Spike's death and siring by Drusilla, which I considered a spoiler for season five.

One of the ideas that I thought was unworkable in Odalisque was the idea of jumping into the middle of story and weaving the back story in. I didn't really start thinking about how Willow was present in 1898 until around chapter nine, though the why of it was never really at issue.

I usually write with two stories in mind. This might sound a little odd, but there is the story that I'm working on, and there is the story that I pick at when I get stuck. The story that I pick at when I'm stuck is like a mental garbage can for ideas that are unworkable in the story that I'm writing.

Around four o'clock in the morning I had eighty pages of something called 'the bad Willow fic' and six pages of another something called' bad Spike'. Over the next three days I wrote another hundred pages of the bad Willow story. At that point I realized that I needed to find a beta reader since I was nearing the completion of what appeared to be a 200-250 page novel.

Odalisque has grown in unexpected ways. Sometimes I've gotten a little lost, pushing open unexpected doors inside the middle section of the novel, but Odalisque has never outgrown the outline that I contemplated back in January of 2004.

In a lot of ways Odalisque remains a garbage can. It is a little bit of every historical novel that I've read or written. It is a crucible for language that I never use. It is a dumping ground for word pictures of the most ordinary things informed by the perspective of a 20th century observer cast in a late 19th century world.

The principal beta reader for Odalisque is Kallie Rose, whose stories can be found at her web site, Night Flowers. Starting around chapter 26, Claudia_yvr provided the second beta. A third beta of Odalisque through Chapter 21 was started last summer by Micki, and terminated largely because I couldn't find time to work it in to my schedule.

As for the 'bad Spike' story. There are hints of what it might have been in the short story, "A Letter to Willow on the Occasion of her Seventeenth Birthday".