Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Donna Brown on Committing to the Story

Today I am thrilled to be participating in the first book tour hosted by The Indie Exchange. I've been lucky to work with this group of authors and bloggers for over a year now. It was through this group that I first met Donna Brown and her husband David. David has been featured on the blog a few times but now it is finally Donna's turn. Double-take Tales is coming up quickly on my "to read" list and I've only heard wonderful things about these stories. Now I'll let Donna fill you in on her approach to writing and everything else. Keep reading to the end of the post to find out more about Donna's book and the other book on this tour, 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover by Carolyn Moncel. You also have an opportunity to win one of these books or an Amazon gift card.

Can I Commit to a Long Term Relationship?

I admit it: I'm flighty, sometimes impetuous, easily distracted. Life is full of so many things, I'd like to try to learn as much as possible. The phrase 'Jack of all Trades, Master of None' rings true. Since leaving high school I've studied modules in politics, Spanish, German, English, biology, chemistry, maths, animal science and social sciences. Commitment problem? Oh yes! I've studied something almost every year for the last decade and achieved good scores, yet I don't hold a degree. You want me to learn ONE thing for three years? Ouch...

The same rings true in my writing. I admire my husband's commitment in spending 10 years building a fantasy world, but it also baffles me. 2-3,000 words is more than enough time for me to introduce my characters, make things happen and then leave them to it. Do I wonder what happens next? Truthfully, no. I care deeply about my characters in the past of the back story and the present story. Not their futures. Truth be told, I don't really want my readers to care either. I write stories with a twist because I want readers to question what they read and look back, not necessarily ahead.

Even so, a character keeps haunting me. Harry Schmidt has been popping in and out of my thoughts for almost four years now. I know his story, but can I commit to this character for long enough to tell it? I really don't know. I care deeply about Harry's story and that's part of the problem. Perhaps it needs someone more committed to really do it justice. What if I sell this very very flawed character short, burying him under dark humour and terrible events, instead of offering some kind of redemption? That could be worse than never telling the story.

Recently I looked into completing my studies and turning my work so far into a Social Sciences degree. The fees are now prohibitive - that ship has clearly sailed. Maybe it's a sign that I'm not meant to be a master of any one trade. Maybe, instead, my impetuousness and lack of commitment is a gift, always taking me somewhere new. Or maybe it's a sign that sometimes you need to commit, even if you're not entirely sure. Time will tell.

Excerpt from the first chapter

Harry Schmidt was forty-two when love first found him. He lived alone, having shared a house with his mother until her death two years previously. At 82 Mrs Schmidt had retained a startling amount of independence and thus Harry required far more looking after than she did. Indeed this situation would have continued for several years had it not been for the unfortunate incident with the shoe.

Despite 35 years of being told not to do so, Harry had the unfortunate habit of kicking off his shoes at the end of a working day (Harry worked as a postman and therefore his feet were begging to be relieved from his shoes after hours of walking). Regrettably, Harry often kicked off his shoes in unfortunate places; thus, during the years, Mrs Schmidt had needed to be ever more vigilant in order to avoid Harry’s wayward footwear. Many accidents had been avoided due to Mrs Schmidt’s careful approach over the years but it was, perhaps, inevitable that in the end a shoe would be her downfall.

As a postman Harry was usually home in the afternoon; however, on the ill-fated day in question he had decided to go out to watch a football match and had been delayed in getting home due to the bus breaking down. The fates would further conspire in orchestrating a fuse outage at the house, which would lead the independent Mrs Schmidt to attempt to navigate her way down the cellar stairs with only a candle to light her way. Naturally, this would also be the day that Harry had kicked off his old work shoes for the last time for just the day before he had purchased a new pair of black boots and was wearing those instead. His old shoes had been haphazardly abandoned as so many times before but this time with catastrophic consequences.

So it was that all these coincidences conspired against poor Mrs Schmidt to ensure that when she weaved her way through the small corridor to the cellar door and pulled it open, her foot clipped one of the abandoned shoes as she took her next step and this small action was enough to unbalance her. At any age a stone staircase is a difficult adversary but for 82 year old Mrs Schmidt it was a fatal one.

Harry would never know the trouble that his misplaced shoe had caused for the very step that had caused Mrs Schmidt to unbalance was the step that knocked the shoe into a tidy position. When the fuse switch was flipped and light was restored, paramedics could only conclude that Mrs Schmidt had panicked in the darkness and taken the stairs too quickly. In this way, Harry was spared from a lifetime of guilt but, sadly, not from the loss of his beloved mother.

Therefore, at forty years of age, Harry Schmidt was finally forced to stand on his own two feet and face the world. And this he did. For a while, Harry would feel quite content with his progress in the world; however, Harry Schmidt was yet to face his biggest challenge – love.

Double-take Tales by Donna Brown

Three dark, sardonic short stories that will have you expecting the unexpected:

In "Poison," a psychologically abused wife discovers that her husband's nut allergy may be the solution to all her problems.

In "Round Trip," a five pound note passes through desperate hands, greedy hands and tired hands before coming full circle…accompanied by a big surprise.

In "Ç'est La Vie," the police bungle a murder investigation under the watchful eye of someone uncomfortably close to the killing.

Donna is a long time book reviewer and has devoured books from an early age. She writes short stories as and when inspiration hits and is married to fantasy author David M. Brown. She is also a contributor to David's (mostly!) non-fiction book, Man vs Cat.

Donna has lived in many different areas of the UK over the last 31 years but has remained in Yorkshire for the past decade. She ardently disputes the misnomer that 'It's grim up north'. You can find Donna on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, or visit the blogs she shares with her husband: Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave, and Diary of Mr Kain

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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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1 comment:

  1. I love the sound of both books. They sound very good. Please enter me in contest.


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