he dying body has a thousand voices, and all of them speak to Conrad (Rad) Sanders. Fifteen-year-old Lisa Duncan has no idea she has attracted Rad’s interest. At a mountain resort in Utah, he watches as vivacious Lisa begins an unlikely friendship with Lu Jakes, the strange and introverted daughter of employees there. Lu enters his fantasies as well. He learns she is being abused by her stepmother and toys with the notion of freeing her from her sad life and keeping her awhile as his captive. Lu seems like an easy conquest who could be persuaded to act out his fantasy by turning against her new friend.
But someone else is watching over Lu.
Talion appears to Lu as an angelic vision. He offers her love and counsel, the courage to defend herself from bullies at school and a way to free herself from her stepmother’s violence. He seems to know beforehand what will happen. But Talion’s true nature is unclear. His guidance leads Lu into dark places, moving her inevitably closer to the world inhabited by Rad. When she and Lisa are thrust into that darkness, will Talion come to her aid? Or will he become the killer’s ally?
Visit the tour page: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2010/10/10/talion-virtual-book-tour-november-december-2010/
Welcome to Paperback Writer.
Thank you for inviting me.
Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
Talion has a complex history. It began as the story of a friendship between two girls, teenagers from different backgrounds who seem to have nothing in common. The resulting novella was a character study in which nothing much happened, so I invented a dangerous stalker, an outside force to act as a catalyst. This character, Rad, became more important to the story than I intended at first. In the end I wrote a suspense/thriller with a serial killer.
Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
Ideas come to me in a flash. I see the character and the arc of his or her journey and feel the emotion that gives them meaning. Then I construct the story that recreates the arc. What I write seldom matches my first inspiration – though it did happen once. I wrote a short story called “Mandarian Training School” based on my experience in a college summer program for high-school students gifted in math. After finishing it I went for a long run, buoyed by this wonderful euphoria. I kept thinking, “Yes, it’s right!” At one point I was crying. The wind tried my tears. It was like being in a corny movie about a writer.
But I planned “Mandarian Training School” with a complete outline before writing the first draft.
Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
I always have an end in mind, but occasionally a story takes a direction I don’t expect. In a character-driven story that’s usually a good thing. In a plot-driven story it leads to complications. A thriller has to be carefully plotted, but if the characters are alive, they have the potential to do the unexpected.
Do you have a process for developing your characters?
Nothing methodical. I think about my characters and jot down little notes about them. As I write the story, they come to life in my imagination. If I’m away from a story for a while, I have to work on bringing them back.
It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
No matter how different a character is from me, I have to provide the core – the thing that motivates him or her. The serial killer Rad in Talion is nothing like me. He’s a sadist. I despise people who deliberately inflict suffering on other beings. The essential part of me despises Rad. To create his character, I had to research the psychology and behavior of sexual sadists then find within myself the emotions that drive him. Rage. The desperate need for control. Rad hates the schoolmates who bullied him and against whom he was defenseless. He hates his mother, who leaned on him emotionally throughout his childhood. Though she never touched him in a sexual way, Rad is intelligent enough to understand the incestuous subtext of her behavior.
What is your most favorite part about this book?
The relationship between my protagonist, Lu, and Talion, the luminous being invisible to everyone but her. There’s an erotic current between Lu and Talion, and it’s more than subtext.
When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
The story has undergone several incarnations. When I completed the one called Secret Father, I found an agent.
What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
Things didn’t work out with the agent. He asked me to rewrite the novel with an adult protagonist rather than the teenage Lu. I did my best with the rewrite, but just couldn’t give up Lu. I allowed her to highjack the story from my adult protagonist. As a result, the revision was unfocused and too long.
What has been the best part about being published?
Recently Talion got a terrific review. The kind writers dream of. The reviewer understands and appreciates what I’m doing in the novel. And he’s a skilled and stylish writer so his remarks are altogether convincing. Praise is gratifying. Of course there’s the flip side. Some readers will dislike the novel, and say so. But whenever readers tell me they enjoyed Talion, I’m thrilled.
What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
I want them to keep wondering what Talion really is – and why he has come into Lu’s life.
Do you have plans to write another book?
I’m working on a series of suspense novels with a museum curator as the protagonist. In the first book, Darkroom, she takes in a free-spirited photographer who disappears under sinister circumstances.
Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?
It’s been exciting so far. Jaime McDougall, my tour coordinator, has been encouraging, helpful, and professional. At this point I don’t know how much the virtual book tour will increase sales of Talion. My experience has been that even my small, uncoordinated efforts at promotion have led to small bumps in sales. Getting my book out there, visible to thousands of potential readers, can only help. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the process.
Where can readers find a copy of your book?
Talion is available as a trade paperback at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. It’s also available as a Kindle book in Amazon’s Kindle store.
Do you have a website for readers to go to?
My Web site is www.marymaddox.com
Thank you, Mary, for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have a successful virtual book tour.