Incubus you say? Now that’s a demon you might forgo taking to bed. 🙂
Today we have Bill Blais, author of No Good Deed, sharing with us a bit out his writing. I’m so lovin’ this cover art!
Kelly McGinnis has spent her adult life trying to do the right thing, but as a newly down-sized mother of twins and the wife of a man living with Muscular Sclerosis, she also knows that trying isn’t always enough.
While interrupting a scene of police brutality, Kelly unwittingly releases a real, live demon. After she manages to kill the creature through gut instinct and blind luck, she is approached to join a secret group of demon hunters who reveal an underworld of monsters and magic. Kelly’s mill town upbringing proves an unexpected asset and the pay more than covers her husband’s treatments, but the work begins to undermine her sense of right and wrong as she struggles to maintain her ‘normal’ life.
When she encounters Umber, a compelling incubus with an unexpectedly human story, Kelly learns that the truth is far stranger and more terrifying than she imagined.
And now a few words from Bill Blais!
Creating Stories with Hard Truths
Author Bill Blais opens up writing stories where he places his characters against some tough odds and why it’s necessary to do so.
I tend to put my characters into some pretty difficult situations, psychologically as well as physically, so I also have to find a way to get them out. In most cases, the difficult situations come from the characters themselves (through their choices, fears and desires), rather than from some deliberate choice on my part (when I’m doing well, anyway). Similarly, the characters have to get themselves out of a given situation; my job is to keep my eyes and ears open and stay out of the way.
Note that I said ‘in most cases’, earlier. There are still plenty of cases where I intentionally reach well out of the characters’ experience to find a difficulty. I consider this the ‘life happens’ principle, like being rear-ended in the parking lot by a teenager texting on their cell phone, or the call you get from your brother on a perfect Sunday summer afternoon telling you your mother has just had a heart attack. No matter how prepared we think we are, life will prove us wrong.
However, since my lies are best when based upon truths, these ‘life happens’ difficulties usually echo some element in my own life, whether directly or indirectly. This is the case with the Multiple Sclerosis that Kelly’s husband Shawn has. While it served a purpose in the plot of the story (giving her a believable reason to give the idea of demon hunting a chance), it also stems from some personal experience with long-term illnesses I’ve had the questionable luck to share.
Having a personal connection tends to make writing about that situation both easier and harder — easier, because it is familiar; harder, well, for the same reason. In both cases, however, it compels me to be honest with the situation, neither sugarcoating nor exaggerating it to suit a particular plot point. To do so would not only undermine the believability of the story, it would also be a slap in the face to those with such difficulties, which is something I cannot do.
As for overcoming such difficulties, the unfortunate fact is — as many of those in such situations know — that it’s very often less about ‘overcoming’ the illness than it is about finding a way to still live one’s life. This is by no means a positive or even satisfying answer, but this is real heroism.
Thanks to Reena for having me here today and thanks to you for reading!