Tag: Harmless.

Music that sings to me – How music inspired me to deepened the plot and characters in my stories

People ask me all the time what inspired me to write this book, Harmless. A million things did! But amongst all that a few songs really helped me figure out the characters, and come up with some pretty cool twists in the plot.

So, I’ll start from the top… I Won’t Give Up, by Jason Mraz. This-song-is-epic! If Nate (From Harmless) were to tell the story from his point of view, it might sound a little like this song. And I can say, it inspired one of the most anticipated scenes in the book; when Rachel dances with Nate at the community center dance. I wish I could have written the lyrics right into the pages of the book but, you know… due to copyright laws and all that I had to leave it out.

In this song, Jason Mraz asks, “how old is your soul?” Which is a total precursor to what happens later in the story. SPOILER ALERT! Souls are a major thread in the story. They are what makes the world, our world, what is it is. They connect us. They are powerful. And they are infinite. For Nate to ask Rachel, how old is your soul, would be like asking, do you know what’s inside you. DEEP… yes. That’s how I role sometimes.

Back to the song. The singer also says, “you’ve come so far, to be right where you are.” That is not so much a precursor as it is letting on that perhaps Nate knows more about Rachel’s brother’s death and whats going on with her, than he lets on. The character of Nate is this near perfect person with the capacity for so much love and patience. A person that ‘won’t give up’, which is, you guessed it, the name of the song.

I-PixTeller-123329“The skies get rough…” Again, with the foreshadowing to the epic tale that is the Harmless series. Which I wish I could tell you more about! BUT that would take a whole book or two to tell you! A whole book titled MAVENS, and a third book titled TEMPEST to be exact. I’m working on it! I promise! Back to the song, I loved the reference to the ‘skies’ in this song. My character, Rachel Barnes, often refers to her feelings as types of weather; something she picked up from her therapist, aptly named The Weather Lady for describing feeing as meteorological events. For example: My skies are cloudy, could mean that she is in a blah kind of mood.

“learn how to bend with the world caving in.” Another awesome line from this song. Rachel especially needs to learn to bend. Her world has been ‘caving in’ for years and through the pages in this story she learns when to bend and when to have the strength to withstand. Which isn’t always pretty. But life is like that sometimes.

So that’s that song. I’ve attached the YouTube link so you can have a listen.

I won’t give up – Jason Mraz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1-4u9W-bns

Now here is a song for Mason… Let Her Go – by Passenger

Mason; my tortured soul. My bad guy you can’t help but feel for. There are a few lines in this song that helped me shape his character. “Everything you touch surly dies”, if Mason were singing this song, he would be talking about himself here. Not just because that’s how his powers  work to take lives. SORRY… SPOILER. But because he knows what dark lurks inside him.

“You only need the light when its burning low.” This line from the song could be interpreted a few ways. One, Mason sees Rachel as a source of light and goodness. Or when the light burns low in him (his wendigo powers) he feels its depletion. He senses his need for both.

“Only know you love her when you let her go.” This line in the song is what inspired the very last scene in the book; if it had been through Masons eyes and not Rachel’s. For those of you that haven’t read it yet, I won’t totally wreck it for you. But think of this song when you read it.

For me this song was a depiction of Mason’s struggle; the demons within himself, the want to do good, but the justification to be who he is… a wendigo. Once again, a really deep interpretation. But I’m happy to enlighten. I would never get this much detail out in an author interview or podcast.

Here is a link to the song. Have a listen and relieve the story.

Let her go – Passenger
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBumgq5yVrA

There is one last song that made it into the pages of Harmless, Magic Carpet Ride, by Steppenwolf.Blog-PixTeller-123321

The lyrics in this song came into play when Rachel was waiting for the last few minutes of her English class to pass. Mason sneaks this song into her head.

What I like about this song was that it’s an invitation. “You don’t know what we could find. Why don’t you come with me little girl, on a magic carpet ride.” Maybe he wants Rachel to become what he is? Maybe he just sees the world a little bigger than the inside of a grade twelve English class.

Again, a link to the song. Have a listen.

Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4WiyxXpyZc

Well, thanks for reading everyone. I hope I’ve answered some questions and inspired others to take a deeper look at writing and music. If you absolutely must read the book now… you’re in luck! It’s available through the usual channels; Amazon, Barns and Noble, Chapters Indigo, and Kobo.

OR you can obtain a FREE SAMPLE of Harmless on InstaFreebie!Harmless Sample cover

Good read and good writing to you all.

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What's NextI’m beginning to think that blogging about ‘what’s next’ for me has become a form of therapy . An authors world can be a very solitary one. This way I get to tell the world what’s going on with my writing, without annoying my friends by talking about it too much. Wait… I talk about it too much with my friends anyway.

