Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Guest Post: Kristoffer Gair

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Keeping It All Straight
Kristoffer Gair, author of Falling Awake III: Requiem

Falling Awake III: Requiem could have had a blooper reel if it was a movie. I’m not sure you can make a blooper reel from the printed word, but holy smoke did I have some blunders while writing this one! See, here’s the thing. Writing a novella is fine, and writing a second book that has to follow information set forth in the novella is fine since the second book happens to be a prequel. But moving forward again and having to keep straight events from the novella AND a prequel? It’s enough to make your eyes cross and forget to dot your I’s on the page.

Let’s start with something simple. The character of Alex Shao. Likes I said, simple, right?
You’d think so, right up until one of my editors pointed out I’d been spelling his last name as Shoa. And Tam Dinh? There were a few Tam Dihn flubs. Heck, Frank Margason became something else altogether. Another editor had an issue with Tam’s name being too close to his father’s name, Nam. Tam and Nam. Then there was the Shao’s dog, Bao. Bao Shao. Okay, I changed Bao, but I still love that name for a dog and I kept Tam and Nam.

A big, big, big issue I came across happened around the middle of the story when Alex takes Daniel downtown to see the AIDS quilt. There’s a conversation that takes place between them and Alex talks about having seen David Bowie in concert the previous year in Chicago, and just what that experience meant to him. It turns out I misread an online article and David Bowie didn’t play a show in Chicago at the time the book took place. He hadn’t played Chicago in a very long time. Well, crap. So I chose the Sting and Peter Gabriel concert…up until an editor mentioned someone Alex’s age would listen to more age-appropriate artists than my ancient ass would. I went with Adele. I listen to Adele. I just hope I’m allowed to.

The villains in the story proved problematic because several of them have come back from previous lives, lives that were explored in Falling Awake II: Revenant. Try keeping their personalities straight along with their age in relation to the age of the protagonists. I suspect if someone wants to know why the book is so bloody long, it’s because I needed to keep everything clear in my head, which could only be accomplished by writing it out in detail.

I’m still miffed about that David Bowie blunder. Alex has a poignant bit of dialogue about the experience and it just would have sounded so much better talking about Bowie due to the man’s legacy. Oh, well. Win some, lose some.

Oh, here’s something else. I originally had Daniel, Tam, and Alex living on a dead-end street. I chose Eagle Lane because a very good friend of ours, Marianne Labahn, lived on Eagle Lane. Eagle Lane isn’t a dead-end street and I knew that. It just didn’t occur to me until after I’d referenced it being that way in the story. Thank God I didn’t write the book using a typewriter. Can you imagine having to go back and retype an entire chapter because you’ve made a blunder like that?

Eye colors changed, hair color changed, clothing changed… This is why I will probably never write another book this length again. Or, if I do, everybody will look exactly alike, so then I won’t have to worry about all those other potentially confusing details. Because that’s a sane decision!

My editors help me look sane and like I know what I’m talking about. The truth, however, is amusingly far from.

About the Author  
Kristoffer Gair grew up in Fraser, MI and is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He is the author of 7 novels—some written under the pseudonym Kage Alan—been a part of 6 anthologies, and currently lives in a suburb of Detroit.

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