You know those stories where every one of the main characters go through hell and all come out alive? Sure you do. The writer puts the hero and his/her sidekick,...
Now, let’s make something clear. I’m a writer. Horror, sci-fi, fantasy. It’s my job to kill people. So please, don’t start sending the police or FBI my way.
Over the years, I’ve written a lot of stories and novels where people die. Sometimes lots of people. Often in gruesome ways. But that’s how things go, especially when you write dark fiction.
So it came as kind of a shock to me when I finished my most recent novel and realized my body count was so low it was almost non-existent.
A first for me.
Not that I’ve never written anything where everyone lives in the end. I have. It’s just not common. Especially in a novel-length work.
Now, if you’ve read the title of this blog, you’ll know that the body count won’t be zero. Ya gotta kill a few people. But I did really go easy, and there’s no blood and guts scenes.
And before anyone asks, it’s not because this is a YA science fiction novel. YA doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to blood. Or sex. Or language. Not anymore. As long as it wouldn’t get more than an R rating in a movie, it’s fit for YA readers. And in some cases, that R can be a real hard R.
No, the reason I didn’t up the death count this time around is because it wasn’t appropriate for the story I was telling. My heroine isn’t a violent person, isn’t a ninja or a space cadet or the daughter of a secret agent. She’s not a psychopath. She’s just a kid, an average teenager who goes to school, does her best to ignore the bullies and the haters, and spends time with her family and her girlfriend.
Until a bad thing happens. Then her whole life, to use a very over-used phrase, gets turned inside out and upside down. Except in her case, that’s literal. She gets struck by lightning and starts to develop weird powers, including the ability to see different wavelengths and even move back and forth through space and time. Some shady military folk find out, and we’re off!
I could have turned this into a paranormal military novel, with Chloe (my main character) transforming into a super-soldier and blasting away hordes of enemies. But I wanted to focus more on Chloe trying to stay normal, to just be a girl. That’s the real interesting story, at least to me. She’s already going through so much as a teenager – graduating high school, dealing with a relationship that’s confusing to her family, trying to walk that line between doing what’s right and rebelling against all the authority in her life. She’s on that cusp between girl and young woman, and it’s a perplexing time. Add to that the physical changes she’s suddenly undergoing, and the fact that she’s now got to save her family – and maybe the world – when just yesterday her biggest problem was how to pass a math final, and to me you’ve got a much more complex and interesting story than a typical shoot-em-up.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a good story if there wasn’t danger. People get hurt. Some badly. There is some violence. There is emotional turmoil and betrayal and plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. But no one’s intestines get flung around, there aren’t buckets of blood splattering the walls, and Chloe doesn’t lose any body parts.
On the other hand, she does witness her whole family getting gunned down.
Or does she?
No spoilers here!
Struck by lightning, developing new superpowers, and pursued by a power-hungry secret military group that wants to use her as a weapon of mass destruction…it’s so not the 18th birthday that high school senior Chloe Olivetti was hoping for.
This is the summary to my new novel, THE CHANGELING, and I’ve decided to try something new. I’ve launched a Kindle Scout campaign for it. Readers are invited to preview books and vote for the ones they feel worthy of publication by Kindle Press. If you have a minute, please register for Kindle Scout (it’s free!), read the excerpt, and if you like it, vote for THE CHANGELING. The benefit to you? If it wins, you get a free copy of the book for your Kindle and the book gets published. Plus, you’ll have my ever-lasting gratitude for your support (and maybe another free gift as well!). Here’s the link:
JG Faherty is the Bram Stoker Award®- and ITW Thriller Award-nominated author of five novels, seven novellas, and more than 50 short stories. He writes adult and YA horror/sci-fi/fantasy, and his works range from quiet, dark suspense to over-the-top comic gruesomeness.
A lifelong resident of New York’s highly haunted Hudson Valley region, JG grew up amid Revolutionary War graveyards, haunted roads, and woods filled with ghostly apparitions. His varied professional career includes working as a resume writer, laboratory manager, accident scene photographer, zoo keeper, scientist, and salesman. He began writing fiction in 2001, and his short stories, poetry, and articles have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.