So here’s where I’m at…

I’ve written a great book – at least a few people think so. I’ve had beta readers pour over it, and an editor too. And I’m putting the final touches on my manuscript before I send it for another round of substantive edits and formatting. Which will probably end up taking another six months  to complete. After it goes in to editing again I can kick back and relax… OR NOT! Writing and publishing a book doesn’t actually stop at writing and publishing a book. At least not for me. My wheels are always turning. So, What’s Next?Harmless_JustFrontCover_Final

I’ve started working on a book trailer! Well, to be more specific, I’ve hired two exquisitely talented professionals to collaborate with on the making of a book trailer. So far, I’m blown away! It looks like it could be a movie trailer and we’re only doing rough cuts so far. Once again, I marvel at the talented friends that surround me.

Here are some great book trailers I found online of books I’ve read.

Paper towns Johns Green

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm6fB_nS_3k&index=15&list=PLF5316EC25DD56E15

The Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UbsNfwkZwk&list=PLF5316EC25DD56E15&index=30

Mosquitoland By David Arnold

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s8CjoO-8pU&list=PLF5316EC25DD56E15&index=31

The Fifth Wave By Rick Yancey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpmIjDo3B1s&list=PLF5316EC25DD56E15&index=69

Eve By Anna Carey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hthpbmUcn7A&list=PLF5316EC25DD56E15&index=218

Audio books?

I haven’t started on any audio book version of my book yet but I’ve been pondering it. Would an audience that reads my book, buy audio books? My book is YA, perhaps leaning a little most towards the older people in that spectrum. Are those people audio book buyers? Lots to think about.

Another thing I need to wrap my head around is a concrete marketing strategy. I’m finding this hard, but not impossible. The most difficult part of this is committing to trade shows, signing, events, etc., without knowing the exact release date of my book. Patience Katherine…

logoMy website content and upkeep keeps me busy as well. I have three main categories I concentrate on; guest blogging, author interviews, and my blogs. Content is key for a good website. I like the guest blogging and author interviews the most. I get to meet writers like myself, promote them while getting great content, and build a network of like-minded people. I’m always looking for new bloggers and writers. Drop me a line if an interview or guest blogging interests you.

Good content on my site, leads to good content in my Twitter feed. There are a few other places like Goodreads and Facebook where I have profiles, but Twitter is my main social media. In an effort to increase my Twitter following read a ‘how to’ book the other day. It’s strategies on how to unravel the mysteries of Twitter are coming in handy with build my author platform.

Another project I’ve started, related to my novel Harmless is a graphic novel prequel. I write and my artist Bri draws. She is the same artist I use for all my promotional materials, book cover, and book trailer. I have high hopes to turn this prequel in to a series as well. Here are a few rough sketches Bri has come up with so far.

So yeah… That’s what’s next for me. I’ll keep you all updated on the progress!

Good reading and good writing to all of you!

Katherine (34)

Katherine

So I’ve written a book! Now all I need is a book cover that sums up the whole thing in just one image. Ha! A lot easier said then done, as many of you might know.

I had an idea in my head of what I wanted for my cover but didn’t have the talent to do it myself. So, having worked in the media industry, I reconnected with a former coworker to help me out. After explaining my story, my friend Brianna Schretlen signed on for the challenge. She’d never done a novel cover before but hey, neither had I. Her years of graphic design knowledge shone through with ever draft she produced. Some of you  have seen my finished cover but I wanted to show how that cover came to be.

For starters, it defiantly helped  the whole cover design process that my Brianna read my book not once, but twice. (That’s dedication for you!) We both agreed that the cover should depict as least one of the white spirit animals talked about in the book. There was a white deer, white bear and a white crow. The animal associated most  with the main character was the white deer.

Here are a few of her first drafts. Although beautiful, they did not make the cut.

Harmless covers 004Harmless covers 002Harmless covers 009Harmless covers 010Harmless covers 001Harmless covers 008

 

I loved the images of the white deer, the contrast between black and white, and the silhouette of a faded totem pole.  Figuring out how to put all those images together was another challenge. So back to the drawing board!

Round two of cover design.

Upside down deerDeer with totem brown footerDeer legsDeer in the forest

Sticking with the deer theme, Bri come up with these covers . The upside down deer was a little to ‘Hitchcock’. The full face was really nice but, I didn’t like the shading on it’s face. Cover three didn’t do much for me. And cover four, it was nice but a little dark and busy.

So, round three… The final cover! A seamless integration of the white deer, shadow and hint of a totem. I also like  it’s monochromatic  color scheme with it’s eyes matching the color of the title. I  can’t wait to see it wrapped around 400 pages of YA fiction!

Harmless_JustFrontCover_Final

Brianna is now working on my kiosk displays, promotional materials, illustrating the graphic novel prequel to Harmless, and the Harmless book trailer. I’d recommend her to any author looking for polished professional images for their books.