Friday, June 18, 2010

What Makes a Keeper a Keeper?

I'm excited to help promote Author Autumn Jordan's newest release Evil's Witness. You can find it at Barnes and Noble. Congrats, Autumn. Here's to a fabulous member of the Golden Network and many more successes. ~ Donnell

Write what you know. As writers, we’ve all heard the statement more than once, and it’s stopped many from writing the stories of their heart. Why? Because the writer takes it literally. They think I’ve never visited the Emerald Isle or step through a time portal or had contact with a serial killer, so how can I write a story dealing with the subject?

Thousands of writers have visited Ireland and wrote about it, and thousands more have written about the beautiful country and haven’t had the pleasure of touching its shores. I know of no one who has actually skipped through time, yet. And, I’m sure there are very few writers who have written a book dealing with a serial killer based on their actual experience with them. Most subject matters or settings can and should be thoroughly researched so as to propel the reader into a realistic world. In the genres of fantasy or paranormal, in order to make the world come alive for the reader, building the world needs to be detailed.

In my story Evil’s Witness which just released on June 18 from The Wild Rose Press, a tractor-trailer containing U.S. currency is stolen by the Russian Mafia. My heroine witnesses a blood bath during the act and is sent on the run not only to save her life but also the lives of her children. Have I ever witnessed a horrific act such as this? No. Could I write about it? Yes, based on a few of my own past experiences.

Because of my family’s trucking company, I knew about tractor-trailer heists. They occur more often than you might think. We’ve hauled for the U.S. Treasury so the research for the bases of the story was easily available to me but not impossible for someone else to investigate. I had to make contact with local and state police concerning local law enforcement procedures, their weapons and use, and I interviewed an FBI agent on the witness protection program. I also read any articles or books I could find on the Russian Mafia. What I didn’t have to research and what makes any book a keeper on my shelf is emotion.

Years ago, while working at a restaurant, I was held at gunpoint during a robbery. It’s not a time I like to recall. I had nightmares for months. I managed to overcome the fear, tuck the experience away in the recesses of my mind and move on. While writing Evil’s Witness I recalled the horrific moments and use them positively to write emotional charged scenes.

As a mother of four, I’ve experienced more than a few times when my heart wedged in my throat with fear for my children. I’m sure you’ve had a moment when your child disappeared from your view for a few moments or they had an accident which required medical help. Can you recall the visceral responses your body had as seconds ticked off until you found them hiding between the clothing racks or at a friend’s house or help arrived? Did your heart pound? Did your mind scatter recalling the last moments before they disappeared—their birthday parties, holidays or smiles? Did your eyes skip from area to area, searching for a glimpse of your baby? Could the emergency vehicles not get there fast enough? How about sweaty palms or dry mouth?

Excerpt from Evil’s Witness:

A blast hit the air and a micro second later the windshield of the car beside them splintered. Pulling Bobby and Em with her, Stephanie dropped to the tarmac, the skin tearing from her knee.

“Stephanie, get down,” John yelled too late.

She was already flat faced on the blacktop. Her heart thundered, barely covering the voice inside her which screamed, “Not again.” She strained, stretching her arm, her fingers, grasping to protect her children.

Walking through a parking lot, I’ve felt threatened by someone following me. My blood rushed as I fumbled for my keys and raced to my car. I also recall the relief that washed through me after I pulled away unscathed.

Excerpt from Evil’s Witness:

Suddenly, a hand slapped across her mouth and a strong arm circled her waist, lifting her off her feet. Her nostrils flared against the ridge of skin as she fought to suck in air and the scent of the man dragging her away.

A car whizzed by but didn’t stop. The street ahead was deserted except for two elderly women waiting for a bus and a couple standing on the corner. They had their backs to her. They didn’t see her.

She searched wildly for anyone who would come to her rescue. There was no one.

I’ve had a broken heart. I’ve felt the sorrow of death. I’ve rejoiced at births and I am in love.

Excerpt from Evil’s Witness:

She stood before a mirror. A single lamp, turned low, lit the room. Through the silken material of her nightgown, her fingertips traced the outline of the scar near her waist. A mirror image of it marked her back. She didn’t want to remember how her life had come to this point. The memories caused fear to wrap around her heart, tainting the joy she’d come to know.

In the glass, she noticed movement behind her. A second later, he was there, staring at her. The man she’d die for.

I’ve experienced all of these feelings and more. I’ve used them to create an emotionally satisfying story in Evil’s Witness. A novel which I hope will remain on my reader’s keeper shelves and have them search for my other works.

