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My Characters Tell The Story

BLOG September 26, 2021

As I mentioned in last month’s blog, I am currently working on THREE different book projects, each their own entity and each hold promise for my creative drive. Will they meet my expectations? Only time will tell. Will I even get them completed? I certainly hope so but again, only time will tell. I am sure of one thing, none will end up exactly as I first envisioned them.

That is the thing about creative writing, it is a process. At least for me it is. I start out with a concept for a storyline. Something that I think is interesting. Something that challenges me to learn and explore and usually leave my comfort zone. I then develop the main characters and start writing. I like to think the characters then dictate where the story goes and where it ends up. In my previous books I have stuck through the process of creating that story only taking breaks from writing to do more research about a twist or turn that happened. During the writing of BOMBINGHAM A Day of Reckoning, I was faced with a couple of new challenges. A worldwide pandemic restricted my access to the library and thus my research was limited to the internet. Thank God we have that incredible resource! I also was confronted with some serious mental challenges as I researched my villains. I knew from the outset that my “bad guys” would be corrupt politicians and white supremacist cults, but with all that was going on in the real world, my fictional story came too damn close to reality. My realization of just how prevalent and widespread these hate groups were, frankly, was scary at the very least, and I found myself needing to take frequent breaks from the research and the writing process.

Once the book was finished and out there, I faced new challenges of promoting the book in a post-Covid world that turned out to be anything but POST. As cases began to rise again, in-person promotion was not an option and so I returned to my desk to write more, and the new book would have to find its own audience. In my few appearances to promote the book, I was a bit surprised that I actually sold more of the first book, Magic City Murder Déjà Vu, than the one I was promoting. I encountered readers that wanted to start with the first in the series, and I understand that. When I find a new author that I enjoy reading, I immediately go back and start at the beginning and read the books in succession.

Which of my current three projects will be the first to reach readers? I am not sure yet. I have never had more than one project in full development at once, but something happened during these months of isolation, and I found comfort in jumping between these three totally unrelated projects. All are very different stories, but all are begging to be told. So, I will keep working on them, and I will see what happens. I do find comfort that people are continuing to discover my books. Although the three I am working on are vastly different from each other and from the Fay Findlay series of the first two. They all do hold one thing in common – My hometown of Birmingham, Alabama as the backdrop. I find comfort in writing what is familiar, even when I am pushed out of my comfort zone in many ways. The familiarity of my hometown makes it easier for me to concentrate on the characters because they are the real story.

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