First year I have entered this adventure. It has been terrific to have the motivation and support to get a novel written within a specific time. Now I have a story ready to flesh out and edit. Wonderful to have shared with other authors and have the Muse awake and active. Special thanks go to Wendy Laharnar for her prompting... a few swift kicks when things were going slow, helped immensely. Also to Robyn Veugen for arranging several Write In's where words were written and support shared. A great motivational tool. And to Leonie Henschke and Robyn Veugen for making the week long writers' retreat in Noosa a brilliant success and enjoyable time away. Now, to work on the manuscript and think about what to write next. Congratulations to all who have participated in NANO this year. Even if you didn't get the whole 50k words down, I know those who have worked on their writing will have found the experience worthwhile. Well done. I think for some there are a few hours left. It's Australia and there are only a few hours left before December rolls in.
If you have dropped in, please feel free to talk about your NANO achievements in the comments. And again...Congratulations... well done. Any word written towards NANO is a bonus.
Actually, Rosalie, it started with the characters. I had an idea of four very
different characters: a bitter farmer, a troubled teen girl, a ruthless
corporate marauder, and a failed, gay entrepreneur. I thought it might be fun
to see how they might be connected. The interwoven, puzzle plot followed. Now,
of course, when I say “fun,” I probably have a different concept of “fun” than
Do you wake
at night, reliving scenes? Tormented by the lives you create for your
Honestly, as I wrote this book, it put me in a very dark place at times.
Usually I like to insert humor into my novels. Not so much this one.
the idea of escape and survival are important. Each of the characters have
their own ways of coping with the trauma of their previous lives. You capture
their resourcefulness and coping mechanisms well. Some more successful than
others. Have you studied psychology? How do you get into your character’s heads
so well? You make them seem very real.
Great question, Rosalie! Yes, escape and survival is an important theme of the
book. Especially the parallels of physical and psychological escape. Something
every character in the book strives for. The past forms the future. For
everyone. And, yeah, psychology was my under-study in college. Can’t say I drew
too much on that though. Most of the book’s just my putting myself into the
characters’ mind-set, then letting it rip. As I said, “fun!”
family ties play a huge part in GODLAND. Some of the ties are not what most
family values promote. GODLAND isn’t based on any real or living situations is
it? You had me wondering if there are places where the type of people in
GODLAND might really exist.
Well, my burden is Kansas. I live in this Godforsaken state. I’m embarrassed at
some of the primitive beliefs and practices that go on here. For cryin’ out
loud, we still have an active Ku Klux Klan chapter, lots of dark secrets and
horrific situations going on in the farmlands, a violent mob presence in Kansas
City, black magic worshippers, antiquated political beliefs and laws. Recently,
a law was passed allowing restaurant owners to refuse service to people who
they believe may be gay. You believe that? In my books, I’m trying to expose
the hidden, awful underbelly of the Midwest, even though the loudest proponents
of Kansas’s Norman Rockwellian surface—wholesome family values--are the biggest
hypocrites. Don’t visit Kansas!
of each character in the family are straight from the Bible. Are you a
religious person? Or do you see religion as being an obsession like it is for
Edwin. Obviously naming his children after characters from the good book,
didn’t help him raise them well, or them to be righteous. Although, in their
darkest hours, some of the players in the drama find a germ of compassion.
LOL. I think compassion’s key, Rosalie. If characters don’t have it, or find it
eventually, then I find books like that generally hard to get behind. True
horror comes from humanity’s foibles, something awful, inescapable. Yet
humanity also shines sometimes when hidden reservoirs of compassion surface. Am
I religious? Not particularly. Mostly because I had it beaten into me (not
literally) as a kid. A rebel, I suppose. But if I’m writing tales set in creepy
Kansas, I can’t escape religious themes. Part of the general make-up. Funny
thing about the names, Rosalie. At first I had three integral characters named
Peter, Paul and Mary. My wife caught it, said, “uh, no.” Took me a minute
before I realized what she was on about.
I came away
from reading GODLAND wondering how an author can write such dark and traumatic
stories. I don’t usually watch horror movies… I really don’t understand when
there is no logical reason for violence, or supernatural haunting/violence.
GODLAND transcends that nonsensical horror by bringing its characters to life
with deep motivation and logical reasoning for each and every action. Makes it
all much scarier. My hat goes off to you for creating a dark landscape with a
story that pulls the reader into every scene and has them on the edge of their
seats, ready to run, as they turn each page.
hear ya’, Rosalie. I agree logic is important. As for how I write such dark and
traumatic tales? Well, actually, it’s probably the darkest of my books. As I
said before, I do like humor believe it or not. This book is exorcising demons,
I suppose. Kinda’ like most of my books. (My YA series deals with my awful high
school years of bullying and senseless violence). And Edwin’s loosely (VERY
loosely) based on my grandfather. Didn’t know him very well, he died early. But
my dad told me lots of awful tales about him. Of course he wasn’t as bad or
evil as Edwin. But he had his moments of mental and physical abuse.
question is how does an author capable of writing GODLAND, turn back to writing
for young adults?
sure I’m turning back to writing YA books. Godland was actually the second book
I wrote. But I had to let it gestate for a while. And I have about four more
adult suspense thrillers on dock. Then again, I have an idea for a couple of YA
books. Another Tex, the Witch Boy tale set in college. And a story about
Satan’s son being banished to a Midwest high school for being too lenient on
the damned souls in hell. Many laughs (I hope) will ensue.
reading ‘Elspeth the Living Dead Girl’ at present and find you have captured
the voice of a teenage girl. The change of voice shows the level of expertise
you have mastered in your writing. Congratulations.
Well, thanks, Rosalie. It helps having one of those curious, completely alien
creatures–one you have to constantly walk on eggshells around--known as a
teenage girl under your roof. I listened to her, her friends. Talked to them.
Um, shamelessly eavesdropping. Probably my biggest challenge, that book.
Writing POV from two very different teen girls’ perspectives. Very fun, too.
Unleashing my inner teen girl!
Thanks to Stuart I am answering some in depth questions about my writing and the Chronicles of Caleath.
Please feel free to drop in and leave a comment.
Stuart will be a guest here on 23rd Nov. So come on back to see what he has to say about writing GODLAND
Here is the link to Stuart's blog and my interview.
This year I am working on a new novel, still not sure of the title, but half way through November and I have 30k plus words and the plot is flowing. Characters are behaving and with luck, I will 'win' Nano.
As an incentive to write I am on a writers' retreat with two other authors who are also busily penning their novels.
There is still time to enjoy the proximity to Noosa's national parks and beaches.
Swimming, having coffee on Hastings street and strolling home before beginning a days writing seems to help fire up the muse.
It is great to find the words returning and ideas bubbling. Conflicts, dialogue, romance, danger, and of course dragons. What would a fantasy be without them.
I hope your November is going well.
It is good to be a year on, last November was a sad time. Losing a brother and also a dear little dog.
On Saturday a new puppy is joining our family. :)
So, it's a good month. Productive and with positive prospects.