Although time is conspiring against me, I am still on-track to release The Shadow Walker by the end of the month. I’m currently deep in the editing process and still trying to decide on the right cover, but I have faith I’ll pull it off. In the meantime, I thought I’d put out some information about the book and why I’m so excited for its release.
The Shadow Walker is the story of Thomas Hurd, an eighteen-year-old who doesn’t fit in anywhere. He’s uncomfortable around his family, his schoolmates and has only one real friend. The only way he can relate to people is from a distance, which leads him to watching them without their knowledge. He knows it’s abnormal and dangerous, but can’t help himself. One night while doing his usual rounds, he sees something he shouldn’t, a creature which usually goes unseen. Thomas’ obsession with discovering what it is unleashes a horror upon the world only he’s aware of.
I first started The Shadow Walker (then, called by the trilogy name, Unseen Things) last year for NaNoWriMo. Like the year before, I went into the month of November, fully prepared to churn out a 50K+ novel by month’s end and finished spectacularly short of my goal. I did, however, get a great start on it and by March, I had finished it and moved onto book two, The Shadow Within.
The Shadow Walker embodies a few firsts for me as a writer. For one, I’ve never written anything with such a fast turn-around before. I wrote The Four-Year-Old Guardian in less than three months, but it was stuck in rewrite status for a few years afterward, as I added scenes I’d overlooked and smoothed out the edges. In comparison, The Shadow Walker took me four months, but it was a pretty smooth rough draft and turned out very close to what I wanted.
Before this, I’d never written in first person before. To be honest, I always find it a little off-putting when I pick up a book at the store and it’s written in that perspective. Or, at least I did. I rewrote the beginning of The Shadow Walker several times, switching between first and third person, before I finally settled on first. I’m glad I did. The story is very much shaped by who Thomas is and how he responds to those around him, so it was natural to have it filtered through his perspective. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve written a book where the character is so integral to the plot-line. If Thomas wasn’t who he is, the events wouldn’t unfold as they do. Now, as I’m working on editing the second Only Human on the Block, I find myself accidentally switching to first person at times.
Another first for me is writing a trilogy. My mind tends toward series as a general rule, but I’ve never really conceptualized a trilogy before (note: Ascension may yet become a trilogy, but I didn’t write the first book with that in mind). The difference is in the pacing. With Unseen Things, I’m following the classic trilogy archetype of the first book being fairly self-contained, heroes winning, etc. (think Star Wars). The second book is a little darker and doesn’t wrap things up in a nice neat little bow by the end, leading directly into the third book, World of Shadows (think of how Empire ended, needing Return to tie it all up…and no, I’m in no way comparing the quality of my books to Star Wars).
This will also mark the first time my wife has completely read through one of my books. She started reading The Four-Year-Old Guardian a few years back, but according to her, I became very defensive about her critique. I didn’t think I was, (although I admit she’d know better than I would) but the result was her keeping her distance from reading my work. She decided to give it a try for this book and I’m so glad she did. Not only did she give me some extremely helpful feedback, she brainstormed with me on how to improve the ending, bringing it even closer to my original vision.
Lastly, I’m excited because of the cover. Even though it’s still being worked on, this is the first time we’re making it completely in-house. Previous covers were royalty-free artwork we adapted for our own needs, but this one is the result of a painting my daughter (age 5) did on the wall. It looked vaguely human and, with a few tweaks, my wife made it the creepy image it is today. You can see a rough draft image of it under My Books.
As I work on editing The Shadow Walker, I’m just finishing up writing the sequel, The Shadow Within. I plan to have the first for sale by month’s end, the second ready for editing at the same time, so I can move onto book three, World of Shadows for my entry into NaNoWriMo. Even if I miss the mark (who am I kidding…I just bought Dark Souls!), by this time next year, I should have all three books available. Not too bad considering I have two full-time jobs (Driving/Dispatching and being a daddy). Then it’s onto the next series!