Funny how old rock songs have taken on new meaning. This is one of many songs that keep me inspired and energized in the fight for freedom and the realization of my goals.
Got a late start in blogging today, thanks to hours of work on my sequel and on my exciting writing project with Kevin Price and our team of talented patriots. Nothing soothes the soul for a writer and concerned American citizen quite like putting thoughts to paper (or more accurately, thoughts to keyboard to screen).
Unlike Water Signs, the writing process for Sea To Shining Sea has been long, drawn-out and quite challenging. Whereas the first book evolved out of a steady (sometimes relentless) stream of consciousness, the second is coming into being through deliberate creative license, by taking public events (Tea Parties, congressional elections, FISA Act) and making them very personal for my characters. As with my debut novel, it has been fun to witness the evolution of my characters who’ve grown considerably into their own “people”.
I mentioned in a previous post that while Ken and Maddy were originally conceived as representations of real-life, flesh-and-blood human beings, as the the Water Signs plot developed they came into their own as characters, going way beyond their initial conceptions. This is in no way a slight to either myself or the guy I once knew. It simply means that reality is a great starting point, but not necessarily enough for compelling fiction. The same holds true for many of the minor characters, although I did my best to remain as true to their real-life inspirations as possible.
The writing process is a funny thing. Last night, while struggling to wrap up Chapter Five (a few more sections to go), I wound up going in a completely different direction than I’d originally intended. At first I was a little frustrated, but now I see how the things I’ve written fit in so much more easily and more effectively support my overall objective — which is to set the stage for future events via foreshadowing. This time around, Sabrina Anthony is my “psychic” character, however in a Christian mystic/prophet sort of way. A new character, Sabrina is named for a writer-friend of mine, and will literally be a lifesaver — along with her husband Ed — for both Ken and Madeline.
In Chapter Five, Sabrina hints to the reader via a one-on-one conversation with Ken, that perhaps the telecom merger he’s been so diligently working on is not meant to come to fruition — that God might have a higher purpose in mind for him. Being a sensitive (not to mention, successful) artist and devout Christian, Sabrina remains very subtle, though we get the distinct impression that she knows much more than she’s actually admitting. Fully aware of the intense pressure Ken is under, she realizes the importance of understatement; declaring boldly her knowledge of the impending failure of her intense, corporate-minded friend’s ultimate career goal would not exactly endear her to her husband’s Navy buddy, nor lessen the pain for him when it does actually implode. (Later when he decides to run for office, Ken will reflect back upon this conversation and realize Sabrina’s wisdom)
During this same conversation, we also learn of Sabrina’s negative experience with Erin at Ken’s first wedding — a distasteful event that left such a bad impression, both Ed and Sabrina purposely chose to skip out on the second one, assuming Ken had made another disastrous choice. For that reason, she confesses to Ken, guilt compelled her to respond positively to his call for help and thus, offer her home and her husband’s professional medical care to the scared, pregnant Madeline, who has had a terrible experience with the Canadian health care system.
Fun Side Note: I chose Vancouver as the setting for Ken’s business deal, and Seattle as the home of his old Navy buddy Ed for a few reasons, including geography. Since the book is titled, Sea To Shining Sea, I had to figure out a way to get my characters from Atlantic to Pacific. Further, I worked for Washington Mutual Bank in marketing, community relations and recruiting capacities for several years and had made many excursions to Seattle for business reasons.
As I’ve also noted previously, the old saying “write what you know” is a valid one. Since I’ve seen Mount Ranier, the Cascade Mountains, the Space Needle and other well-known attractions up close, describing them is easy. And while I regret I’ve never been to Vancouver, several of my co-workers on many of those trips did venture to the beautiful Canadian city, and filled me in on their experiences. And what I could not recall, I relied on the internet to fill in. I hope the result is an accurate portrayal, but perhaps my Canadian friends will let me know how well I did when the book is finished. 🙂
Well, I guess it’s time to get back to editing essays for the forthcoming liberty devotional!