Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Novel: From Concept to Research to Final Draft


Mosaics-by-E-E-GiorgiIt’s always a pleasure to meet ‘new-to-me’ authors and be able to introduce them to y’all. Today I’d like to welcome author E.E. Giorgi to Thoughts and let her tell you about how her novel, MOSAICS when from concept to research to the final draft.

Welcome, E.E.

After I finished my debut novel CHIMERAS, all I knew about the sequel was that it had to be titled MOSAICS. That's all I had. Well, that's not quite true.
I had a title and I also had the characters, the main players I had created for book 1: LAPD Detective Ulyesses "Track" Presius, a modern Philip Marlowe (for those of you who, like me, are fans of the "noir" detective mystery genre), cursed with a genetic condition that empowers him with an extraordinary vision and sense of smell; Track's partner, Detective Satish Cooper, a seasoned cop and storyteller; forensic scientist and DNA specialist Diane Kyle; and extravagant artist Hortensia, Track's ethereal and absent-minded friend.
 
I had a title, I had the characters. I needed a plot. Mystery plots are like puzzles. All scenes have to fit perfectly with one another or else you'll never have a finished puzzle. There are two elements that murder mysteries cannot do without: a murder and a murderer. 

For MOSAICS, I decided early on that I wanted a serial killer. Just like the word chimera has two meanings, one borrowed from Greek mythology and one from genetics, the word mosaic, too, can refer to an art form as well as a genetic form. Since in the first book I'd played with both the meanings of "chimera," I knew I had to do the same in MOSAICS. That's when I had the idea of a serial killer who left his signature using mosaic tiles. I also wanted to further develop my main character and take his genetic condition to the extreme: what if, besides empowering him with enhanced senses, the condition made him vulnerable, too? And what if this condition of his happened to be exactly what the serial killer was after?
 
I knew nothing about serial killers, so I started researching. Needless to say, my research was rather gruesome. If you've read a lot of fiction with serial killers and, like me, thought that often crime fiction writers go a little too far, think again. Reality is much worse than fiction. Mutilation, torture, cannibalism--sadly, it's all happened. 

The next thing I needed for my book were locations. I'd moved out of Los Angeles County in 2006 and, though I miss California quite a lot, you wouldn't believe how easy it is to forget traffic and pollution. My detective, Track Presius, is overly sensible to smells. So, for me, it's fundamental that I visit the locations where my story takes place so that I can take note of the landscape and the smells in particular. So I bought a plane ticket and spent three days scouting Los Angeles for places where to commit murder or dump bodies. The joys of being a writer. :-)

When I returned home I was ready to write. After a pass with my trusted beta-readers and my friend Tim's final blessing on the police procedural (Tim spent 35 years with the LAPD), MOSAICS was ready.

Book Description: Dubbed the Byzantine Strangler because of the mysterious mosaic tiles he leaves at the crime scene, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles. Racing to decipher the code encrypted in the tiles before the killer strikes again, Detective Track Presius faces a new challenge: the "awakened" genes that make his vision and olfactory sense so sharp are now taking a toll on his life. When a new set of tiles appears in his own backyard, Track makes a chilling realization: those very same genes that are threatening his life are drawing the Byzantine Strangler closer and closer. The line between hunter and hunted has suddenly blurred. Will Track be the next piece of the mosaic puzzle?
 
E.E., thanks for stopping by and sharing this look at how your book came to be. I like that you went to so much trouble in doing the research for the smell part of the story. Smile

Now let me share a bit of background on E.E. with you.

E.E. Giorgi is a scientist, and an award winning writer and photographer. She spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she's somebody else. 

On her blog, E.E. discusses science for the inquiring mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. She is the author of 3 novels: CHIMERAS, a 2014 Readers' Favorite International Book Award winner and 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award finalist; MOSAICS, a hot new release in techno thrillers; and GENE CARDS

For more on E.E. and her writing, visit her blog, check out her portfolio and sign up for her newsletter. You can also connect with her on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Amazon.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during E.E.'s visit. Research can be a tough job. If you could research anything or anywhere, what and where would it be?

11 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Mason, and for giving me a chance to talk about my new book. :-)

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  2. I know EE! She knows her science stuff, that's for sure. And that's dedication if she flew out to Los Angeles to research for her book.

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    1. thanks, Alex! scouting LA was the fun part! :-)

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  3. Sounds like some pretty dark research! I have to do those bits of research in small doses! :) Good luck with the book - sounds awesome! :)

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  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting E.E.

    E.E. - Thanks for sharing the background of how Mosaics came to be. I agree with you about how important research is. Wishing you success.

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  5. I loved hearing your process. I like the whole concept of the series too.

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  6. Oh wow! I need to read this. Thanks, E.E. for sharing how you got from point A to B. That is so interesting.

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    1. thanks so much T., glad you enjoyed it! :-)

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.