THe Story Behind The VIllainy Consultant Series

 

 

This story all started with an epiphany. Lightning struck my brain. It was a few years after I started writing The Drogue. I wish I could be more specific about it, but I can't even hazard a guess at when during that time I first thought up Geoffrey. But that's beside the point.

 

My family has a cabin near a little town called Willow, and I was up there with a bunch of my family. I was watching some of my nieces and nephews, so their parents could go out wandering the woods, and we were watching the old Disney version of Mary Poppins together. As I was sitting there, I was brainstorming ideas for new books, and I starting thinking about what it would be like with an evil Mary Poppins. Not like psycho, throw her in jail evil, but the Dursleys in Harry Potter level evil. Okay, so maybe that's one in the same, but I was thinking of something more on the Roald Dahl level of villainy.

 

And that's when I realized that Mary Poppins WAS evil. That might sound harsh. Sure, she takes the kids on magical adventures, but the minute they're over and the kids are talking about it, she acts like they're crazy and tells them not to talk about such nonsense. That's messed up right there.  Even as a kid, I thought that was strange and mean. Frankly, I've never been much of a fan of Mary Poppins because of that.

 

So, my thoughts evolved from there. I can't point out the entire train of thought. To be honest, I think people might be afraid if they heard the way my thoughts hop, skip, and jump all over the place. My brain makes connections to things that were never meant to be connected.

 

But from there, I started thinking about heroes not really being heroes and villains not really being villains. From that, Geoffrey was born. Like I said, it might not make sense to you how I went from Evil Mary Poppins to a fairy tale villain consultant, but within a minute of the first thought, my mind was starting to piece together the villainy consultant character.

 

I put off writing about him for a while. I was focused on The Drogue and didn't want to deviate from that at the time, but then I had a friend who wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo. If you haven't heard of that, it's a writing challenge where writers commit to writing a novel of at least 50,000 words in the month of November in honor of National Novel Writing Month. I'd never done it before and agreed to try it out with my friend, and I decided to work on Geoffrey's first book. It was the only project I had remotely fleshed out enough to start writing.

 

Things were going great. I was zooming through the month, totally on schedule. Then halfway through, a period of my life that I coined the "Electronics Apocalypse" hit. Within a week and a half (maybe two weeks), every single one of my major electronics died, including my laptop and external hard drive. I had backups of most of my documents, but my NaNoWriMo writings were being worked on so frequently that I hadn't backed them up that often. I lost almost all my work that month, roughly half the novel. I can't begin to describe how disheartening that is. I just didn't have it in me to recreate everything I'd just lost. Besides not having enough time to finish by the end of NaNoWriMo, I couldn't face rewriting everything.

 

So, I saved the snippets I had and put them on the backburner.

 

A couple more years passed, and life got busy. I was still writing-ish, but mostly, I wasn't doing much and when I did try it was hard to get back into the groove of things. Over the years, I'd wanted to go to a writing conference in Utah called "Life, the Universe, and Everything" or LTUE. It's a conference that specializes in Sci-Fi and Fantasy writing, and I'd heard about it while listening to the Writing Excuses Podcast. Funnily enough, I went to school in Utah but never heard about it when I was going there. But I'd graduated and moved back to Alaska, and getting to Utah from there isn't cheap, so I put it off until 2016.

 

I'm not sure why it suddenly changed for me. I really hadn't been writing at all, and then decided I wanted to go to LTUE. But I had a free ticket and could crash a friend's place, so it seemed like an affordable option.

 

I'm so glad I did. It lit a fire under me. I came back super jazzed to write again. I came back determined to finish The Drogue and get it published. Going to LTUE really was a major turning point for me in my writing career. But when it came to put fingers to keys, I had a hard time getting back into the groove of writing. It's a bit like working out. My writing muscles had attrophied, and I was struggling to get my writer's brain working again.

 

That's when I had a brilliant idea. I had been working on my first book for so long, it was time to try a fresh project. I had Geoffrey P. Ward's Guide to Villainy already fleshed out and just waiting for me to write it. Enough time had passed that it didn't feel like I was just trying to rewrite the stuff that got deleted. This was a fresh, new book.

 

I sat down and started working. It came quickly and easier than any other book I've ever written. It was done in a couple weeks. I put off publishing it because I wanted to work more on the Tréaltha Series, but the time has come. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did writing and editing it.