Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Places You Don’t Want To Go: A guest post by author Kourtney Heintz

Before I get started, I just want to thank Kayla for letting me write a guest post on her blog! *Big Wave*

Writing about a world where out-of-control telepathy existed sounded so cool; but writing from the point of view of an out-of-control telepath named Kai didn’t.

I had no idea how to get inside her mind and not get lost there. So I stayed on the periphery telling everything from the perspective of my other protagonist, her husband, Oliver.

It was easier to learn about her powers from him. To understand her through his eyes.

So I let Oliver be the point-of-view character for most of The Six Train to Wisconsin. As her abilities came under control, I reached a point where the story required her to be the narrator. Only then did I plunge into Kai’s point of view. And it was thrilling. Her powers affected her perception and her thought patterns. Her abilities intertwined with her so deeply and enriched her character so much.

I fell deeply in love with her character and realized I was doing a huge disservice to Kai. By refusing to go into her point of view in the beginning, my readers missed out on a key element of who she was. Or at least who she could be in her worst moments. The telling moments.

After I finished my third round of revisions, I knew Kai so well, I felt nearly certain I was up to the task of capturing her at her worst and still telling the story. I struggled with how much of her powers would eclipse a scene and how to not have the powers front and center all the time.

This wasn’t simply a story about telepathy. This was a story about a woman whose out-of-control ability threatened her life and a husband whose secret threatened their future. So I had to pick and chose the moments where her ability took center stage and the moments that it had to be a background player to the emotions or the plot.

There were times I had to go back and add more details about her abilities and other places I had to scale back. Sometimes I got so into how the powers worked I’d lose myself in them. It’s a dangerous path for a writer. Just because you’re enamored with the mechanisms of your world building doesn’t mean anyone else is.

One of the hardest things was figuring out ways to limit her abilities. I played with the idea of shield. The telepathy could reside in the background when she formed a psychic shield. Others could block her out with their shields. I didn’t want her powers to remove the opportunity for confusion and misunderstandings. In fact, I wanted them to exacerbate them.

In the end, the character that was the hardest to write became my favorite one. She challenged me and made me a better a writer. And I am so grateful that I stepped outside my comfort zone and into hers.

Author Bio:

Kourtney Heintz writes emotionally evocative speculative fiction that captures the deepest truths of being human. For her characters, love is a journey never a destination.

She resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.

Her debut speculative fiction novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist.

The Six Train to Wisconsin Back Cover:

Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything.

There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.

When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened.

To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?

An emotionally powerful debut, The Six Train to Wisconsin pushes the bounds of love as it explores devotion, forgiveness and acceptance.

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