I feel that writing is a little like acting. After all, to create effective characters, one must, to a certain degree inhabit various personalities, ruminate their thoughts, feel their emotions, adopt their manner of speaking, their facial expressions just as an actor would. After an intense session, a writer can be drained or enlivened, depending on the character. It can be demanding. More so when the characters are dark, twisted or tormented.
Writing the Ming Storytellers was a particularly dark experience for me. I think I balanced the burden of this revengeful, secretive and obsessive narrative with light hearted, silly banter either on Facebook or Twitter. You see, one can never judge whether a writer is being sincere, that is, whether they are being themselves or just dealing with complex emotions and working through an intense experience in skewed, roundabout ways. Sometimes to be honest, I have no idea who I am but I'm actually at peace with that uncertainty.
I think I would be more worried if I had a complete (and deluded) self-assurance about the nature of my own character.
So that was The Ming Storytellers... It's the only novel I've so far written but at 600 pages plus it was a pain in the arse. Not really, I loved the ride and the time travel journey. I'm sure it will be published in the next couple of years but right now I need to let loose the other stories inside me.
I've longed for something fresh, new and a tad less dark. Yes please. And I need women. I've had to put on an admiral uniform, felt boots and walk on a ship deck for far too long.
So here's the thing. I'm embarking on my second novel. It's a story I've been toying with and researching for a couple of years now. Sexy multi-ethnic heroines, multiple settings, a bit of history here and there, a dash of science-fiction, mystery and a nice undercurrent of social psychology. I'd love to make it a graphic novel too because it would work nicely. The girls are just too hot. It would be a waste to not illustrate them, right?
The hardest for me was conceiving the evil force for this action-adventure novel. If I were left to my own devices, characters would be mostly civil and nothing life threatening would ever happen. But readers don't want that so I've had to rake my brain and the brain of others for inspiration. I wanted an antagonist that was not all about world domination and revenge. I think twisted, self-righteous ideologies is where I'm heading because I like my evil forces to think they are actually doing good and I appreciate the shady grey in most characters. So for this novel, I'll be juggling a Talamasca-inspired research institution, a post-Inquisition army of religious warriors and of course nature itself.
Because what could be more potent than natural forces out of control?
Bring it on bitches! It's going to be a sexy ride, I know it.