Red Piccirilli is a runt, a dreamer, a naive boy with an imaginary friend and little else. But right before summer vacation starts he finds an albino girl trapped in a shed behind a local house. After Red frees her, the world he knew quickly unravels into something more mysterious—an unsteady reality where a man with silver teeth and buzz saw voice points him toward the true meaning of sacrifice.
Today on the blog I have a wonderful guest post by author Lee Thompson! Check out what he has to say and then at the end of the post, enter your info in the form to be eligible for a kindle copy of his YA book, Before Leonora Wakes (there will be 10 winners!)
The Joy of Creating New Worlds
Thanks to Katelyn for allowing me to guest post!
In the past year and a half I’ve sold five books to Delirium/Darkfuse Books, and another to Thunderstorm Books. But before that I’d written a YA novel—BEFORE LEONORA WAKES —that ended up the start of my thirteen-piece Division series. While writing that little teen story I found it funny to be thirty-six and feel like my teenage years were right behind me, all I had to do was glance over my shoulder. We carry our pasts with us, whether they’re full of love or heartache, magic or mayhem, and as writers it’s cool to take those situations, whether large or small, and fictionalize them.
Before Leonora Wakes is a tale of meaning and magic that’s also filled with the joy, sorrow, and the confusion involved in growing up.
Red Piccirilli is a runt thirteen-year-old. He isn’t cute or popular, but he is curious and as the story unfolds he fears it might be the death of him, his imaginary friend Pig, and the girl who Red is crushing on but is afraid will never like him.
He’s on his way home from school when he sees a strange man in a blue coat at the crosswalk in this quiet little town where life seems normal. But things quickly take a stroll into dark woods as Red and his imaginary bud follow the stranger they’ve dubbed Mr. Blue home. From beneath a hedgerow they watch him go to his shed out back and for the briefest moment they see an albino girl locked in a dog kennel as he opens the door. Pig wants nothing to do with it, he doesn’t even think they should call the cops, his head and mouth full of what-ifs (What if the cops come and Mr. Blue moved the girl? What if Mr. Blue comes looking for them? What if Mr. Blue finds them?)
They flee and return home but Mr. Blue saw them and pays a visit.
He has lessons to teach them: about friendship, about love, about desire and most of all about choices and consequences.
There are several things I enjoy about creating new worlds (and in finding the right pieces I find my life, my hopes, fears, setbacks, and victories)…
“The Very Human Mingling Among the Very Strange”
The unknowable both excites and frightens me and it has since I was a boy.
Pretty much everything I write (and in turn, what I most love to read) is grounded in everyday problems and the emotions that stem from loneliness, confusion, anger, tragedy, love, hope, joy, and unmet expectations. Plenty of material to mine from the rich vein of reality, but I also like to dig into metaphors and the idea that reality as we know it is very personal and sometimes very strange. I enjoy developing the strange side of the equation as much as the commonplace. Mr. Blue, the mysterious stranger, signifies many things. But most of all he encompasses that gray area between good and evil, committed to his duty, fighting a battle that he alone can’t win.
“Engaging the Imagination”
I’ve never liked ho-hum, and too much of the ordinary can grow boring. I’ve moved around a lot, drove over-the-road truck, and seen so many beautiful places. Those times I spent traveling are always a springboard for building worlds. I draw from the real and add the most interesting and suitable content the story calls for. This little town is where I grew up in Kingston, Michigan. It’s nowhere near true. Mr. Blue’s house doesn’t exist other than in the boy I once was who always stumbled by this one house that long stood abandoned for most of my young life. People stayed away from it without ever saying why. It was an eyesore, a place forcibly forgotten.
From such fodder we build castles. A writer asks questions and it’s fun when the reader and characters find their way along together, hand in hand. Because Red doesn’t know jack, really. He has to find the meaning of love in a young girl that seems so much more comfortable in her skin than he is. He has to discover healthy pride for the things he is good at, instead of the things he’s not. He has to dig deep for courage because anything less might destroy him.
It’s incredibly satisfying as an author to discover new/original characters caught in strange situations. It’s fun to find out who they are, what they’re about, what trials they’ll face and how they’ll overcome them. Conflict, discovery and setbacks reveal/develop character and story. It’s thrilling to set characters off on a journey, whether for love or survival, and find that they are much more complex and resourceful than they could have ever guessed. There are several mysteries layered throughout Before Leonora Wakes. Red isn’t exactly prepared for any of them, but that’s part of the fun!
“The Pay Off”
It all comes down to connecting with readers and hearing that the story moved them, that it made them feel and made them think and wonder. It’s why I love books across all genres.
I’m going to give away ten copies of BEFORE LEONORA WAKES for Kindle. Thanks again to Katelyn for having me and for anybody’s interest! I’d appreciate an honest review on Goodreads or Amazon from anybody who reads it. Thanks so much!
Author Information: Lee Thompson started selling fiction in early 2010. His novels include NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN (Delirium Books, 2011) and THE DAMPNESS OF MOURNING (Darkfuse Publications, 2012) both small but important parts of his Division mythos. He also has several sexy novellas available and forthcoming from Delirium Books, Thunderstorm Books, and Sideshow Press. He’s not a productive writer of short fiction, but has sold to magazines he loves, like Shock Totem, Dark Discoveries, Darkside Digital and Literary Mayhem. You can visit his website but don’t be a stalker!