Several days ago, I accepted Judy Goodwin’s invitation to participate in a blog hop.
It works like this:
You announce you are going to hold a hop on a certain day and invite others to participate. On the day of the hop, you post a link back to the person who invited you, and answer some basic questions about the project you are currently writing or are trying to publish, and link forward to anyone who accepted your invitation to join in.
Judy Goodwin’s blog may be found at http://judygoodwin.wordpress.com/
Up next is my current project:
What is the working title of your book?
Camera Obscura is the working title, but I am considering using Grave Portraits.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My best ideas come from nightmares in the wee hours. I met Sarah in a nightmare, and her smile was enough to wake me up shivering. Her being a photographer who creates uncanny photos may have come from the impression Avram Davidson’s “The Montavarde Camera” made on me when I encountered it in a fantasy anthology back in the 1960’s. I don’t recall anything else in that collection, but for some reason that story stuck with me.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version?
The actor who plays Beth, the protagonist, would need to present as an intelligent, no-nonsense, rather lonely woman in early middle age. Sigourney Weaver as she looked about twenty years ago would have been ideal.
The actor who plays Sarah, the antagonist and primary supernatural being in the story, would need the dramatic range to display every emotional state from normal human happiness to the madness and wrath of a King Lear who had been touched by the supernatural. Sarah presents herself in different forms: an adolescent, a young adult, and an old woman. If that weren’t challenging enough for an actor, for parts of the story, someone else is occupying her body, which adds yet another personality to display.
Briefly describe the major characters:
Sarah: a woman whom tragedy has transformed into something no longer human. Her photographs reveal the darkest secrets of her subjects’ souls, and that is merely a taste of what she can do.
Beth: obsessed the the collection of uncanny photographs Sarah, thought to be long dead, left behind.
Katie: Beth’s teenage daughter, who has learned to hide and to suppress her powerful clairvoyant gifts.
Chester: an elderly scholar who knows a lot more about Sarah than he is willing to reveal.
Nan: an emotionally damaged woman whom Sarah once used as a channel for her powers.
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A researcher trying to discover what became of a legendary photographer unintentionally liberates a wrathful supernatural being who possesses a young girl.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Probably self-published, but we’ll see.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about a year. I mostly wrote for an hour or so a day before going to work. I let it sit for a couple of years, and about six months ago started an extensive re-write that is nearly finished.
What other books in your genre does it resemble?
If on a this-is-uncanny-and-nightmarish scale of dark fantasy/horror of zero to ten where the Twilight stories are zero (he sparkles like a six-year-old girl’s pink toy unicorn?), the Dresden Files series is about a three or four, and Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” or H. P. Lovecraft’s “Cool Air” are tens, then overall my book is about a four, with a couple of chapters hitting eight.
On a blood-and-gore scale where Edith Wharton’s “Afterward” is zero and Clive Barker’s “The Midnight Meat Train” is ten, averaged out over the whole book my gore level is about a two, but there are a couple of chapters that hit ten and might not be appropriate for children or unusually sensitive adults.
My terrors, like some of those created by the splendid Caitlin Kiernan and the classic horror writers, are more likely to be sui generis and to lack an owner’s manual. After all, once the reader understands that the vampire is simply an annoying guy who can be dispatched with a stake or sunlight, a lot of the steam goes out of the story. Nightmares where logic has taken a permanent holiday are much more disturbing.
The plot of E. M Forster’s A Passage to India is largely driven by the consequences of a terrifying encounter with the supernatural in the Marabar caves, but Forster was far too good a writer to tidily explain it. In my book, the characters express ideas about what’s going on, but I don’t promise they are correct.
Alas, no one asked to be linked from this blog, so this branch ends here.