Tag Archives: An Innate Sense of Recognition

An Innate Sense of Recognition

As of 7.31 a.m., my tenth indie novel is live. This tale doesn’t have anything in common with Halloween; it’s about family loyalties, love, heartbreak.  It also doesn’t have much to do with NaNoWriMo, which starts tomorrow, but it’s entirely apropos for this book to go live the day before NaNo starts.  If not for National Novel Writing Month, none of this plugging a novel would even exist.

This is the fifth in a series, the second of which the cover has been designed by the delightful and so talented Julie K. Rose.  Hard to get into the particulars about this book without dredging up the previous four, so I won’t attempt it.  What I want most to convey is the simple but lasting joy that is writing, revising, then publishing a book.  It doesn’t get any less sweet or profound with each one, maybe how the San Francisco Giants who won the World Series in 2010 are feeling today, on the cusp of a parade for their victory of a few days back.  Every championship and each book carries its own individual but priceless memories as a season is crafted, as a story emerges, from the very beginnings to the final poke, which I gave this novel early this morning, making sure nothing was amiss, or at least nothing glaring.  The Giants did give up some runs to Detroit, but only a few.

I sat in front of my monitor this morning  fully aware of the task; publishing this book.  (In addition to laundry, wrapping up the outline for one of my NaNo projects, watching the Giants’ celebratory parade.)  I needed to get this book released early, so that at 11 a.m. I can flop on the sofa, reveling in those ballplayers who made their dreams come true.  But at 7.30 a.m., I had made mine.

Before I hit the publish button, I listened to some tunes, one each from the next novels in the writing queue, then one from this book, “To Know Him Is To Love Him”.  It comes along late in the novel, on the heels of tragedy; I needed to be in the mood to set this novel into cyberspace, to continue the seemingly never-ending saga of the Cassels and Smiths.  However, one book remains, my favourite.  But that’s for another day.

Perhaps the Giants feel a little of the same; savoring this grand moment, but well aware of what next year could bring.  However, for now, I want to focus on this book, this slip of time.  Yes NaNo begins tomorrow; perhaps those novels will one day be the post of the day.  An Innate Sense of Recognition was written in July 2010, a bridge leading to the finale.  I considered that build-up while revising, setting all the players into position just so.  Some are young, some on the way out, like a baseball team; veterans and rookies all fitting into the lineup exactly where they need to be.  Within a series, every book plays its part, and this one leaves the reader with some closure, but enough open doors so the last book will be anticipated.  Or I hope it works that way.

If you’re preparing for NaNo, wondering if it’s possible, if it’s worth it, well, believe me, nothing feels better than rambling about baseball and books and the thrill.  The thrill of a finished manuscript released is for me what the Giants knew on Sunday night, will relive today as a million people cheer.  A writer’s audience is smaller, but the excitement is similar; so much hard work, blood, sweat and oh yes tears, then whoop; there it is!  If your NaNo mojo seems bleak or waning, keep this in mind; it’s a long road, 162 regular season games leading to how many playoff appearances, then…  The World Series.  A novel published, indie or traditional, is the same; pretty darn cool!

I won’t be blogging here much in November, but you can find me at Kelly Tremane and The Richard Brautigan Club, waxing about NaNo joy and noting word counts.  Or hunt me down at my NaNo profiles, where stats for those novels can be located.  Or (more shameless plugs, but today’s a day for it) check out my Tumblr; today’s picture (just below where this entry is reposted) is the original of this novel’s cover.  Snapped in September 2006 near Bolton Abbey, it’s a part of Yorkshire, not anywhere near the Willamette Valley.  But hey, it’s fiction; I’m translating the essence in whatever manner necessary.  Sometimes I use pinch runners, England for Oregon.  Like a good manager, pieces are shuffled, words are replaced.  The novel’s the thing; here’s another in my collection.

WIPs and me

The lovely Julie K. Rose tagged me for a very intriguing meme; The Next Big Thing Challenge.  Ten questions about the work-in-progress, but I’m going to wrap two manuscripts into this, as what I’m currently sorting are the final installments of an unintended but beloved (by me) series; Alvin’s Farm.

