One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. With the killer closing in, and terrifying secrets revealed, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
Now onto Donna’s guest post. Welcome, Donna!
Challenge Yourself to Write in a Different Genre
by Donna Galanti
If you are a writer have you challenged yourself to write in a different genre? I tried it in my Write a YA Novel in 9 Months class. I like to write dark fiction for adults and this class forced me to find my own natural young adult voice. My teacher and NY Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry said he never backs down from an offer to write something new. He promotes that as writers we should not be bound to any one genre or point of view, but as writers we should write anything. I agree.
In researching how to write a young adult novel, I realized that I had already written young voices in my adult novel as I propelled two characters into adulthood. But I took it a step further. I challenged myself to also write in a different point of view – the first person, rather than my comfortable third person. I found out how difficult it is to stay in the mind and view of one person through an entire book. And that of a twelve year old boy!
Here’s an excerpt from seven year old Laura in A HUMAN ELEMENT, contemplating what her real mother looks like:
All she knew about her real mother was she had been a runaway who showed up one day. Laura dreamed up many scenarios about where her mother hailed from. Once her mother was a trapeze artist from a traveling circus who got left behind on a tour, another time a royal princess who ran away to escape marrying an evil prince. And one time she was even an alien transported to Earth on a secret mission to see how humans lived.
Wesley often told Laura it was good luck to have two mommies. Fanny watched over her as her “Earth mommy” while Sarah was her “angel mommy” looking down from Heaven.
Laura was afraid some days that her “Earth mommy” would be taken from her too.
Today felt like one of those days.
And here’s Laura at eleven spending time at her favorite spot to write, the lake:
She spread out her blanket on the grass and sat cross-legged facing the lake with her notebook and pen in hand waiting for the sun to hit the water. She wanted to capture in words the beauty of the summer morning all around her. The sun burst out of the treetops and shot shimmering jewels across the water. Laura shielded her eyes and her heart leaped with a thrill. She had made it just in time. The cool morning air blew off the water and embraced her. She closed her eyes for just a second to feel the warmth of the sun on her face, but instead a slobbery snout nudged her cheeks and hair.
“Hey,” she shouted in surprise and scrambled up to find an old, chocolate Labrador sniffing her legs. He had white whiskers around his jaw and a pleading, sad look. He became her friend instantly. She fell back down on her knees and wiggled his ears.
“Where’d you come from?” Laura scratched his head “You’re so cute!”
She laughed as he tickled her with his nose.
“Scooter,” a gruff voice called. “Come here, boy.”
Laura looked up to see a trim, old man whacking through the brush in the woods. She knew it had to be the hermit people talked about. She had seen him from afar, with his gray cap, but never up close. The old man twitched, startled to see her there with his dog. He stopped a few feet away from her. He didn’t look like a hermit but a nice, normal grandpa dressed in jeans and a green plaid shirt. He leaned on a crooked, black walking stick. He looked in good shape for an old geezer.
It was fun to realize I already had found my natural young voice in my adult book, and fun to “grow” with Laura as she grew up in A HUMAN ELEMENT. I also know I get bored with an author once a formula has been applied to their books, over and over. This happened with a favorite author, Dean Koontz. After some time I could pick up his book, read the beginning, and know how it would go about and end. That greatly disappointed me (I even wrote him a letter to that effect, but he didn’t respond :)). Sometimes we read an author because we know what they’ll give us, but sometimes we read an author because we want to be surprised.
John Grisham surprised me with two books that I fell in love with. THE LAST JUROR, written in first person, and THE TESTAMENT, written in third person. Both tell a story from the deep perspective of one person different from Grisham’s legal-thriller styles novels. However, his try at non-fiction, THE INNOCENT MAN, did not work for me. Too dry and dull. But his book, THE PAINTED HOUSE, a coming of age book did draw me in. Again, a book in a different voice and point of view. Whether I liked it or not, bravo to him for trying new styles!
So do you like it when authors please their loyal-fans and continue to write in the same vein? Or do you want them to try new voices, new genres, new points of view? It’s exciting to be an author today as it’s become more acceptable to write across genres and in different points of view. It also gains you a crossover wider audience. John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, James Patterson. They’ve all done it. As for me. I’m game for trying something new. What about you?
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Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She won first place for Words on the Wall Fiction at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: www.donnagalanti.com