Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guest Blog Post by Author Serena Chase

As part of the EYES OF E'VERIA blog tour Serena Chase agreed to do a guest post on My Favorite Pastime:

Serena's Bio:

Serena Chase is the author of the Eyes of E’veria series (The Ryn, March 2013 and The Remedy, April 2013.) She lives in Iowa with her husband Dave, daughters Delaney & Ellerie, and a very ornery goldendoodle named Albus. She is hard at work following random trails toward the completion of the third book in the series, due to release in 2014.)

Words from Serena: 

All Tangled Up in World’s Largest Ball of Twine
(and other dangers and exultations of writing by the seat of your pants)
by Serena Chase

I am a little in awe of my author friends (okay, a lot in awe!) whose creative process includes detailed outlines, but whose finished product can still bring me to tears or laughter. I don’t really write that way, and being the emotional rollercoaster that I am, I can’t imagine how I could ever seriously outline *shudders* and still produce a scene that would result with a deep emotional response in a reader.  I’m what you might call an “organic writer” or a “pantser”—someone who writes by the seat of my pants. And it’s a pretty messy business. 

My outlining friends have a method to their madness. All I have is . . . madness. Yes, I’m the nutjob who stares at the blank computer screen with only a vague notion of where I want the story to go, but no bloomin’ idea of how I’m going to get there. It’s a little like setting out on a vacation with friends you don’t really know that well yet, with no map, no GPS, and only “Oh, I don’t know. California, I guess? Or somewhere like California?” as the destination. 

So, you start driving. You know that to reach California (or somewhere like California) you have to go west and a little south, so you head that direction. Pretty soon, one of the characters along for the ride shouts, “Did you see that sign? Next exit is the National Mustard Museum! We should totally check that out!” 

Everyone agrees, so you take the exit and pretty soon you’re laughing and having a pretty good time in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin because, hey, you just happened to show up on the day the city held its Annual Festival and there is all kinds of stuff to see and do in this Place-You-Never-Even-Knew-Existed. But just as you’re about to find out how a cracker tastes when dipped in cranberry-caramel mustard, the sky darkens—it goes a little green—and the crowd hushes just in time for the tornado sirens to go off.

You look at your traveling companions, wondering, “Can we make it out alive? Will we be forced to leave someone behind?” And then The Loud One, the One Who Must Be Heard, speaks a crazy sort of reason against the pounding beat of your heart, “We’re strangers here,” he says, “and the Beast of Doom knows it! We can outrun it! I know we can!” And because The Loud One is right more than he is wrong, and because the first hard, slapping drops of rain are hitting your face, you realize there is no other option: you must flee Mustard Town to survive.

Finally, you make it back to the interstate, the beast loses your trail, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. After you take a moment to make sure you’re still headed either south or west, you turn up the radio and, with California (or someplace like California) in mind, you set off again.

And so it goes. Every once in a while, you pause at a scenic overlook to take in a spectacular sunset, or you get a flat tire in a creepy wooded area, or you glance in the rearview mirror to find two of the characters traveling with you are beginning to make googly eyes at each other when they think the other one isn’t looking. As the road unfurls toward your vaguely defined destination, you may pull off a lonely stretch of road to take everyone’s picture by a random sculpture of a giant pumpkin.
You could find yourself and your companions tangled up in World’s Largest Ball of Twine. You may be forced to leave someone behind. But, eventually, you realize you are having the time of your life and a story has emerged and . . . you have become deeply in love with each and every character on the journey with you.

That is how I write. Sometimes it involves laughter, sometimes tears. Other moments find me simply amazed at how clever—or stupid—these characters I love can be.

I have wonderful professional relationships—even friendships!—with many left-brained, organized authors, but I’m pretty sure that if they spent even one day observing my process they might end up screaming, tearing at their hair, and running away. Like I said, it’s messy. 

And for the record, yes, I do tend to road trip in the same way I write; and, yes, I do often urge my family to “pull off at the next exit!” to see something odd or strange that might make for a good story to add to family lore. I have yet to experience the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, but I have taken pictures by The Great Pumpkin and I have been forced to flee a severe storm shortly after visiting the National Mustard Museum simply because a billboard alongside of the road made me laugh and sparked my curiosity. I mean, an entire museum dedicated to . . . mustard? That I gotta see . . .

Julie at My Favorite Pastime: 

Thanks so much Serena for sharing! I think I might like to be traveling in your car sometime as it sounds very adventurous! Well, maybe not if we have to flee from a severe storm, or leave someone behind...
I think seeing that World's Largest Ball of Twine needs to be on your bucket list! 

Giveaway Time:

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  1. Thanks for this great giveaway! I have been hearing nothing but good things about these books and I really want to read them!

    1. You're in for a treat Abbi when you do read them! I was hooked from the first book The Ryn :)

    2. So glad you entered the giveaway, Abbi! Good luck!

  2. Pick ME ME ME ME ME!!! I want to read these books thanks to your recommendation. Thanks for the giveaway. I loved Serena's post. Nice to know that some people can write by the seat of their pants and still produce quality work. It is so interesting to see how authors put together their work. You are awesome!!! I love and miss you soooooo much Julie!!!!

    1. Karin!!! Love and miss you too my friend! This blogging stuff is all your fault! Thanks for teaching me how to use technology! :) And I too loved Serena's post. I had no doubt when I started reading The Ryn that it would be good from reading all of Serena's posts on the blog she shares with Joy at Edgy Inspirational Romance, she definitely has a knack!

    2. Love your enthusiasm, Karin! Good luck and thanks for reading my crazy post! ;)

  3. Ha! Remind me never to take a road trip with Serena! I'm the traveler who has every detail of a vacation planned right down to the exits we'll make pit stops at (with back-up plans in case something goes wrong along the way).

    However there is no doubt a genius in your nuttiness, so although I may never climb into your car, I will gladly climb into your stories and hang on for the ride.

    1. I too am a planner Joy. It would freak me out to get off the beaten track and not know where I'm going! BUT, being with someone that has a wonderful sense of adventure might be fun too ;)

      Thanks for stopping by Joy!

  4. How did you come up with the idea for this story? It is amazing! :)

    1. Hi Lisa! I think you will have to go to Serena's blog and follow through the blog tour to find out how she came up with the idea for her story. I believe someone asked her that in one of the interviews that she did. Check out her blog and the one that she shares with Joy at: http://www.edgyinspirationalromance.com/2013/05/eyes-of-everia-blog-tour-giveaway-books.html

      Thanks for stopping by!