Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Guest Blogger Maia Strong - Symbiosis

Hello, folks! First off, big thanks to the Naughty Nine for being such lovely hosts! It's nice to hang out in someone else's backyard once in awhile. I even brought drinks to share. :-)

I was torn about what to write for this blog post. I could talk about how I build my worlds (make it up as I go and try to make sure it's at least remotely viable). Or how I develop my characters (make it up as I go and try to listen when they tell me I'm wrong). Or my routine (make it up as I go, and write whenever I can squeeze in the time).

Are you sensing a theme?

I thought you might.

And in the end, it really all boils down to the writing process. Mine, as far as it can be called a process, follows this general pattern:

"Oh! That's a new character in my head! I like him/her. I wonder what universe s/he belongs in?"

"Oh! That character belongs in this universe. I wonder why."

"Oh! That's the story s/he needs to tell! I suppose I ought to write it now."

There can be huge gaps between each of those discoveries of character, world, and story, of course, but the stages are that simple. The complicated part, once I have all three, is the actual writing and storytelling. The part where I have to listen when my characters talk, and figure out what they're hiding when they don't. And sometimes I have to let go of where I think a story needs to go and let the characters take me along for the ride.

This is what happened with the most recent book I contracted with Torquere Press (http://www.torquerebooks.com), Rose & Thorn. I had my boys, Eamon and Jasper (neither of whom, by the way, started out with those names). I had my universe; I've been writing in it for a long time and it was definitely where these two belonged. I knew they were actors who were hot for each other while at the same time competing for a job. What I found out along the way was that the company they wanted to work for was cursed, and that someone was stealing from it. Oh and that there was this really cute girl named HJ who worked there whom both of them sort of fancied. That was when my usual m/m erotic fantasy romance got the added tags of mystery and m/m/f ménage. (Could I possibly have more subgenres? I asked myself. Only if I added shape-shifters or clockwork robots, and that was not going to happen. This time, anyway.)

Despite this change from my norm, I let the story take me where it needed to go. I figured out the curse and the theft right along with my heroes and heroine. Sometimes I'd point them where they needed to go; sometimes they led me. Writing is a solitary and yet oddly symbiotic process for me, and I've found the best, and hardest, thing to do is learn to get out of my own way.

Here's a bit of blurbage for you about Rose & Thorn:

Eamon Quinn is an actor with designs on a position with Rose & Thorn Theatrics. As a new university graduate, he's up to the acting challenge, but he's not so sure he's up to facing life in the big city. Fortunately, he quickly finds a friend in Jasper Davison. Jasper is intrigued by Eamon, sure that he's a fellow mountain-born soul, and that's something Jasper's been missing in coastal Yanuk. When both men are hired by Rose & Thorn, the kindred spirits soon become lovers--and catch the eye of the company's head apprentice, troupe musician, and animal wrangler, the pretty and precocious HJ Greenhills.

Bad luck plagues the theatre--accidents, injuries, and a sudden death--leading to rumors of a curse. Weaving sexual energy with Druid magic, Eamon and Jasper seek the truth behind the rumors. But confirming the curse is only the first hurdle. They need figure out who cast it and how to end it before it causes more harm. Even together, the two men aren't strong enough. Druid magic works best in threes, and so they seek HJ's help to lift the curse. The three put their bodies and energies together to call up the magic they need to set things right.

I'd love to give you a cover and a release date, but this is a brand new contract so I don't have either of those yet. I do hope you won't mind waiting, though, and that you'll pop over to my own blog once in a while to see if I've posted updates. I will post them, of course. The only question is when.

In the meantime, here's the pretty, pretty cover of my latest novella (also from Torquere Press), Compass Hearts. If you want to learn a little about the world of Rose & Thorn, this book will give you a few hints.

Maia Strong lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two wonderful kitties. When not working on writing, she can be found working in theatre, both onstage and off. She can also be found rock climbing and belly dancing -- although not at the same time. She likes maple bars, lemon bars, and snickerdoodles, but a good soy latté trumps all three.




Meg Benjamin said...

Hi Maia, welcome to the Naughty 9. Rose & Thorn looks great. Okay, I'm ready for my drink now. :-)

Kate Davies said...

Meg, you're going to LOVE Rose and Thorn. It's an awesome book - and a great intro to Maia's worldbuilding, which is also fabulous.

Maia, loved reading about your process. I've been privy to some of it, but it was really interesting to see it laid out like that. Whatever you're doing, it's working, so keep it up!

Hayley said...

Maia, I was introduced to your work when Kate recommended 'False Dawn' to me, and I've got to say, 'Rose & Thorn' sounds fantastic! I'll definitely be checking for updates.

Maia Strong said...

Meg - Sorry I'm late. Crazy day! *hands over a margarita* Here you go. It's a double. I know I could use one. ;)

Kate - Thanks, babe! That means a lot coming from you. You know I admire your work so much. xoxo

Hayley - Right on! I hope you enjoyed False Dawn. Totally different world from my usual, but it was great fun to visit. I'm hoping to go back there one of these days. :)

Juniper Bell said...

Maia, welcome! I am more than ready for that drink. LOL. I love hearing about the different processes writers use. I always learn something. Rose & Thorn sounds fascinating, I can't wait for its release ... whenever it is. Thanks for stopping by!

Maia Strong said...

Thanks, Juniper! It was great to visit, and before I go away, mojitos for everyone! ;-D

PG Forte said...

Ooh, the book sounds great, Maia. Looking forward to it!

Maia Strong said...

Thanks, PG! I hope you like it when it finally comes out. (I say 'finally' because I've had the ms completed since late 2007. ... OMG! It's taken that long to find it a home?! Oy.)