Grab your coffee and hop on board for the Writing Process Blog Tour! On this tour, writers and authors spill the beans about their writing process.
Fellow critique partner and friend who’s helped me from my day one of writing Elizabeth Janette , tagged me to join the tour. You can read all about her process, and her fabulous books, on her website.
- What am I working on?
Altered is my new project, almost completed. A dystopia novel for young adults this adventure is just about finished with the final edits and cover design in process even as we speak.
The Privatol invades American soil, and crops propel the engine. Uncontrollable tyranny has succeeded in dictating where people live, what they do, and what they eat. When Abree, a spunky twelve-year-old is taken away to learn the process of modifying seed to Newly Constructed Food she discovers an evil plan that could alter the fate of the human race, and a way out if only she can escape to tell the others.
Altered will be published by Master Koda Select Publishing and is now on the editor’s desk.
- How does my work differ from others of it’s genre? This is the first dystopia novel I’ve ever written, and though it is a social-political dystopia, as many in that genre are, I think the fact that I’ve interwoven some Hopi and Mesoamerican legend into the story gives it a unique twist. The heros are three young people, one twelve years of age and two teenagers who find themselves in dire circumstances with not much hope, but who never lose faith in themselves and each other. It’s different. The personalities are different, the setting is different, and I can honestly say it carries its own weight.
- Why do I write what I do?
Passion. And that’s passion for a few things. First I really honestly love young people and I feel for their predicament in this unsettled world. I want them to know there’s a way out. I’m also passionate about the environment. I love nature. I love quiet nights on a hot summer evening listening to the frogs, or a cool autumn day when the wind whispers in the trees, or the frosty stillness of deep snow hushing the earth, or the sound of bees floating around the cherry blossoms in the spring. I’m passionate about having those things to remain for my children and grandchildren. And I’m passionate over social injustices. Though this dystopia might be a more significant piece politically, all my stories, my adventure fantasies, carry those passions through their pages as well.
- How does my writing process work?I write a premise. I need to start with a story line, a plot if you will. I chose my characters, their age, their social status, their environment, and then I do a deep psychoanalysis on them. It looks like they went to the shrink by the time I’m done with them! And not just my protagonists but my antagonists need to lay on the couch as well. That’s how the conflicts are revealed. Then I decide the arcs. What do my protagonists hope to achieve by the end of the story and how do they get there? And who gives them heartache on the way? Then I outline the events and eventually use them as chapter summaries. I put all of that into a doc and start writing.
I’d love to share a little dialogue from Altered for you. This is the scene between Nathan and his close friend Ivana, the evening they found out their siblings and all the young children were to be bussed away to government boarding schools by the foreign invaders, the Privatols.
Ivana Garcia was at the farthest table watching the door. She smiled when he came in, pulled out her phone and checked for messages.
“I can’t believe this is happening, Nathan.” Her voice was low, but then she barely ever spoke above a whisper when in public places.
“It’s repulsive,” he agreed, pumping a cup of lukewarm coffee from the carafe.
“Mom and Papa just about killed each other tonight.”
His eyes widened, waiting to see how serious she was. Ivana loved to exaggerate.
“Not really. But yeah, almost—I thought Mom would strangle him–but don’t tell anyone I said that–just in case he’s murdered in the middle of the night.”
Nathan glanced around the empty store. “You’re kidding I hope.”
“Papa’s joining them.” She slammed her purse on the table. “He went and got tested and he’s been accepted. He’s one of them now. He’ll take the kids to the buses in the morning and then he’s joining their ranks. I can’t believe it, Nathan. Mom’s a mess. The twins are freaking out. I had to get out of there.”
“That’s not good news. But then, what is anymore?” Nathan asked, trying to think of some magic words that might comfort her. She fidgeted with her phone again, pulled a stick of gum from her purse and leaned back against the chair, wiping aside the lone black curl that danced in front of her dark eyes.
“How’s your mom?” she asked biting into the gum and tossing the curled wrapper on the table.
Nathan shrugged. “Crying behind closed doors. Bree isn’t taking it too well either.”
“Kid’s got spunk. She’ll fight them.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of. What will they do if she does?”
It was Ivana’s turn to shrug and she did so with one shoulder. “Send her home?”
A siren sang through the streets as lights flashed into the storefront. The ambulance turned the corner and sped down the boulevard, away from their neighborhood.
“They’re still fighting, you know. Nighttime comes and everyone turns into vampires on the warpath, sucking the life out of this city. I wish I could leave. Go back to Mexico and stay with my Aunt.”
“Is it any better in Mexico?”
“She says it is. She says no one cares what happens in the desert. Cops are scared. I heard you could even have a crop without the bad seed infecting it.”
“Did you just say the cops are scared?”
Ivana nodded slightly, her deep brown eyes inspecting his for a brief second.
“The Cartel and….” She inspected her nails, leaving her sentence hanging.
“I don’t know. Something to do with the end-of-the-world. Quetzalcoatl.”
“A dragon,” she laughed, “with feathers.” She waved the thought away. “It’s just a legend. Not my thing.”
“How is your aunt getting there? Is that one of the reasons your dad’s becoming an Enforcer? Is he taking advantage of the amnesty benefits?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. No one talks. No one tells me anything probably because they know I’ll beg to go with them. I’m not ready though. I’m going to stay and tough it out. Get my degree first before I break my nails with a shovel.” She gave him a fake smile. “I’m not a farmer.”
If she asked, Nathan would agree. Ivana turned serious.
“They want us, Nathan.”
“That’s why they’re testing us.”
Nathan straightened and searched her eyes for more.
Ivana laughed. “You don’t know?” When he didn’t respond she went on. “They’re sizing us up. They want to know how best we can serve them. They have big plans for us. Look, Nathan, I don’t want to scare you or anything, but every single person has a slot they’ll drop into. Like a kid’s coin bank. We’re all getting categorized.”
“How do you know that?”
“Pfft. Buen sentido! Common sense. Can’t you see it?”