Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jumping Jack Flash--Story behind the story

At a previous publisher, we often worked off a theme where a number of authors contributed a story to a series that extended over some weeks or months of releases. At the time they closed their doors, we'd just begun to consider a group of tales based on the titles of Rolling Stones songs. Unfortunately that did not get off the ground before the firm ceased operation and I set aside the story I had begun for awhile. After I submitted Jack to Changeling, the idea caught on like wildfire.  You can watch for more Set in Stone stories from some of your favorite Changeling authors in the months ahead--right now I think they are running well into 2017 and maybe even farther!

At the start, I'd played around with two or three of my favorite songs and nothing quite gelled. Then I decide to try Jumping Jack Flash as my point of inspiration. Good choice! Very quickly the character that was to be Jack came out of the mists and the first scene, which later became the prologue ,took shape. I knew at once that this was going to be a very special and unusual man!   Then on Facebook I saw an old postcard and that really got me going. Not Jack but...  But who would be his foil and eventually his perfect partner?

Well, next I suddenly saw a guy driving down Central in Phoenix, Arizona. I never actually lived in Phoenix but as a long term resident of Arizona, I had certainly driven up and down that infamous thoroughfare more than a time or two and as an invisible passenger in Doug's red GTO, I started letting him speak to me. He was unhappy and depressed. Why? A user druggie boyfriend had just moved out and although he knew he'd be better off, he was hurt and lonely. Then he saw a carnival on the south side of town--Phoenix was a lot smaller in the early 1970s than today's sprawling mega-city. The next thing I knew, he parked, saw the poster advertising a knife act and was inexplicably drawn to get a ticket and go in.... What ensued is the scene I just shared in the first excerpt.

From that point on the story seemed to pretty much take off on its own. That happens to me a lot. I am a total seat-of-the-pants plotter and shun outlines and their ilk like a bad case of hives. This one threw me curve balls just about every time I put fingers to keyboard! But gosh, it was one fun, wild ride. Before it was over, it had become a prequel to my Thin Green Line rural fantasy stories about the new arm of the U.S. Border Patrol which has been established to resist the most dangerous and unusual aliens ever to invade the USA!

I can't tell you a lot more without giving away far too much and I do not believe in spoilers but I promise you will meet some amazing characters, share some very sizzling scenes between Jack and Doug and encounter some Smurfs-gone-bad critters that are part of the first wave of other-worldly invaders! I had a great deal of fun with this story and I hope my readers will enjoy it, too. There is humor but also plenty of angst, action and adventure. I also have a vague hunch that we may cross paths with Jack and Doug in a future tale as I fill in some of the gaps between Jumping Jack Flash and say, Bonds of the Runes, which released last month as a package of two prior novellas, edited, heated up a tad, and combined so the whole story of Clay Chiles and Arondel Wanderer is available at once. Others of the previously released Thin Green Line stories as well as new ones will be coming along soon. Stay tuned for one more excerpt of this one, an adult level excerpt at that!

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