Friday, August 30, 2013

A. J. Locke

Guest Post by A. J. Locke

Writing Book Two vs Book One

With Affairs of the Dead, I had always planned for it to be book one of a series, though as of now I can’t say how long the series will be. When I started trying to work on the sequel, I began thinking about how different it i
s to write a second novel than it is to write a first. In some ways I actually find it more difficult. The sequel to Affairs has been stalled about halfway through due to some major writer’s block. I’ve actually had to put it aside and work on other projects while I wait for my writer’s block to sort itself out. As eager as I am to have a finished second novel, I know it’s not something I can force; I need to give myself space to work through whatever the blocking issues are. 

First books aren’t easy either, I mean it’s a brand new shiny project, you have a world you have to build from scratch and characters you have to create and breathe life into, so it’s definitely a lot of work and there are a lot of walls you can hit. But what I enjoy about first books is the complete openness it provides to take your story anywhere; you really have no restrictions on what you can create, what elements you can put into your world, and where you can take the plot. You have the freedom to put it all on the table, and if you are thinking of writing further books you can leave plot threads here and there than you won’t have to deal with until later. And then later comes.

At the end of Affairs, there’s a lot that I leave open that hopefully surprises the reader and leaves them wanting more. I was aware all along of all the things I would have to address, but I let it be a faint issue at the back of my mind until it came time to actually deal with them. Then I realized how daunting a task it was. I had multiple story threads that I had to take care of in an efficient way, and I couldn’t do them independently of each other. Somehow I had to tie them together so the new book’s plot made sense. Then there’s the fact that I have to work with the world I already established. I can’t go back and change something in book one to make it work in book two, and there have been a few times I wished I could! In that way I’ve found sequel writing to be a little restrictive, but I think if you give yourself enough to play with in the first book it can be managed. And of course there is always room for growth; you can always introduce something new as long as its appearance makes sense. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I already have my world and my characters, now I just have to do justice to the questions left unanswered in book one, and hopefully leave new surprises that can carry over into a third book.

I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging, but not impossible. It was just extremely taxing on the necromancer extraordinaire (me) who had to channel energy into the ghost to make her corporeal enough to entice one of the stripper boys. Technically what I was doing was illegal, but it was my job to help ghosts settle their affairs so they could move on to eternally ever after, and Julia’s unfinished business was that she’d died a virgin. I’d made it as easy as I could for her by starting at a strip club; if she couldn’t get some here, I wasn’t sure how much lower I could scrape the barrel.

Julia’s prolonged virginity was an enigma to me, even though she told me that she’d been waiting for her soul mate. I just didn’t understand why that meant she couldn’t hit up a bar, get drunk, and have a fun, regret-filled weekend that included the walk of shame. At least she’d have been in better shape once soul mate came around.

“What do you think about him?” I asked, pointing to one of the three oiled up men who were gyrating for the benefit of all the screaming women. He had blond hair and green eyes, and wasn’t overly muscular. Julia looked at him then quickly looked away. I took that as a sign of approval.

“I think this was a bad idea,” she stammered.

“This was a fantastic idea,” I said. “And it will work, don’t worry.”

“No, I mean, I don’t think I can do this. I waited my whole life for my soul mate and now you want me to just—” she stole another quick look at the stripper, “I don’t think I can do this with some random…stripper man. It’s so indecent.”

I rolled my eyes. “Julia, you’re a ghost; you no longer have the option of being discerning. And if you don’t wrap up what’s keeping you around, you run the risk of turning into a monster. Then it’s an even bigger pain in the ass to get rid of you. So let’s call our efforts here at Bump and Moan choice A, and murderous monster choice B. Which choice would you like to make?”

“A,” Julia said, but she didn’t sound happy about it. I smiled, and grabbed a couple drinks off the tray of a passing waitress. I set them down in front of Julia.

“Drink,” I said. “This will help.”

“I’m a ghost,” she said. “I thought I was unable to eat or drink.”

“You can feel the effects of the alcohol since you’ll be working off my energy, so drink up. I’ve pegged you as a light weight so I think two drinks will be enough.”

“But how is this supposed to help?” she asked, frowning.

“Because its job is to help,” I said.

Affairs of the Dead
A.J. Locke

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Etopia Press

Date of Publication: April 19th, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-939194-91-6

Cover Artist: Iris Hunter

Amazon Barnes & Noble All Romance E-books Kobo

Book Description:

Help ghosts, stop a thief, and try not to die…

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible—if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.

But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules

About the Author

A.J. Locke is an author and artist, originally from Trinidad, now residing in New York City. Affairs of the Dead is her debut novel, and other than writing she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, graphic design, and watching too much television.



Twitter: @maqueripe


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