Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guest post by Brooklyn James author of the Vigilare series

Thank you, Scott, for hosting me on Indie Book Blogger. I look forward to your future review of my paranormal thriller, Vigilare.

Brooklyn James, author/singer/songwriter here, from the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. In chatting with Scott about a guest post, he shared that gaining insight on writer's perspectives and their writing process can be interesting. Although I do not find myself particularly interesting (as I believe most writers don't...that's why we create characters in the pages of a book...quite possibly our alter 'interesting' egos...right), I'm willing to give it a shot.

I would say the 3 key things that define my writing process are:

1. Physical Activity

2. Character Interviews

3. Research (even in writing fiction)

Writing, usually a most solitary act, and most definitely a mentally powered device, does one of two things to me. It either leaves me feeling a bit drained at the end of a session, or my mind continues to whirl about in a frenzy as I plan and scheme what will happen next in the plot. I find physical activity the perfect yang to my mental yin. If I find myself with a case of infamous writer's block or spontaneously privvy to more options than I know what to do with, I take off for the running trail, a weight-lifting session at the gym, or maybe a kayak excursion on townlake. I truly believe that physical and mental stimulation go hand in hand, most likely attributed to the increased blood flow, where by proxy we get that surge of oxygen to our brain. When truly mentally exhausted, the only way for me to counteract that state is to exhaust my physical self, resulting in a renewed sense of center and clarity. I have written my best characters and scenes in my head while running and working out. Be it writer's block or firing on all 8-cylinders to a point that the pistons are about to blow with ideas, physical stimulation is the only prescription for me. 'Prescription,' reminds me of Christopher Walken and his cowbell skit from Saturday Night Live. I giggle. Laughter is pretty good medicine, too.

I love character interviews when developing characters for a novel. Asking basic questions, such as: Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you a grumpy bear or a chirpy bird? What one word would your friends use in describing you? Do you have friends? What is your favorite quip or quote? What would I find under your bed? What is your family life like? What is your favorite food? What is scariest moment of your life? And so on... Character interviews help me asses my character's values, fears, achievements, motivations and goals. If you know all of this about your characters, then I think they will begin to write themselves into the plot. And maybe the plot will thicken due to certain traits a character may have. For instance, in my novel, Vigilare, the Vigilare doesn't know much about her family, she has visions of a man and a boy, but she is unable to identify them as hers. Those very visions are the key to her past and how she came to be the Vigilare, allowing the plot to unravel for both the Vigilare and the readers, as they find out her true identity and motivation together. I think character interviews are critical in understanding and elaborating on the forward movement of any story, be it a natural progression or an instant and chilling revelation. What I love most about character interviews, is when the answers surprise me in their unpredictability. When you discover that one little nugget that truly defines your character, although you may have initially seen that character in a different light. It's amazing how one piece of the character puzzle can change the entire outcome.

The thing I loathed the most about my Master's education in Communication was research, be it qualitative or quantitative. As a college student, I just wanted to say what I thought simply because I thought it to be that way. Thank goodness our professors were adamant about our reasoning and deducing, requiring us to provide a trail, a systematic link of how we garnered such an assessment. Even though, at the time, I knew writing fiction would be much more fun that factual collegiate theses. However, it turns out, research is important in fiction, too. Most of us probably write fiction because it allows our imaginations to explore and build characters and worlds that may not be realistic, as we all know reality can be quite stifling and disappointing at times. Having said that, research, even in fiction, can be the difference between a good story and a great story...a story that causes us to actually go to that 'what if' this could really happen stage. Vigilare is a detective thriller at its core, but it has paranormal elements, as the Vigilare's super power resides in her having rh-negative blood. I've worked previously as an Intensive Care Registered Nurse, and in drafting Vigilare I knew I wanted her blood entail some supernatural component. As a Nurse, I knew a bit about blood. However, after employing some heavy research, I knew more about blood, and actually found numerous theories about rh-negative blood and its link to the 'ancient astronauts' or descendants of extraterrestrial beings, if you will. I know, I know...but, I just can't help myself, after all, I am a fan of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel! By shear definition, these 'theories' are not proven fact. Nonetheless, they make for a delectible little story and allowed me to tie together all of the missing links in my paranormal plot. I would never have the audacity to liken my writing to that of Crichton, Patterson or Preston, however, one reviewer said, "James crafted a story that fully explores a scientific approach to hematology reminiscent of Michael Crichton's meticulous application of medicine while she juggles the pins and needles page-turner style of James Patterson." While another reviewer, stated, "Vigilare walks the line between a thriller and a supernatural adventure while safely anchored in a scientific discourse around blood that James put together so well that it's reminiscent of a Douglas Preston or Michael Crichton novel." That scientific twist came from the research that I applied in drafting the novel, truly desiring for it all to come together and make as much sense as a supernatural novel can. Since I am sharing the positive feedback, I feel it my duty to expose the negative, as one reviewer also said of Vigilare, “Hard to believe. Seems unreasonable to think of such a far-fetched event as this could happen." Hopefully, you will be the judge and weigh in, if you take an interest in reading my novel. Just in time for some dark, menacing, Halloween reading, Vigilare is an adaptation from a student short film, inspired by such vigilante comics and movies as The Punisher, Boondock Saints, V, Sin City and Batman.

Vigilare Amazon Link

Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. The Vigilare trilogy is an adaptation from a short narrative film, inspired by vigilante movies, such as The Punisher and Boondock Saints. She is currently working on the last novel in the series, as well as another book and music soundtrack combination. All songs from the soundtracks are written/co-written and performed by the author. Listen free at www.brooklyn-james.com or www.facebook.com/BrooklynJamesSinger.

Finding Brooklyn James:   Website       Facebook       Twitter       Blog     Amazon Author Central ReverbNation   iTunes

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