Some background to this series; in 2009, I came up with a little plot, assumed it wouldn’t go much past 50-60K.  By the end of the first novel, I wasn’t even close to concluding the tale.  What has emerged is most definitely a labor of love, also a modicum of insanity; how do characters take over?  I don’t know, but they do, and as I revise the last two books, many emotions overwhelm.  So, without further blah blah blah, here’s my take on An Innate Sense of Recognition and The Timeless Nature of Patience

1. What’s the working title?  See above

2. Where did the idea come from?  For these last two, it was a love of the cast.  After completing the first three Alvin novels, a few months later I was knee-deep in what if I moved the action forward a couple of decades, focusing not just on Jenny and her contemporaries, but her children.  A plethora of story lines exploded, but while the first three novels weren’t that plotted, these last three were well outlined.  The series is actually two trilogies, but the last three books don’t really work if you’ve not read the first three.

3. What genre does this book fall under?  Family saga/drama.  Unfortunately on Smashwords, if you tag a book with drama, it lands at Apple and Sony as theatrical-drama.  So, I will tag them as lit fic.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie adaptation?  I usually don’t consider this sort of question, not because I want a reader to make their own choices, but because rarely do I slap a famous face onto my casts.  However, in this instance, I have to admit I have always imagined Gary Sinese as Tommie Smith, due to Sinese’s fabulous work as Stu Redman in The Stand.  I literally stumbled onto the idea for Alvin’s Farm while faffing about on the web in the middle of the night, landing on the movie Starman, which I haven’t seen.  Alvin himself is like that alien, who took the form of Karen Allen’s late husband.  Jenny gets her name from Allen’s character, and the rest of the book unraveled from there, so maybe Jenny Cope could be modeled on Allen.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Oh goodness…  Well, since I have two books, I’ll give two sentences.  Umm, yeah.  I’ll come back to this one.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  I’m indie all the way.  An Innate Sense of Recognition will be published on Halloween, The Timeless Nature of Patience in early December (or late November, depending on my NaNoWriMo progress).

7. How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?  Each book was written in a month, Innate Sense in July 2010 and Timeless Nature for NaNo that same year.  I was even given the great thrill of a 30 Covers in 30 Days cover, designed by Felix Sockwell, for Timeless Nature, on Thanksgiving!  (I was at my parents, and got to share that joy with family.)  I tend to get most of my first drafts written in that blustery NaNo style; of course the revising takes far longer.


8. What other books would you compare your story to within your genre?  I tend to ignore genres; I’m a self-confessed genre slut.  I can’t say I even read family saga novels, other than the incomparable The Thorn Birds, but Colleen McCullough is heads and shoulders above me.  But if you like sweeping historical tales, the Alvin’s Farm series might appeal.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I’ve covered that a little; I woke in the middle of the night, couldn’t go back to sleep.  Rather than stir my husband, or try to ignore his snores, I went to my computer.  Why I landed on the Starman Wikipedia page is lost to time, but after a few clicks, there I was, and the rest is six novels full of love and angst.  I will say I wanted to explore my 1970s childhood, which was spent on a cattle ranch.  My dad and his friends were the inspirations for Tommie, Sam, and Jacob, and continued to guide me as those men aged in the last three books.

10. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?  In the first three novels, current events were woven through the narratives; Jimmy Carter’s election as president, the Iran Hostage Crisis, Mount St. Helens’ explosion, and the fallout of Vietnam.  In the last three books, I chose the recession, medical marijuana usage, and the Iraq War.  Tommie’s grandson Mitch is a marine, and his fate comes to a head in An Innate Sense of Recognition.  President Obama’s election figures in The Timeless Nature of Patience, along with political divisiveness.  As a personal aside, Timeless Nature is probably my favorite of my novels.  What I wanted to convey in that book was not just wrapping up a series, but that good things do come to those who wait.  Jenny learns that in the first three books, but the lesson is vital, what her children and other relatives need to understand; crap happens, but not always for the worst.  (Consider the sentences in italics the answer to question 5.)

Like Julie, I won’t tag anyone specifically, but there are some lovely writers out there who brains I would love to pick.  If you feel inclined, give this a go, and let me know.   And again, thanks to Julie for this tag, and many other blessings.  🙂