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SPRING IS FINALLY here. The snow is gone and crocuses are sprouting in southwestern Ontario. The pugs are happy to be outside without sinking to their curly tails in snowdrifts. Soon we’ll be able to relax in the garden with a good book.
To celebrate, I’m offering Red Rover, Perdition Games FREE for a limited time. Grab a coffee and a snack and enjoy the ride.
SPRING IS A reason to celebrate, but my motivation for festivity is because my new book Frozen Statue, Perdition Games went off to the editor for substantive content editing. Yippy! I confess that I had doubts over whether I could pull it off this time. But I always keep my pinky-swear, and I promised some of you the story of Incubus, the serial killer who murdered Sam’s sister.
Protagonist Samantha McNamara is a complicated character. And much of her personality—warts and all—is because of her sister’s murder. The one thing I never take literary license with in my stories is the psychology. Trauma impacts people. It changes the way they interact. That’s a fact of life. Love her or hate her, Sam is a good example of that reality.
My conundrum was how to show you the past without stepping back in time. Eliminating Reece Hash would disappointed many readers. And I had a great plotline for the new book that I didn’t want to abandon. Then I had an epiphany. The new case would bring up terrible memories for Sam. What a perfect segue for showing Incubus’s reign of terror. Because victims of violent crimes seldom emerge psychologically unharmed, Sam’s voice had to be different in the reflective scenes. To understand the character’s motivation today, the reader must understand her reaction to past events. Those scenes had to be up close and personal, which required writing them first-person.
Could I do it? The psychological thriller side, sure. But could I execute the technical aspect of nonlinear creative writing? Hum, self-doubt was why I wrote Skully, Perdition Games in a linear narrative—Gabriella’s childhood shown in chronological order with a jump to current day. Great novelists (Stephen King being one of many) warn against flashbacks. Readers don’t want an author to shove them into the past with harp music and a blurry fade-in. If you watch classic black and white television shows, you know what I mean.
I started with a detailed synopsis that told the entire story. My fantastic editor, Sadie Scapillato, edited the developmental stage. There were issues with convoluted character arcs and superfluous subplots. Once we had the synopsis nailed, I figured it would be a breeze to write the novel. Oh the joy of naivety! As I wrote, I had the uneasy sense that I was dragging Sam and Reece behind me.
Enter my content editor, Jennifer McIntyre. She visited London from Toronto to have a sit-down. Her advice after listening to me:
Go for a walk with your protagonist and listen to what she has to say.
Precious Pearl-Pug, our senior girl, enjoyed her romp in the woods
THE PUGS FROLICKED in the woods (Pearl-Pug taking lots of breaks) and I did indeed listen to Sam. Reece walked along with us for a bit. If you’re thinking it sounds as if I suffer from delusional disorder, I don’t blame you. The creative process is unique to everyone, but most authors follow their characters. Perhaps not so literally…
It wasn’t always smooth sailing because I wrote Frozen Statues, Perdition Games in hypercritical mode. Life is about learning and growth. The only way we do that is by exiting our comfort zones and embracing challenges. Editorial reviewers praised Red Rover, Perdition Games. I am many things, but stupid isn’t one of them. If I hope to impress critics such as Kirkus Reviews again, this next book has to be outstanding.
My wonderful book team navigated me to smoother waters
IN ADDITION TO my developmental editor and content editor, Elizabeth West is my talented proofreader. She also offers a final evaluation on the book prior to publication. Along the way, there are critique partners—authors who write in the mystery-thriller genre—and beta-readers. I appreciate all the feedback and make adjustments at every stage. So we have miles to go on this journey, but we’re on schedule for the June 2017 book release.
I’m excited to announce that Mike Doyle is doing the Frozen Statues, Perdition Games cover. He did a fantastic job on Red Rover, Perdition Games and I know he’ll come up with something amazing. The second the team approves the graphics for the eBook, we’ll post a sneak peek.
The most important person is you, the reader. To show my thanks, I’m offering you a FREE book. Come play a dark game with me and get to know Toronto PI Sam McNamara and ex-OPP Inspector Reece Hash.
Download your FREE copy of Red Rover, Perdition Games today
Happy spring from me and my three pug Muses,