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Enslavement’s Cutting Room Floor

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I wrote Enslavement, my first novel, many moons ago. In April, it will be seven years since I completed it.

It was a very different story back then. It was 60 pages long and contained more characters and far fewer subplots. As I learned more about writing, I made large changes to the manuscript. I cut three of my first four chapters, I cut characters, but added scenes which fleshed out the subplots. With this post, I wanted to share some of what ended up on the cutting room floor, that is if authors had such a thing.

Avery: Originally, Rielle had twin sisters. In the opening scene, she held Avery and Alyssa on her lap as her parents were arrested. I cut Avery because twins just weren’t necessary. The story was just as well told with only one sister, so one had to go.

Kenzie: She was another slave in the Banker’s house. She shared a room with Lydia and Rielle. She was very weepy, and again, didn’t add anything to the story. To be honest, after the 20th reading, her weepiness got annoying. I didn’t feel one bit bad about cutting her.

Chapter one, the school scene: In its early stages, Enslavement’s opening chapter took place at Rielle’s high school. Her frhill-country5iends were making plans to see a movie, but of course, Rielle couldn’t go. She was feeling left out and angry with her parents, but her friends decided to have a stay-in movie night so that she could join them, though one of her friends’ parents didn’t want her hanging out with  a Resistor.

Chapter two, the walk home: This chapter ended with her stopping a half a block from home when she saw the Bank Security cruisers parked in front of her house. She had to make a decision–run away and save herself or go home and try to help her family. She was about to run, but she heard her sister cry out and her decision was made and her fate was sealed.

The title: I called the first draft Silence. I felt that was too vague, so I renamed it The Fear of Drowning. After a couple years, I decided that that title was too figurative, and it became The Enslavement of Rielle James, which was the  the working title until it was about to be published. When my publisher suggested shortening it to Enslavement, I agreed. I like the simplicity.

While sometimes it’s difficult to delete scenes or characters I like, it was necessary to give readers the best experience possible. I believe the story is better for these cuts, but I do hold those pieces dear. They are something I get to keep for myself. I still think about Rielle as the cold Minnesota wind whipped passed her and she tried to make that decision to go home or run away. How difficult it was for her! I love how, even early on, she was brave and she didn’t even know it.

Subversion Launches

On September 13, 2016, after years of revising and editing, I launched Subversion, sequel to Enslavement and book two in the One Bright Future series. I am so pleased to finally get to share this YA dystopian novel with readers. Honestly, I like it better than the first book, but we’ll see what you all think.

Buy it on Amazon. If you want an electronic version, it’s coming soon.

Weird Stuff People Say at Book Signings

booksigingA couple weeks ago at a book signing, an older gentleman took a look at Enslavement and proceeded to tell me how he didn’t read science fiction by female authors. It was tempting to get offended, but I took the comment in stride. I engaged him on why he felt that way and wished him all the best. It wasn’t the first odd comment I’d received. People have said some weird stuff to me at book signings.

At the same signing, after giving a brief synopsis of my book, a woman told me that the government truly was watching us all. She came back later in the day to remind me, “They’re watching us.”

book signingLast fall, a man seemed particularly interested in my book. He asked what it was about, and I gave him my quick pitch. “It takes place in the future. It’s about a seventeen-year-old girl who is sold into slavery because of her family’s beliefs.” He informed me that the title indicated it could be about S&M bondage. I told him it was definitely not about that, that he may have my book confused with another book. He insisted that it was about bondage. “But, it’s not. I wrote it. I know.” He ended up buying the book, because he was sure I was wrong.

I can’t tell you how many people, after giving my pitch–“It takes place in the future…”–have asked me if it’s a true story. I resist the urge to say, “Yes, absolutely true. I can see into the future and this is going to happen. For $20 I’ll give you lottery numbers.”

My absolute favourite, though, is, “Are you famous?” If you have to ask, I’m probably not.

I maintain my belief–people are weird. But are they ever entertaining!

Do you have a book signing story? Have people said anything memorable to you? Please share in the comments.

 

 

Author Meets Podcast

I was super excited when a local book club made contact and informed me they’d chosen Enslavement as their November read. They invited me in when they met together to discuss the book. One of the club members also had a podcast called Literally, Katrina. She informed me that she intended to record the meeting for the podcast. Honestly, I really hate the sound of my own voice, but never one to let a good opportunity slip away, I enthusiastically agreed to join them. After I forgot about the microphone, I had a great time listening their impressions of my book.

Take a listen: click here.

Thanks to the whole Literally A Book Club crew! It was great meeting all of you.

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Back at the end of October, a fellow writer at Comic Con asked me for an interview for his podcast, Just Joshing. It’s short interview, but hey, I’ve never been verbally wordy. I also get to share the podcast with fellow writer and friend, Christine Steendam. You’ll hear her at the beginning, and I’ll show up toward the end.

Head over to Just Joshing to read a short interview, then get more info in the recording: click here.

Thanks Josh for the opportunity!

 

My Book Goes A-Conference-ing

The book business has been busy, and I’m tired, so I’m going to keep this post short and tangy.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve hit two major conferences. On October 23, I joined part of the Rebelight Publishing crew at SAGE Conference, a professional development day for Manitoba teachers.Sage2

I had the opportunity to share Enslavement with oodles of librarians. It’s great to know young people all over the province will have the opportunity to check-out my book from their school libraries.

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Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet readers at Central Canada Comic Con. Author Christine Steendam was kind enough to share her table with me. As you can see below, she has a few more books than I do, but she made space for me. If you’re looking for an excellent sci-fi read, a high-seas pirate adventure or a cowboy romance, she’s got you covered.

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I had made hard copies of a One Bright Future supplemental short story, The Illusion of Choice, to give away with purchase of the book. I’ve been giving away electronic versions of this story to Amazon and Goodreads reviewers, but this is the first time I’ve made a limited number of hard copies available. 

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Saturday was a packed house.  Thousands of people wandered past, some stopped to look and chat, some bought. 

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One amazingly pleasant surprise was having people come up to my table who’d already read Enslavement. They wanted to tell me how much they enjoyed it and wanted to know when the sequel would be released. Music to this writer’s ears!

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These events are great for selling books, but even better for making connections with book lovers and other writers. I walked away from both events with a greater network and new opportunities for my book.

 

 

 

 

Inspiration for the Setting of #Enslavement

IMG_0793 IMG_0929 The setting for Enslavement has a special place in my heart. As a young teen, I spent two summers with my aunt and uncle who lived outside of Comfort, Texas. Yes, Comfort is a real place. I returned after I graduated from high school to attend bible school. It’s there that I met my husband. I was 18, he was 19 and we were engaged by spring.

Many of the sights I talk about in the book really exist–the small deer, the narrow roads, the limestone, the dry twisted junipers. Justin tells Rielle a story about a flash flood on the Guadalupe River–that really happened. On July 17, 1987, school bus full of children was swept away by the flood waters. Ten children did not survive.  This is the same type of flood that Rielle got caught in. You can view the story here:

It was wonderful to get to return to this beautiful and sometimes dangerous place, if only in my thoughts. 

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Video

Presenting the Enslavement Book Trailer!

I’ve wanted this trailer for a long time, not only as a promotional tool, but as a showcase for this beautiful song. You only get a snippet of it here, so I’ll be posting the whole thing in the future.

A huge thank you to award-winning filmmaker, Corbin Saleken, for all your hard work in putting this together for me. And to Ariel Friesen, thank you for composing this beautiful, inspiring song that will always be score for Enslavement. I’m surrounded by brilliant people.