Friday, August 14, 2009

Howling Like a Movie Demon

This is where I write. The screensaver is Molly, the beloved beagle of our friends Dennis and Susan, who allowed us to be Molly's adoptive aunt and uncle. I loved that dog to pieces, and so memorialized her as a screensaver. The mess is all mine. I try to keep it clean, but, well, you know how it is . . .

It's dark. It's frigid. The wind howls like a movie demon, and blows frozen air directly through the crack in my window.

The room is pitch black. The screen is arctic white. My fingers move a hundred words a minute, trying to catch my tumbling thoughts. The psychic equivalent of blood is flowing out of my eyes, down my arms, through my fingers, and onto the keyboard. The blood-letters form words and sentences and pages and scenes and I'm at 5,000 words and I don't know I got there.

Life is good.

That's my ideal writing situation: planting myself in my office in the middle of winter in the middle of the night, and cracking my window a quarter inch to feel the icy skid of air and hear the wind. The screen is lit up with my words, and I'm racing to keep up with the waterfall from my brain.

The drama of the writing place fuels the drama on the page.

I can, and do, write at places like Panera and Starbucks. I spent my professional life in a Chicago newsroom before switching to thriller novels, and happily worked with the bray of police radios, the klaxon of editors and reporters arguing about stories, the slamming of phones and squeaking of chairs and tumblings to the floor of newspapers stacked so high they wobbled when I walked by. I like being in the swirl of humanity when I work, because it's lively and fun, and I'm convinced the energy pulse from people helps pump up whatever I'm typing.

But when I really need to crank, give me middle of the night, howling winds, a keyboard and a screen. That's when the magic really happens.


Criminal neglect: My wife insists I didn't answer last week's question, "What are your criminal habits?" She says I fancy-wrote around it all pretty-like, but ultimately forgot to list the habits. I looked back and, whoops, she's right. So, to answer now:

I eat too much. I exercise too little. I believe criticism more than praise. I think my writing should be 100% free of ick and awkwardness even though that's impossible. And I chastise myself for not working harder and doing "better," though I can never define what "better" is, and no one else on earth thinks I'm dogging it.

But I'm trying to fix all that. (Starting with exercise, as moi happily figured out that if one burns off more calories, one can eat what one wants.) Life is too short to keep beating yourself up over nothing.

Gesundheit: The German edition of my series debut, Blown Away, is out in Germany. Yay! I believe the title translates to, Where Your Screams Die Out, or somesuch cool thriller-y expression. It adds to my Turkish, Slovak and Chinese editions, all of which have covers as cool as this one.

If perhaps you wanted to read the reviews and/or order your very own copy, who am I to say you shouldn't? :-) Of course, you have to do that in German. Sincere congratulations if you're that smart; I never did learn more than English. I do know how to cuss in several languages, though, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

The publisher is Weltbild. Here's the link to my page on the Amazon Germany site:

And danke for your support.

P.S. Who's the babe on the cover? Why, I don't know. But they picked a great one to represent my hero detective Emily Thompson, didn't they? Bless all art directors everywhere . . .


Jen Forbus said...

How apropo to write dark fiction in the dark! ;) My body however believes that the dark is for sleeping. It doesn't believe that it's natural to get up before the sun does, and I even notice a difference during various times of the year. When it gets lighter earlier, my body can wake earlier. In the dead of winter, we want to hybernate! LOL

Congrats Shane! And WHERE YOUR SCREAMS DIE OUT is very cool! I like that title.

Shane Gericke said...

Thanks, Jen. It is a neat title, isn't it? A friend in Germany who did the translation says oft times, Germans need more words to explain concepts than we Americans do. Thus, Blown Away becomes, Where the Screams Die Out.

Jen Forbus said...

Shane, I can't believe I forgot to mention that I LOVE Molly! What a cutie she is! On my wallpaper is my chocolate lab, Hershey, and my cat, Bailey who are snuggled together. The picture makes me smile every time I turn my computer I'm sure Molly does the same for you.