Emotion is the connection between a writer and reader. Remember that bit of advice. And the next time you hear, write what you know, think that’s easy. All I need to do is open the door to my past and draw from my emotional well.

Autumn lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, who supplies her with support and tons of laughs. Her favorite destinations farther from home are Vermont and Arizona where she enjoys hiking, golfing, horseback riding and learning the history of the areas. And no matter what Autumn is doing, she’s busy dreaming up ideas to put the characters of her romantic thrillers in grave danger.

All material contained within this post may not be used without expressed permission from author. Copyright© By Autumn Jordon


Debra E Marvin said...

This sounds like a very interesting story, Autumn. Sure it's easier to write what 'we know' but it would be limiting, wouldn't it?

I'm going to have to look for Evil's Witness. Can you tell us about your previous books?

I wanted to add that trail riding in Arizona is one of my favorite memories. It's a beautiful state isn't it?

Autumn Jordon said...

Hi, Debra. I love AZ and really enjoyed horsebacking riding in the White mountians just NW of Phoneix.

Writing what you know, to me, means drawing from your past experiences, recalling the viscular responses you had during a certain time. I guess you're right, if someone hasn't experience death of a close friend or family member or something that nature,it would be hard to hard to write such a scene. In that case I would probably recall a death of a pet. Pets are family.

Obsessed By Wildfire, the other book on my shelf, was released by TWRP in January 2010. It's part of their Wayback series, which is centered around a small Texas town and it's rodeo. It's a light, spicy read and has a little suspense. OBW has recieved two great reviews. If you visit my website, you can read more on both books and also view trailers.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

angelynscrimesofpassion said...

Autumn, thanks for sharing! I'm going to look for Evil Witness.

sue fineman said...

This book is already on my TO BUY list. Sounds great, Autumn!

Donnell said...

Autumn, thanks for sharing your fantastic excerpts and your experiences. I love that so much of the book comes from your heart. That shows in your writing and has elevated you to where you are at this moment.

Question for you. Do you feel that the your publisher gave you a lot more freedom to write this story, did they reign you in at all. I'd love to hear about your experinece with TWRP. Thanks! And thanks for visiting The Five Scribes.

Autumn Jordon said...

Hi Sue and Angel. I hope you both enjoy Evil's Witness. Thanks for keeping me company today.

Autumn Jordon said...

Hi, Donnell. Thanks for inviting me here.

TWRP has contracted two of my books so far. Since they were for different lines, I had different editors for each project. I loved working with both of them, each gave me feedback which I feel made the story stronger. It took a little rewriting, but hey, the end result was worth the effort.

Oh, my editor did ask me to tone down my sex scene in Obsessed By Wildfire. They thought it was a littel too hot for the series. Then she asked me if I considered writing erotica. I said while blushing, "Huh, no." LOL.

Another thing, I loved about TWRP is their covers. I haven't seen a bad one yet. AUthors do have a lot of input into them.

I'm glad you liked my excerpts. (((HUGS))

Donnell said...

I'm so proud of you ;)

Mary Marvella said...

Autumn, I just keep learning more about you. Your advice is right on.

Can't wait to get to Evil's Witness!

Autumn Jordon said...

Thanks, Donnell and i'm glad you're my cyber friend. I hope to meet you one day in person.

Autumn Jordon said...

Hi, Mary. You found me. LOL. I definitely want your feedback on Evil's Witness. I value your opinion. ((HUGS))

Kathy said...

Autumn what an interesting post and thank you for sharing. I always wondered how we would write what we know if we didn't know exactly that lol. I like how you explained to use research and emotion to make it real. My critique partner told me sh eliked how I'm writing my heroine and it makes sense the way she is and how she acts. She is an US Army Captain and the daughter of a cop. She's got to be tough and no nonsense but fragile on the inside at times.

vikkibakus said...

Autumn and Donnell, great post! Boy oh boy, I'm printing this one out to remind myself to get out of my mind and write from my emotional heart.
Thanks for the prolific reminder!

Autumn Jordon said...

Kathy, I think you're on the right track. Our characters must show the emotional turmoil going on inside to the readers. Keeping their emotions from the other characters is okay, but the reader does need to see it. Showing their soul make sthem real.

Good luck with your story.

Autumn Jordon said...

No, thank you, Vicki. I always wonder if what I say makes sense to someone else.

Thnaks for stopping by.

Autumn Jordon said...

I have a contest up on my blog for a $50.00 gift certificate. I hope you or your friends will enter.
It's easy and you'll be helping me get the word out on Evil's Witness. Check it out.