The MC of my PHANTOM’S CHILD is a ghost. Her mission is to redeem a long line of tragic women (other MCs) who have lost their firstborn through the unfolding of an age-old curse. My favorite MC is Marie-Louise January, daughter of Joliet Steel founder who moved to Fyvie, Scotland to escape materialism, along with her young husband Baron Leith. But when their first child dies, she returns to New York, only to find a magical rendition of him being created by a stained glass artist in Tiffany’s studios. As if guided by the spirit of her child, she purchases the inspiring work of art and has it installed in Fyvie Kirk. This part of my story is fanciful, but based in historical fact and there is a real Tiffany stained glass window ‘portrait’ of Percy Leith in the little village church.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I wrote it in one month, thanks to NaNoWriMo 2009. It took me another year to edit, bulk out my characters and get it ready for publication.
How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
I grew up in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and so have always been drawn to its history and prehistory. In my previous ‘incarnation’ (before my novels) I wrote non-fiction articles for journals and magazines. I was editor of a pre-historical charity magazine supporting the preservation of ancient stone circles and sacred sites in Scotland. So it’s been a long haul; you might say my research has always been ongoing. But specifically, the Fyvie ghost is one of many tales of local folklore and legend which color this ancient landscape and fill its many castles and strongholds.
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story? Is that the most difficult part of writing a book?
With a NaNo novel, deciding to finish writing is an arbitrary point. One is so exhausted from bending nose to grindstone every day for 30 days that somehow when an ending presents itself, you grab it. Most stories are continuous, I find. So it is tempting to find an excuse for a sequel…
Therefore the most difficult part about writing PHANTOM’S CHILD was stopping writing it!
What are you working on right now?
As you may have guessed, I have just finished another NaNoWriMo. My current WIP — after I have let it rest (on the page and in my addled brain) will become part of my Green Turtle Cay series of fantasy suspense. Somehow the balmy waters of the Bahamas, where I spent three years of my writing life, have a calming effect on me, and hopefully on my readers. I think I may even have found a winning combination: rev up the suspense of the unknown triggered by the Bermuda Triangle ~ cool it in the deep abyss.
Does writing come easy for you?
I think I probably always wrote. As a child I would write notes to myself and make up little stuck-together ‘books’ of stories. When I went into journalism, it was because I couldn’t think what else I could really do. The MuseGirl rules (my life).
What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?
Duma Key by Stephen King. Nuff said.
Have you written any other books?
Currently I have a paranormal novella ‘Cockatrice’ in production with NetBound Publishing, due out in 2012; and my New Age adventure ‘SHASTA:Critical Mass’ (which was a little on the large side for publication through Second Wind, though the publisher let me down oh so gently!) will be published — also in 2012 — by AllThingsThatMatterPress. The Green Turtle Cay series are still WIPs.
Apart from my amazon profile page and the above publishers’ webpages, I have a couple of blogs with links to my books: my writerly blog is at http://youngbloodblog.wordpress.com/ and my New Age/crop circle/fantasy/consciousness blog is at http://siderealview.wordpress.com/
Thank you Pat. Because you are such a pro yourself, you seem to know the right questions to ask. It’s been great talking with you.
Thank you, Marian, for answering my questions. I enjoyed our chat!