It was lovely today to get this text from a friend: “Your book is featured at the front door of Reflections!!!” Of course, I had to go and take a look. Reflections is a funky metaphysical store that just celebrated its 30th Anniversary in Coquitlam. Carole, who has just retired and passed the store over to her daughter-in-law, has supported Indie authors and publishers all along the way. This is something we desperately need and truly appreciate. I haven’t been promoting my books the last few months, so it’s fantastic to see the store promoting my work.
I’ve been focussed on Book 3: To Render a Raven. The story picks up the Hollystone witches a year after To Sleep with Stones and sets them on another thrilling adventure. Estrada and his crew must rush up the Strait of Georgia (BC Coast) in a “borrowed” yacht to rescue a baby who has been stolen by vampires. Fortunately, I spent some time exploring the coast during my stint as a relief lighthouse keeper (Life on the BC Lights) and I’ve been able to use some of what I experienced in this fabulous setting. As I’ve done in my other two books, I’ve interwoven the story of the vampire antagonists with that of our mystical heroes.
I tweaked my writing process this time around. I always use the Hero’s Journey model to plot a loose scenario as I am a Joseph Campbell junkie. But this time, I just kept asking: what happens now? I know some writers create detailed plot outlines before they begin to write, but that’s way too cerebral for this freedom-seeking INFP. I need to open up to the character’s thoughts and feelings and let them tell me the story. Sometimes, it’s like arguing with your GPS: they’re trying to take me somewhere and I’m not sure that’s where I want to go. I have to trust them and listen carefully to what they’re saying. When I get stuck, it’s usually because one of the other characters wants to take over. I write in multiple viewpoints, so I also have to ask: who is going to narrate this scene? Often, they surprise me. Partway through, I remember saying to a friend: I don’t think X is going to make it. He’s crossed too many lines. I won’t say who X is, or if he made it or not, but I will say that I loved him in the end.
The hardest thing I did was write 86,000 words without talking about the storyline or the characters who are part of my world. I know some writers share their ongoing projects and receive feedback at writer’s groups, but I’ve been a hermit. I’ve talked some with a trusted author-friend who is beta-reading for me right now, but otherwise it’s been an internalized process. I’m now looking for a couple of ebook beta readers to give me feedback regarding pacing and clarity. If you’re interested and you’re an experienced reader of urban fantasy, thrillers, or mysteries, please drop me an email.
I’m excited to be working with an editor this time, and will write more about that experience as it unfolds.
with all good wishes,