Christine DePetrillo has had her book, ALASKA HEART, featured on Authors Promoting Authors. To read about that book and further tidbits about Christine, see this post.
We are thrilled to have Christine back, talking to us about The Author Experience.
Christine, thanks so much for sharing your work with us!
I was once accused of being too happy in my stories. Everybody was always smiling, the sun was always shining, puppies and kittens aplenty. I couldn’t help it. Creating love stories made me happy, and I wanted my characters to have everything good in the world.
But that’s not very interesting now, is it?
Characters need conflict in order to change and grow and realize what it is they really want out of life. Readers need a reason to turn the page. If everything always works out in every single scene, there’s no chance to hold your breath, to wonder, to worry, to rejoice. Reading should be this kind of journey.
After receiving the feedback that maybe I had too much positive energy going on in my writing, I challenged myself to create something dark. This was really challenging me to be dark, which is not in my nature at all. I do smile a great deal. I like smiling. Smiling is good. Even if things are not going my way, a smile sometimes gets me through it. How was I going to keep the smiling to a minimum in my writing?
Start with death, a voice not unlike the Grim Reaper’s rasped in my head.
Sure, okay. I could try that. And so I did. My novel ABRA CADAVER is the result of my experiment with the Dark Side. A book with a synonym for corpse in it has to be dark, right? My main character, Holly Brimmer, dies in a car accident. Her flesh has been torn away. She coughs up blood. Her heart ceases to beat. Breath no longer fills her lungs. Until Keane Malson comes along and gives her a second chance.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Hold on. Wait a second. She dies, but gets to live again? Isn’t that a glass-half-full scenario, Christine? Isn’t that a lucky break?” It would be, except that in order for Holly to stay alive, Keane has to kill others and give their life energy to her. That’s kind of dark, right? Not to mention the fact that poor Keane is a cursed Celtic warrior and has been wandering the planet for centuries, unable to go in the sunlight, unable to choose his own path, always getting called to save someone from death’s grip. The dude has no life of his own. I’m getting all choked up for him all over again.
Don’t worry. Although I did take a trip to a dark place, it’s still a romance novel and there’s still a guaranteed happily ever after in the end. There are laughs along the way too, but not a ton of smiling. Honest.
ABRA CADAVER will be released soon from The Wild Rose Press. This book taught me that it’s okay to try things outside of my comfort zone. Characters can have some darkness, but still find contentment and love. Authors can beat their characters up and still feel as if they’ve written something worth reading. Readers can shed a few tears as they turn the pages and still enjoy a book.
So if you’re looking for a way to cut back on the daisies and rainbows in your writing or limit the pink bunnies and butterflies in your reading, start with death, I say. It worked for me.
Visit me at my personal website at www.christinedepetrillo.weebly.com to purchase books both with smiling and without and my group blog, A Pinch of Romance, at www.apinchofromance.blogspot.com
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