Two years ago today on July 8, 2015, I released Jax. The popularity of this series has blown me away ever since, with nearly a million pages read the first month. Eight more books later and the series is at an end, but Alex will not be the last fighter. Out of the Cage will be a series about underground fighters who beat each other bloody because it's required. Life hasn't been easy for them and they deserve to get their own HEA. These guys don't have much in common with the Cocky Cage Fighters. They're from poor, broken families, and they don't get in the cage for glory or championships. They fight to survive.
So, as I say goodbye to the men of Havoc, at least until Mackenzie's story and Jax's Christmas novella, here are some behind the pages musings I would like to share about these books.
*My favorite character, but don't tell Jax*
I've loved each and every one of my nine fighters, but Jude has been my favorite to write, not just in this series but of all time. While I was writing Jax, he popped up in my head as a fully formed character and “talked” to me for months. He talked so much that I started writing his book at the same time as Jax’s which is why Jude's book was released just a month later.
Jude has felt more real to me than any character I’ve ever written so he’ll always have a special place in my heart. I think he's responsible for making this series so successful, and that's why he was a part of every single book in some small way.
Female characters are not easy to write. Readers usually don’t care for mine for one reason or another, but in almost every heroine there's a little part of me.
Page – First of all, I spelled her name this way instead of Paige intentionally to show how little her father thought of her. He treated her like a "page" and no better than a servant.
Like Page, I used to work in a law office. I was the legal assistant to a criminal law attorney for over ten years. After I graduated with a Masters in Criminal Justice in 2012, I applied for and was accepted to several law schools. None of them offered me a scholarship to make the cost reasonable, and since I already had a family and two children, I decided to give up my lifelong dream. Little did I know that two years later I would find a new dream --- writing. Now I’m so glad that I didn’t go to law school. It was the best decision I ever made 😊
Sadie – Poor Sadie is maybe the least liked heroine in the series. She's really young, and they were on a break! Moving on, LOL, like Sadie's character, I love sea turtles and I have been to Bald Head Island where Sadie had an internship. We were able to see baby turtles race to the ocean for the very first time which was amazing. This year my family has adopted a sea turtle nest so, hopefully, we’ll be able to go to the beach in August or September after it hatches for the excavation and actually get to hold the little guys 😊
Claire – Okay, this may be shocking, but when I was nineteen and a freshman in college I worked...in a strip club! No, I never took my clothes off. LOL. I was a waitress for about a week and then I was “promoted” to the hostess position. The strange thing is, working there was actually really fun.
Abby – I have a terrible potty mouth but you probably already noticed that when reading my books.
Alyssa – That’s an easy one, I write dirty books too 😊
*Linc was one stubborn bastard*
I loved Linc's character so much in Jude's book that when it came time to write his story I couldn't find one good enough for him. His finished book was actually the third draft after two completely different plots didn't work out. I thankfully saved the versions I trashed for him, and a year later, the 20K words I had written for Linc became the start of Nate's story.
* The truth in Trick *
Trick was a surprise secondary character, like Mace, who popped up and earned the right to his own book. Mina's awful situation was based loosely on a case I worked out in the law office several years back. The victim was younger than Mina, and it was her biological father abusing her. I really hated that guy, but I hated his wife even more for taking up for her husband when her daughter was the victim. There was no doubts about the truth either since there was photo evidence of his abuse. I felt so bad for that little girl when her family “blamed” her for her father going away for only nine months of prison. I just hope that someday she’ll find a Trick to take care of her and assure her that none of it was her fault.
*Linc's beach house*
Linc's oceanfront house in North Carolina was based on the huge estate where my husband and I were married on the beach in 2006. We went back last year for our 10 year anniversary.
*Song playlist for the fighters*
Some readers have asked for it, so here it is, all nine intro songs:
Jax: Sick Puppies "You're Going Down"
Jude: Macklemore "Can't Hold Us"
Linc: Fall Out Boy "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up)"
Mace: Lil' Kim and 50 Cent "Magic Stick"
Senn: LL Cool J "Mama Said Knock You Out"
Nate: Divinyls "I Touch Myself"
Trick: Linkin Park "Numb"
Luke: Red Hot Chili Peppers "Higher Ground"
Alex: T.I. "Whatever You Like"
Nine books in two years. Over 2,500 typed pages. More than 640,000 words...
Thank you to those who have read the Cocky Cage Fighter series. It's been an incredible journey and I hope you'll stick around to see what's next <3
NY Times bestselling author Lane Hart has published more than a dozen romances that will make your Kindle sizzle.