From Thea: I’m excited to have my friend and NYT Bestselling author, the lovely and talented Vivian Arend back on my blog this week to kick off the Rising Darkness guest posts. Be sure to pay attention to contest details at the end of the post. Take it away, Viv!
First off, thank you to Thea for having me in today, and second, WHEEEE and congrats on the release of RISING DARKNESS! I love it when authors start new series because I know and trust them to deliver an amazing read, no matter the genre or themes.
I was thinking about this—branching out. How every time they start a new series, authors are, in a way, building a new world, and readers get to venture there through the pages of the book. One commonly heard statement regarding writing is to ‘write what you know’. Which, okay, there are truths to this, but if you write murder mysteries, no one expects you to go out and kill a bunch of people to be able to make your stories accurate, right?
I think the fine line that statement is referring to is encourage writers to become so proficient at describing the every day details that readers become immersed in whatever world you create. New realms like those found in urban fantasy, sci-fi, romance…
Yes, romance. Because while at its root a romance is about a happily-ever-after, which means dealing with people and their emotions, there are as many different kinds of people and places that they live as there are fantasy elven kingdoms situated on the edge of enormous waterfalls, with glittering rivers and solemn wise leaders.
In a contemporary romance, if the hero and heroine met in a coffee shop—quick, what do you picture?
Is it a high-end glass-and-chrome sparkling setting, where the rich exotic scents of freshly-ground organic free-trade eco-friendly beans waft through the air moments before they are pressed in an espresso maker?
Or is it a small town coffee shop where the counter stools are silver posts topped with red vinyl, the waitresses pouring endless cups of Maxwell House brew from glass carafes? Where the corner table is full of the local farmers all in for a visit with their friends after morning chores, baseball caps and cowboy hats pushed back as they laugh over the same joke that’s been told every day for the past twenty years—but it’s still funny.
I’ve spend a lot more time sipping coffee from behind my desk or while dealing with my children than I’ve spent in either of the above locations, but I know those places are real. My job as a writer is to take you there, and along the way I have to ‘get it right’. I might not know the name brand of the espresso machine the barista is frothing the milk at, but you should be able to see and hear and smell the scene.
This is where for me being a writer becomes a joy. I get to take you to places that you’ve never been before and from the safety of your coffee experience, you get to climb a rock face in the Canadian Rockies. You get to see the sun peeking over a cliff top, and get to smell the scent of glacier wind traveling over snowfields.
Have I done all the things that I write about? Heavens, no—I end up with a great, big long research file for every book. But the research is only the beginning. It’s the information about where and when, and I have to flesh out the dry details with sensory touches so that you can enter the world and forget that it’s a story.
This to me, is the magic of writing.
Becki closed the closet, a sense of déjà vu hitting as her clothing vanished behind the familiar wooden doors. Even though the fabric on the other side of the door was a lot more expensive than when she’d first walked into the school, the garments were pretty much the same. Comfortable, easy to wear. Except for the single fancy dress she’d brought along on a whim, Mountain Equipment Co-op was still her designer of choice.
She strolled to the window to reacquaint herself with the surroundings. Set on the hillside, the dorms had the most spectacular view of Mount Rundle, its distinctive jagged top cutting an angled line against the pastel-blue Alberta sky. Small, pale-green buds trembled in the light breeze. The trees were slower to leaf out here than in nearby Calgary, the higher elevation and cooler nights of the mountains holding back the spring.
The window was already open. Fresh air flooded the room and swirled over the queen-size bed. Beyond the increased size of sleeping arrangements, not much else had changed from when she’d been a student. A desk. A bulletin board on the wall with a single motivating quote painted across the top: I am the captain of my soul.
It was like going back in time, and a shiver raced up her spine.
She’d agreed quickly enough when David Landers asked her to accept a teaching position, then gotten to ponder the why of her rapid decision at leisure the entire trip from Jackson, Wyoming, to Banff. She wasn’t twenty-three anymore. She wasn’t the headstrong, dynamic leader admired and hated in turns by her classmates.
Only she wasn’t really sure who she was instead. Somewhere along the way, she’d lost track.
And when you got lost, you went back to the beginning and started again.
On an impulse, Becki slid open the desk drawer. She pulled out the set of coloured markers she suspected she’d find there. A sheet of paper joined the markers on the desktop, and without any further consideration she wrote in block letters.
. . . Begins with a single step
Come let Becki and Marcus introduce you to their world. To the world of search and rescue, and the people who lay their lives on the line to save others. Come visit Banff National Park, and take the time to breathe the fresh air.
High Risk: Adrenaline, Book 1
LIFELINE: an elite search-and-rescue squad based out of Banff, Alberta. Specializing in high-risk rescue missions, this team goes wherever the job takes them…
Rebecca James was once revered for her devil-may-care attitude and backcountry survival skills. But ever since she lost her partner in a fatal accident, patches of her memory have been missing. And until she can recall those final, tragic moments before the accident, she can’t move on.
Since Marcus Landers was permanently injured during a mission, all his energies have been focused on his Lifeline team. When Becki—whom he had an intense affair with seven years ago—arrives in Banff, he’s inspired to reignite the spark they once had. Their mutual ardor slowly awakens Becki’s dormant, haunting memories.
New truths surface until Becki must at last confront her greatest fear. Remembering the past might mean a future without the man she loves…
Mass Market Paperback
From Thea: Thanks, Vivian. And now for the contest.
In the excerpt above Becki reads the inspirational quote and then writes one of her own. What are your favorite words of wisdom?
Simply leave a comment below and you’re entered to win the High Risk Swag Bag from Vivian Arend.
This contest is open to international entries.
We’ll draw the winner on April 12th at 12 noon MDT (2pm EDT) and announce them on the blog. The winner must contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm MDT (7pm EDT) Monday, April 18th to claim their prize.
**If the winner is unable to claim their prize by the time and date and time listed above, it will be allocated to someone else**