Today, (as I explore the island of Maui) I have a guest post from author Terri Tiffany. I met Terri 6 years ago (time sure goes fast) when I was blogging at my other place, Connecting Stories. I’ve always been inspired by Terri’s writing and her tenacity! She’s also an excellent photographer and she picked up guitar around the same time that I purchased my first one! I’d say we were meant to connect. Her first novel, The Mulligan, was lovely and I’m looking forward to reading her latest release, The Bend. Enjoy, my friends.
Ever receive a challenge in the middle of the night?
Two years ago, I opened a fresh document and typed one sentence: “She was perfect.”
My tenth novel. Would this be the one I’d free myself to let go and write the story I wanted to write? Until that time, my novels always carried a hint of people and situations I knew first-hand. I had never pushed myself to write a story from pure imagination.
The Bend became that challenge.
But first I needed a main character with a trait most people don’t have. Since my hobby is photography, I gave Kate Snow that occupation. With a twist. She could see details in her photographs other people couldn’t. Then I needed a place where her gift, curse or blessing, might transform her and those around her. The town of Bend became reality. I also wanted the town to come alive as much as my characters. That’s why I called it The Bend instead of Bend. It’s a place most of us wouldn’t want to spend a night.
It wasn’t easy for me to create a story purely from my imagination but once I introduced Seth, the reporter, the story took off because I knew my pair of main characters would play off each other perfectly. He was intent on persuing strong goals of his own and reminded me of that person who wants to get ahead in life—no matter the cost to others—but with one endearing trait—he soon cared about Kate.
Finally, I needed one more twist—a character who would threaten every normal facet Kate and Seth believed about life.
Meet The Trainer
Again I needed to dig deep inside myself to unbury this character. I write clean suspense. The challenge to make The Trainer believable without all the gore hit me every day as I opened my computer. With amazing help from my critique partners, beta readers, and editor, he took shape.
What did I learn from writing this novel? Never be afraid of the stories in my head and to feel free to challenge myself to write without worrying that someone will quiet that voice that wakes me in the night.
And most of all, my desire is God will do with the story as He wishes
It’s that final part that keeps me writing. Already, I have seen Him use The Bend in a positive way and it isn’t published yet.
My challenge for you: Are you writing what God puts in your heart or are you following the crowd? Are you writing what is popular or the story that wakes you at night?
I might never write another book like The Bend but I’m happy I did. This story gave back to me the thrill I experienced when I wrote my first story in fifth grade. Bringing The Bend to life through publication gives me hope that others might get excited to write their middle-of-the night story too.
The Bend releases on February 17, however you can