I’ve always been a daydreamer, creating stories in my head on the fly, in moments of boredom, to entertain toddlers, to help me fall asleep. Discovering that I could actually write them down was a revelation, although developing the craft to make them accessible and enjoyable to others was a long and arduous journey.
For years most of my creations sat unread on hard drives and in boxes. But about two years ago, something happened to my writing. It was like a switch flipping. Like finding a path in the woods. I found a way to let the story and characters flow downhill (and uphill!) without getting bogged down in dead-ends and back eddies of exposition. Thus, I’ve finally reached a point where I think it’s worthwhile turning some of my work loose on people.
What’s your story about?
My story is about a man named Frank Bowen, MD, who lets a sudden and unexpected trauma derail his life. Years later he gets it back on track in the most curious way – by traveling to a parallel world. He’s a mission doctor working in Belize when his wife disappears under mysterious circumstances. He never remarries.
He roams the world working in various failed states (Somalia, Congo) for various international aid organizations, making occasional pilgrimages to his wife’s ‘grave.’ In the Chiqibul wilderness of Belize. On one of those visits, he is ambushed and abducted. Turns out, the militias of another world use earth as a conduit between battlefields, exiling or executing any resident of earth who blunders onto their secret.
Frank is lucky enough to be exiled, realizing that what just happened to him might very well be what had happened to his wife, Liz all those years ago. He embarks on a quest to find her traces, his task complicated by an invasion and siege from a powerful nation without access (yet) to the portals known as ‘xenoliths’.
Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
A desire to escape inspired this story. I began writing this at a time when I was very much in a rut,socially, emotionally and occupationally and very much wanted to be far away from the small upstate New York town I was living in. The seed of the story was a very special stone – a wild-looking iridescent chalcopyrite (a sort of fool’s gold) – that I spotted in the window of a local rock and mineral shop. Someone else bought the stone before I could, but its image haunted me and eventually turned into XENOLITH.
Do you have any future plans for more books?
I have one other complete novel (LETHE, an afterlife novel about a dysfunctional Purgatory (God as absentee landlord) which I wrote before XENOLITH and I think has some of my best ideas and visions). What’s keeping it back is a complete change from first to third person and a switch in gender of the major character (necessary to amp up the tension). I have yet another novel outlined and begun, but first XENOLITH is beckoning me back (forcing me!) to complete a sequel before I can move on to these other projects. I’m about 50,000 words into this sequel, tentatively titled ANABASIS.
What advice do you have for people who want to be writers but dare not take the first step?
Take the plunge! Start out with very small goals at first. One sentence. Two. Any word you get down on pixels or paper will probably lead to another, even if you think you’re ‘blocked.’. Move on to flash fiction or shreds and sketches of larger works. The only way to get better is to write and rewrite lots of material. Quantity definitely matters in becoming a better writer. And don’t be afraid to be brutal to your own writing. Don’t be satisfied with the merely adequate.
Arcadia’s book is available at Smashwords which can be downloaded free with coupon code: XY39L. Do drop by to check her book out~!
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