Sunday, January 8, 2017

Welcome, Marcia Carrington!

Today I have the pleasure of having author, Marcia Carrington, on my blog with a special post about writing a sequel.  

Welcome, Marcia! 

The Joy of Writing a Sequel

Marcia Carrington

Thank you so much, Jan, for the opportunity to discuss something I recently experienced whilst writing my latest release. In 2014 I released a short story entitled MAN ON A MOTORBIKE, which was about a young woman reminiscing about her marriage to her late husband, and how an encounter with a motorbike rider brought out her feelings and thoughts which had been dormant for several years.

In looking back at the inspiration for the story, the 1969 Peter Fonda film EASY RIDER was one of the things which I used as a starting point, as my book’s characters (like myself) loved the film, but my book deviated thereafter, as it concerned a newlywed couple. To be honest, in this case, like in many of my other books, I cannot say exactly where the romance of Linda and Clay originated, but I knew I wanted to create a short story with multiple flashbacks, and that contained a character who was a biker.

Being one of my personal favorite stories, with MAN ON A MOTORBIKE I always felt there was more that I could mine from the material of this first part, and this had gnawed away at me for quite a while. This first part was only 4,000 words, and I knew I wanted to explore the characters in a longer format at some stage in the future.

In 2015 I began to plan a sequel to the original story, entitled SILAS SAVAGE. Silas Savage is the name of the biker whom Linda, the story’s heroine, finally meets in this second part. Proceeding with a sequel was not daunting in any way, in fact, it felt like a liberating experience for me. To be able to delve deeper into the story, elaborating upon incidents in MAN ON A MOTORBIKE which I touched upon in the first part did make sense for me. There is always a sense of trepidation with the writing of every story, and I very much wanted it to be a worthy sequel to the first part weighed a little on me, but I was happy with the final result.

Apart from readers meeting the elusive Silas Savage at long last, his appearance in the first book being more of a cameo role, the opportunity to present Linda’s nouveau former mother-in-law, Azalea, was fun for me. In this case, I explored a plot issue I had briefly mentioned in book one, whereby Linda’s in-laws had largely abandoned her, and the impact this had on Linda was detailed in the second book. In a related point, I also expanded the role of Linda’s parents, Annette and Mac, who due to the length of the first book, were given limited exposure. In SILAS SAVAGE, their role is more of a subtle, gentle Greek chorus, in stark contrast to Azalea’s haughty shenanigans.

The joy of writing a sequel to MAN ON A MOTORBIKE not only gave me the chance to tie up its loose ends and plot points but also, bring the story to a close, intimating further adventures of the characters, thereby leaving something to the imagination for the reader to interpret as they wish. In a manner, the story is finished technically, but as in life, the characters do go on with their lives. My aim was that this was presented clearly, making readers use their own take on what happens after the book ends on their particular reading device. Here is an excerpt from SILAS SAVAGE from chapter one:

“Linda dear, where would you like to put this vase?” Annette asked, showing her daughter an ornament. Linda was packing some items into a carton, and turned towards her mother.
“Over here in this box mom,” Linda said, as Annette moved towards Linda. Carefully wrapping the vase in clear bubble wrap, and applying some sticky tape, Annette placed it gently into the box. Linda sighed deeply, and bit her lips. “It was Joshua’s very first artwork from school; he was so happy when he brought it home that day,” Linda said, looking at the item in remembrance. “He wanted to be an artist someday, but…” Linda’s voice trailed off, as Annette approached her daughter.

“Yes, I know, it’s very beautiful,” Annette said, keenly observing the flower vase which was painted in a bright red on the top, and blue on the bottom half. “He was a joyous boy, so giving, so much more mature than his age,” Annette said, tears beginning to fall from her eyes. Linda stroked the vase, her hand combing the glossy surface through the bubble wrap, and shook her head.

“I miss him so much mom, he was my little man after Clay died; always standing up for me, helping me how he could…” Linda said, breathing hard, and trying to compose herself as much as possible. It had been just a year since little Joshua was accidentally run over after leaving the school bus that rainy afternoon, but for Linda, it was as if it happened yesterday. The shrill sound of the ambulance sirens flooded her head, this noise one Linda could not remove from her mind for a long time.

“I know honey,” Annette said, taking Linda’s hands, as their eyes traveled to both Joshua and Clay’s gold-framed photos which were on the cabinet opposite. “We have our memories to comfort us, never forget that. What we experienced with them we will cherish in our hearts forever,” Annette said, as Linda entered her ready embrace, staying there for a few minutes. The house had been eerily empty for Linda since the passing of her two men, its silence becoming more rampant especially since Joshua’s death. Linda moved away from her mother, and peered into her comforting blue eyes.

“Thanks, mom.”

“For what honey?”

Linda sighed, and shook her head.

“For being here when I really need it, you know,” Linda said, as Annette smiled wistfully at her daughter, drying her tears with a tissue from her dress pocket.

“You don’t have to thank me, I really think it’s the best thing for you to come back with us…we need you at home,” Annette said, as Linda nodded. “We’re not as young as we used to be, and, certain things will just be easier with you around.”

“Same here mom,” Linda said, whooping in and hugging her mother again, who squealed in delight when the doorbell sounded, interrupting the serene atmosphere. Annette and Linda looked at each other in confusion. The chime of the doorbell again reverberated, indicating someone impatient was at the door.

“Expecting anyone honey?”

“No,” Linda said, eyes running everywhere.

“I can open to see,” Annette said, as Linda hummed her agreement.

“Thanks mom, I don’t feel like speaking to anyone,” Linda said, as Annette touched her daughter on the shoulder, brushing her cotton blouse, and moved over to the door. Annette’s mouth fell open when she saw who was on the other side of the security door.

Azalea,” Annette said, as Linda’s head jacked up abruptly, doing a double-take.

“So the mother-in-law is back,” Linda said, biting her lips, her heart pounding frantically.

Marcia has written other books as well:

From Jan:  I loved hearing about your books, Marcia, and enjoyed the excerpt. I'll have to investigate further (via Amazon). Thank you for being here today. You know I love reading and anything pertaining to writing, so please come back again and catch us up with regards to your latest project.  

Here's a short bio for Marcia: 

Marcia Carrington writes about the human condition, exploring what makes people tick, but in an upbeat and optimistic tone. She is an interested observer of popular culture, and fan of cinema from all eras and countries, especially from the 1930-1970s. Marcia is a long-time soap opera viewer, watching daytime, and night time serials from a very young age.

Marcia is also a food connoisseur, with a particular love of chocolate, and coffee. The morning coffee has always been a staple for Marcia, and something which she cannot do without. There is just something about the fresh aroma of coffee early in the morning, and anytime for that fact, which proves irresistible to her.

Marcia Carrington's Links: 

MAN ON A MOTORBIKE - buy links:

SILAS SAVAGE - buy links:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the chance to guest post on your blog Jan, it was fun to look back on my books, and an opportunity to sit back and see them in another light.