Posted by: Debrah Martin | April 3, 2015

WIP – that’s WIP, not whip …

Here I am taking part in my very first blog tour! This has the vaguely innuendo-laden title of a WIP blog tour, but don’t get carried away with visions of fifty shades of anything. This is a Work In Progress blog tour –work, I and my fellow authors are currently working on.

And WIP is amazing because every day it transforms into something a little more intriguing or more twisted or more humorous, so no disappointment here, even if it is a wip not a whip!

As with everything there are rules:

1. Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.

2. Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work in progress.

3. Nominate some other writers to do the same.

So here goes…

Berta - Olivier

I was nominated by Olivier Bosman, the first of whose novellas in the Muchacha series I’ve just read. The Muchacha series was inspired by Olivier’s own childhood in Colombia and tells the story of Hans and Annie, and their perpetual, but unsuccessful search for a suitable maid. The slow deterioration of their relationship and their struggle to settle in the ex-pat community in Colombia run alongside their search. However, don’t think for one minute that this is a grim story. Olivier’s wonderfully light characterisation and his sense of the whimsical made Berta  an easy and extremely enjoyable read. Olivier’s blog is here and there is a wealth of fascinating information contained within it about Colombia and the novella series.

 

For myself, I am also now a firm fan of writing in series. When I started to write the Patchwork patchwork-pieces-3DPeople trilogy , I’d never written a series before and it was a huge challenge. I learnt so much from planning out the story arc and how the characters could continue to develop beyond the first book, it was one of the biggest learning curves I’ve experienced as a writer. I was delighted to be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion for Patchwork Man and that spurs me on whenever I feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Having now completed the trilogy, with the final in the series, Patchwork Pieces, on release from the 13th April (wild round of applause – from me, at least), I now have my teeth tightly clamped into the next!

The Definition of Iniquity …

… considers that hoary old question, is it morally acceptable to do something bad for the sake of the greater good, or is bad always bad, whatever the reason? For Cassie, it’s obvious – until she’s faced with the problem of keeping herself, and three other people essential to her survival, alive. Add to that, she keeps seeing what will happen if she doesn’t do whatever it takes – good or bad – to stop the great wave she’s been imagining ever since she was five. It’s not just her who will drown, but possibly the whole world.

The series will be another trilogy, but with a difference. There is no salvation in this story – but there will be survival. The final in the series switches genres from pure thriller fiction to post apocalyptic/dystopian thriller fiction after the Wave has arrived; another challenge I’m just itching to get onto!

Here are some excerpts from the first three chapters of Iniquity:

Chapter 1: The Wave

Dizzily I scanned the horizon, perched so high I could almost touch the downy white of the puffball clouds bobbing above it. My eyes drifted with the current towards the coast, and my head steadied. I let my breath out so completely I was empty of everything except the rhythm of the waves as they caressed the shore. Time passed. Minutes, maybe hours. The sand seemed to stretch into oblivion. Gold against azure. I looked along the beach. At peace. After a while I realised the gold was multiplying, expanding. How could that be?

The tide. The water seemed to be disappearing; being sucked slowly back into the sea, leaving a ragged seaweed strewn shoreline and heavy wet sand. Now it looked dark and claggy, not golden – like the earthy clay paste I used to make mud castles from as a child. By contrast, the air was sharp; the tang of spray and salt mixing with sun and sand. I imagined filling my lungs with it, relishing the sour taste of brine on my lips as the seagulls circled and screeched frenziedly overhead. They wheeled away, calling urgently, shrill and insistent. Head spinning as I followed their somersaulting into the far distance, my dreamy gaze ended abruptly there. I stared. Along the faint white line that separated sea from sky there was now an untidy bubbling. The horizon bulged and blistered, then began to grow. It was a wave – a big wave, with tiny white wavelets cresting the top.  

On the beach the summer revellers also stared out to sea, pointing, then calling to each other. They gathered in excited groups, marvelling at the contracting tide and the simmering horizon. Children left their sand castles and kicked at the multitude of shells they could now see. They collected them in buckets, carrying their precious hauls back to burgeoning masterpieces, giggling and calling in high-pitched trills. Mothers deserted their basecamps of picnic baskets and checked blankets to venture onto the vast expanse of mud-sand, their white winter legs and bright floral costumes turning them into exotic flowers on spindly stems. The shoreline became a crowd of curious bystanders, waiting for the parade to arrive.

Then The Wave showed itself, swelling obscenely out of the erupting horizon.

Someone screamed and the previously transfixed crowds turned, stumbling desperately up the beach, barging and trampling. A small girl tripped and fell, crying frantically for her mother. A woman faltered as the mass of water loomed, her words lost in roar of the oncoming deluge. She grabbed the girl up, hugging her close as if that would save her. I watched them as they struggled up the beach, urging them on, fists clenched, palms pricking with sweat, knowing they couldn’t make it.

As it neared the shore, The Wave quadrupled – both in size and reach – rearing up in an opaque wall of water, spreading along the coast in both directions. Fore-runners tumbled onto the emptied shoreline, crashing and rolling as they hit the sand barrier, demolishing abandoned family picnics and engulfing the fleeing swarm of ants that once were people. Breathlessly, I scoured the beach for the woman and crying child but they were long gone in the spume. My heart pounded and my skin crawled. As the gull’s screeches turned to human cries of terror, the roar of the tumbling wave became the sound of the world I knew drowning beneath a dark tide of chaos.

Chapter 2: Outcomes

I’d seen The Wave since I was about five. I didn’t tell anyone about it, of course – not then. Not even for a long time afterwards. They would have said it was the product of an over-active imagination, or just a dream, but I knew it was real. It became part of my strange secret world, that mysterious, all-consuming wall of water – not that I thought the places and people in my secret world strange. I saw it often, maybe two or three times a week. After a while it became less part of my secret world and more part of my everyday one although instinctively I still hugged it to myself. It always started the same way, with me scanning the horizon; searching. As I got older, I realised I’d always been scanning the horizon, so I must also have always known I was looking for it, even the very first time…

Chapter 3: The Girl

The knife blade glinted in the street light, then was rapidly sheathed. The man sidled towards the girl. She pretended not to notice, and rummaged in her bag. She produced a packet of cigarettes and lit one, blowing smoke in a long grey spiral towards the moon. It dissipated slowly in the humid evening air. The low roll of the drum solo from inside the club was punctuated by three notes from a strident sax, like it was the lead-in for the man’s solo performance.   

‘I saw you earlier, didn’t I? Inside.’

The girl hesitated, taking another drag and talking through her exhalation, smoke curling round her and settling on her silvery hair like fairy dust.

‘Do I know you?’

                                                                                               ****

Now as The Definition of Iniquity moves into the apocalyptic fiction genre, I’m delighted to pass the baton in the WIP blog post series onto Caroline Wills-Wright, who I met when we were chewing the cud over literary festivals – she was  Ops Director of Chip Lit and I was Chair of the Wantage (not just Betjeman) Literary festival. Once we’d finished ruminating, we started on writing itself. Caroline is writing an exciting apocalyptic fiction that I’m very much looking forward to reading in due course…

Caroline – over to you HERE

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