After nearly two years, I’m finally finally putting the finishing touches on The Vitruvian Man! First published by Decadent Publishing as a novella trilogy (Cursed, Charmed and Claimed) in 2013, I asked for the rights back a few years ago so that I could combine the stories into one full-length novel, and expand the story as it should have been from the first. Because of the word count restrictions on Decadent’s line that I subbed the stories for, some readers said the story felt rushed. I couldn’t argue – I had to cut quite a bit, and abbreviate some sections to fit the guidelines. It’s long been a regret.
The story’s been one of my favorites. I’d read an article in Smithsonian Magazine about Carnevale in Venice about the same time I read two other intriguing science articles, one about human tests of the hormone oxytocin (not to be confused with the street drug), and another about scientists embedding the text of books into human DNA.
While researching Venice, I fell in love with the city. The history’s so rich, and the setting’s incredibly beautiful. My longtime interest in Leonardo da Vinci played right into it, and after learning of the objections of his contemporaries to his gruesome study of human anatomy, that also played right into the story line of da Vinci experimenting not only with his inventions, but with dark magic.
Add the Goo Goo Dolls’ song to the mix, and that’s how Cursed first came to me.
Since getting the rights back to the three releases, I’ve made a few important changes to the story premise. The hero is now a descendant of the man to whom Leonardo subjected his experiments to become a literal Vitruvian Man. The story goes into greater detail about the antagonist characters, and as I mentioned, is expanded in general.
The exceptions are the sex scenes. I’ve honestly never been comfortable with writing them. Editors were constantly prompting me to add more “body parts” and lengthen the sex scenes. Another publisher once pushed for me to include the “C” word, which I flatly refused. I have never liked reading stories that demean women in that way, and I will certainly never write one.
So I’ve taken out any explicit sexual language from this story, and the scenes focus more on the emotional aspect.
This will be my last release as Cate Masters, at least for awhile. I have so many other stories I want to tell that, while they may or may not include a romantic aspect, will not dedicate more than fifty percent of the story to the romantic development, as the romance genre requires.
I’m grateful that readers have loved my romance stories, and I’ve had a lot of fun writing them. It may be more difficult to find a publisher for the novels I’m writing now, but I need to follow my writer’s heart – into speculative, fantasy, magical realism, and mainstream stories, writing as C.A. Masterson.