The Story Behind the Story
When an author writes a novel, they make up the characters and the story, but the character, setting, story arc don’t just appear out of nowhere. There is usually a story behind the story. Often there are several little stories, which an author tweaks and cobbles together to mold into the main character or the supporting characters. Sometimes they will set their story in a real place. Other times they will create a fictional place that has aspects of places they’ve visited or lived.
In my series, The Story Behind the Story, I share some of the stories behind my stories. Though I have never outright written a person I know into a book, I have definitely been influenced by those who have crossed my path, as well as places I’ve visited or even simply passed through throughout the many years I’ve been on this earth. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I love, love, love to talk books or hear moments of your own life a story might remind you of.
The Story Behind the Story – An Unwitting Trickster
Back in 2015, I organized a short story blog called Lightning Quick Reads. The concept was that a group of authors committed to posting a short story on the same day each month. Every month had a theme, but the authors could interpret the theme however they wanted. It was tough to write a short story every month, but I loved how the simple act of writing to a deadline refined my writing, concentrated my story organization skills, and taught me the economy of words. I really enjoyed the experience of collaborating with all those wonderful, talented authors, and was bummed when it fizzled at the end of the year. But I was also relieved because it was a lot of work.
October’s theme was, predictably, “scary.” I wrote a young adult romance with a creepy body-snatching twist, called Lake Effect. The story – more specifically the characters – stayed with me long after I posted it on the blog. So much so, that I decided I needed to flesh it out into a full length novel. It was fun to sit back down with Lake Effect and piece together the backstory of the characters and then move them forward from that crucial lakeside event.
I decided to make my body-snatcher, Luke (the main character), an immortal Trickster. In Lake Effect, he’s disembodied, but in the novel he has recently taken over a seventeen year old body. Lake Effect, shows you the moment Luke takes over Jayden, but if you only read the novel, you don’t “see” any of that.
When developing Luke, I realized that he’s snarky, confident, and almost always bored. He’s lived so many lives he can’t even remember them all. Having just started yet another new-to-him life, he’s questioning why? What is the purpose of him living one mundane life after another? Simply to pull pranks? Though the short story that birthed him had a creepy, light horror feel to it, Luke himself never did. To me, he was just doing what he needed to do to survive. Therefore, the novel doesn’t continue that horror vein. Though it was really fun to write the eerie setting and creepy lake monster, that wasn’t the life I wanted Luke to lead.
When Kira, the main character of Lake Effect, showed up in the novel, even I was surprised. But as I developed her character and her role in the story, I realized she absolutely had to be there. It’s almost as if Kira is the only one who can make Luke uncomfortable. When you’ve lived forever, you’ve seen it all, except the ex-girlfriend of the body you just stole.
I don’t want to give too much of the novel away because I really want you to discover the characters like I did – as you make your way through the story. But I would like to offer Lake Effect to you as a free gift. Just subscribe to my newsletter and you can download your own copy. Don’t worry, if you are already subscribed, you won’t double subscribe by entering your email again!
And now for the cover reveal! Now that you have an idea of how my Trickstering series came about, I hope you’re as excited to dive into it as I am to have you dive into it. This lovely cover was designed by Ida Jansson at Amygdala Design. She designed both covers for my Touched by Afterlife series (published under my pen name, L.A. Dragoni.) I loved her use of light on those covers and when I decided this new Trickstering series needed to have the portals between worlds represented on the covers, I knew I had to get in touch with Ida again. She’s really fantastic to work with. If you’re looking for a cover artist, check out her work.
Okay, ready? Here it is!
What do you think? Beautiful, right? I can’t wait for you to read An Unwitting Trickster. The book releases on June 8th. But don’t worry, you can reserve your own copy now! An Unwitting Trickster is available for pre-order. Get your copy here:
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Lake Effect. I might have another surprise for new newsletter subscribers as well. I did mention that I figured out some of the backstory, right? Well, that might mean another short story coming your way ;)