Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"One my strong points is story development" says C.D. Verhoff @CDVerhoff #Fantasy

Do you intend to make writing a career? 
If the income was reliable it would be the career of my dreams. Reality tells me to wake up and smell the coffee.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
I’m not sure if others would agree, but I think my prose are simple, unadorned, and straightforward.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
One of my strong points is plot development. For my series, I see far into the future, even into books yet to be written. What might seem to be an unimportant tangent often turns out to be significant later on. For instance, in Promised Land, the trashy novel Josie is reading in chapter two seems to be a trivial detail, but it becomes significant later on.
What’s your greatest weakness as a writer? 
One of my weaknesses is grammar. I go by intuition and it usually serves me well, but don’t grill me on the details. If you ask me what a dangling participle is I’ll start to giggle. Is it just me or does it sound a little kinky?
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? 
Yes, I’ve had writers block many times. My remedies vary. Last time I played Candy Crush, Pet Rescue and Free Cell  until it went away. The time before that I gave up on the scene and jumped forward to a later one. It took me a few weeks to get back to it, but I did. One of my toughest cases of writer’s block continues to plague me. I’ve been sitting on the unfinished manuscript for over a year now. The problem started on a fictional front porch, where my protagonist was arguing with her estranged husband. Anger and betrayal were fogging the night when the dialogue froze in midair. I have revisited that porch dozens of times, but it’s as if the world has stopped turning. The scene is locked. Nothing will budge. I haven’t found a way to defrost it. My solution . . . abandon it and move on to a totally different novel.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Of course! I’d love to share a piece of  Promised Land: A Galatia Novel with you. This is an expert from chapter three. Seventeen-year-old Josie Albright doesn’t know it yet, but her life is about to change undergo a radical change:
As she puzzled over the situation, the entire world seemed to groan and belch. A framed photo of Josie with her sisters and mother fell off the wall. She shot out of bed and rushed to Feenie’s room. Her sister’s bed was still made.
“Mom!” she called out as she ran to Mother’s bedroom—empty—which was nothing unusual as Mother frequently got called out for offline emergencies. The lights blinked in and out several times, but then held steady.
“Yep, probably another computer malfunction,” she said out loud, trying to convince herself that the shaking and flickering were nothing to worry about.
She went to the fridge. The broken door hung ajar. Cool air escaped from the gaps. She opened the door with care, trying not to damage it further as she grabbed a bowl of chocolate pudding. The container felt lukewarm.
“Oh, well.”
As she sat at the kitchen counter, spooning pudding into her mouth, the bowl on the counter started to vibrate. Dishes rattled in the cupboard. Knickknacks fell off the shelf. Another tremor?
There had been dozens of them over the last two years. Sometimes the damage was a big deal, but most of the time everything was back to normal within a few hours. Last week, a tremor had caused the entire facility to go offline for two days. Nobody was allowed to shower. The temperature hovered around fifty degrees. No videos to watch, no computer games to play, no eBooks to read. Horrible. No way did she want to live through that again. The lights blinked on and off again, leaving her suspended in darkness with a chocolate pudding in her hand. Uh-oh.
Alarm bells began to ring throughout the facility.
The sound of people running down the public corridor made her drop the spoon on the floor. She flung open the front door. The sound of chaos instantly increased tenfold. Dim emergency lights cast everything in an eerie blood red glow. Entire families were running down the hallway, dressed in heavy clothing, carrying their emergency backpacks, fear etched across their features.
How did you come up with the title? 
The plotline is loosely inspired by the Israelites trek to Canaan, otherwise known as The Promised Land. The name comes from God’s promise to Abraham. He would make his descendents a great nation. Moses was the one who finally brought the prophecy to fruition. In my novel, Red Wakeland the Second, is the “Moses” of his day. After living in an underground shelter for forty years, he leads his people across the grasslands in search of a new homeland.
Can you tell us about your main character? 
The story is told from the viewpoints of multiple characters, the main ones being Lars Steelsun (age 19), Josie Albright (age 16), and Michael Blade (age 52), and Red Wakeland the Second (age 40). However, as characters develop and the plot unfolds, it doesn’t take long for one of the characters to steal the spotlight. Who would guess that it’s the 16-year-old girl? Josie has become a fan favorite. Here’s her introduction in chapter two:
From her mother she inherited the cornflower blue Albright eyes, but that was about it. Josie was a petite 5’4”. Her lips weren’t plump. Her body was compact—not willowy—and her chest department was nothing to brag about. She kept her black hair in a short pixie style. Competing with the other females in her family was impossible, so she eschewed make-up, nice clothes, and cheerleading as a form of protest. She had spent a lifetime trying to escape from underneath her siblings’ beautiful shadows, too hard some would say, but it didn’t diminish the love she reserved especially for them. Well, not usually, she thought with regret.
The clock on her nightstand said 22:30:15. Most of the bunkers’ residents were asleep by now. Out of habit, Josie rapped on the metal wall of her bedroom. Normally, Feenie returned the favor, but tonight there was no response. It was a silly way to say goodnight, but they had been doing it for the last three years, ever since Jo got married and they no longer had to share a room.
The front door creaked open, sending Josie scrambling out of bed in a sports bra, underwear, and socks, eager to apologize to Feenie. In the living area, she skidded to a stop in her socks. Mother stood scowling in the doorway. Her perfectly coiffed hair looked frazzled around the edges. Although she was nearly seventy years old, she didn’t look a day over forty. The Charismatic Committee’s conclusion was that Veronica Albright had been blessed with a charisma that slowed the aging process, which made her the envy of the bunker. Unfortunately, charismas weren’t hereditary. Each person’s abilities manifested in their own way, usually starting around puberty. Some charismas got stronger with age. Others faded away from lack of use.
“Where’s Feenie?” Josie asked, trying to look around her mother’s demure form and into the public corridor.
“Dr. Steelsun is keeping her overnight for observation.”
“Uh, why exactly?” Josie asked, feeling sheepish and guilty. She wouldn’t be able to sleep again until Mother confirmed that Feenie was okay.
“You snapped her collar bone and gave her a concussion.”
It took a moment for the news to sink in. Pain constricted her throat muscles. She tried to swallow it away, but it only grew worse.
“I didn’t think, er, I didn’t mean to…” She fought back the rising tears. “It was an accident!”
Mother held up her hand like a barrier against Josie’s voice. “How many times have I told you to think before you act, Josie? The way you wield the charisma like a knife-toting maniac is going to kill somebody someday.”

The last survivors of the human race are riding out nuclear winter in an underground bunker when disaster strikes. Forced to the surface centuries ahead of schedule, what they find blows their minds. Who can explain it? Two social misfits work together to unravel the mystery.
After living in a posh underground shelter his entire life, Lars Steelsun is plunged headfirst into a mind-blowing adventure on the surface of the Earth. As Lars and his displaced bunker mates are led across the grasslands by Mayor Wakeland, a man of questionable sanity who claims to talk with God, they discover a primitive world where human beings are no longer welcome. Even more mystifying is the emergence of new senses and abilities from within. Learning to use them has become a priority, but his biggest challenge comes from the vivacious Josie Albright. Her lust for glory is going to get them both into trouble. Sparks fly when her gung ho ways clash with his cautious personality. Can they overcome their differences to find love and a homeland for their people?
May not be suitable for younger readers. Contains mild profanity, sexual situations (infrequent), and violence. Main Category: epic fantasy. Subcategories: dystopian, science fiction, religion, sword and sorcery.
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Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – R
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