Category / Random Other Stuff

The Nicest Thing Anyone’s Said 04/05/2012 at 04:59

A recent review of Without A Spark mentions:

“When I first started reading this, I had the impression that it was a successive book in a series. Kevin’s mysterious activities led me to believe that his past was explained in a previous book. However after finishing the book, I think the author purposely left us in the dark, only to reveal what was going on slowly, at his leisure.”

Yep, guilty as charged. I’m a tease, like that, doling out information in little bits and pieces. So far, nobody seems to have particularly minded this choice, which is refreshing.

There’s another review on Amazon that says “I cared less about the story line… but the relationships built between the deaf college student, her male roommate and the mysterious other female, Box, made the book a good read”, and I enjoy that one, too. Still, for my money, the supposition that this is a later book in a series is my favorite thing that anyone has said about the book, which might seem a little bit odd at first glance. Why do I like this so? Because it suggests that I’ve succeeded at one of the most fundamental – yet most challenging – jobs an author faces: creating a three-dimensional character.

If people are engaged by my characters – believe that they have a life outside the events shown in the book, that they have depth, a past – I view that as a substantial victory, and one I worked fairly hard for, at that.

Kevin – as all characters should be, really – is the product of a lifetime of experiences and (mis-)adventures that has made him who he is by the start of the book. A few pieces of his past are relevant to the story, and are revealed as and when appropriate, but most are just, well, history’s mysteries. The same is true, I think and hope, of all the characters. Maura’s a sightly reclusive computer geek – and for a good reason that’s only obliquely alluded to in the book. Box’s eclectic family contributed a lot to who she is. Even Ken, one of the bigger antagonists in the book, has a certain degree of depth and complexity about him.

When I write, I start with the characters, first. They’re all fully-developed people with hopes and dreams and personalities long before the first words of the story are ever typed. Many writers do it differently, but this seems to work for me. (I do happen to think it’s an inherently superior approach, yes. But, well, I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

But enough of the annoying self-congratulatory bumpf. I have news! At long last, Without A Spark will become available for non-Kindle e-readers in mid-June. All you Nook, Kobo, and Apple fans will shortly be able to get the novel on your preferred platforms, natively. (And if you can’t wait until June, you can always buy a paperback copy and enjoy the book the good old analog way. Hint, hint.)