The Story Behind the Story: Jinn & Juice and “Borderline Dead”

Hey folks! Today is release day for JINN AND JUICE and for DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, a Sookieverse anthology in which you can find my story, “Borderline Dead”.

I thought I’d do something a little different today and, instead of telling you about the books (cuz that’s all over the place), I’d tell you about how I came up with their ideas.


Peeler-JinnandJuice-TP The idea for Jinn and Juice came to me where I get a lot of ideas: in the shower. It was when I was still living in Greensburg, PA, but I’d been spending a lot more time in Pittsburgh and was falling in love with it (I now live there).

Everything I love about Pittsburgh, however, is what makes it not very….supernatural-y. I love that it’s kinda Midwestern and it’s an actively revitalizing city, which means it’s not chockablock with the trendiest hangs ever, like New York. I love that it’s most famous for fries on sandwiches and something about a towel and putting chairs out in front of your house to reserve your parking spot.

So, a delightful place to live for a nice girl from Illinois, but for an immortal creature with supernatural powers who could live anywhere it wanted…wouldn’t Paris be a more obvious choice? Or NOLA? Or Istanbul?

So, I was in the shower and I thought, “I would love to write a book set in Pittsburgh.” Then I laughed to myself and said out loud, “Yeah, but what sort of supernatural creature would live in Pittsburgh?”

From answering that question Lyla and her clan of misfit toys living in steel-soaked Pittsburgh came into being. Thank jeebus for the powers of the showers. 😉


dbnf When I first got the offer to write for this anthology, I was basically hysterically happy. Like crying and everything. Of course I said yes, but then I had the inevitable moment of panic: What the hell am I going to write about?

I think we all get that when we say yes to something like this, but my writing for a Sookie book was like that inevitable feeling compounded by a thousand. Because I looooooooooove Sookie. And I loooooooooove Charlaine. There are so many reasons that made this whole thing mean the WORLD to me and that made choosing a character to write about seem super daunting.

But I knew two things about myself: I can’t write fan fiction because I think that text is immutable (give me a break on this, I have a PhD in literary criticism. It’s beaten into every neuron in my brain that the text is sacrosanct). And I also love writing about the underdog, and I knew the ultimate underdog in Sookie’s world would a plain old human.

So almost immediately I knew I wanted to write about a human and I probably couldn’t write about anyone that had any sort of big, important role, or I’d spend the next nine months combing over the extant texts to crosscheck every word said, muscle moved, ideology expressed, etc, for continuity.

And so I picked…. BETHANY ROGERS! I was super excited when I remembered her and then I went back and reread book two. And remembered BETHANY DIES IN THE END! Shit!

That left me with Desiree Dumas, who was even more perfect than Bethany because she was literally just a memory. Not even a character we meet, other than in Bethany’s recollections.

Now that I had a character, I could piece together her story. Desiree was young, working in a vampire bar. She was obviously popular, and Bethany envied her. She probably had a vampire lover (or two). And she was in  Houston, near the border…

“Borderline Dead” evolved from there, a story about a girl on the run and a shapeshifting coyote, all bound up with themes of personal redemption and not being a bigoted jerkface.

So those are my releases for today! Click on the photos to see more about the books and for buy buttons. Happy reading!

Posted by Nicole Peeler

Author, Professor, Lover, Fighter

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