Snitch, a young woman who grew up on the medieval streets of Kelmar as a thief, has learned something terrible. The regime’s evil military ruler has learned the hideout location of the resistance she joined and ordered an all-out assault. Combined with the captain of the disbanded royal guard, a political prisoner, a duke’s daughter, and an old advisor can her team rise to action and free Kelmar?
Will Snitch and the resistance survive once they the military reaches their hideout? To find out if the hideout will continue to offer its protection, Greg L. Turnquist, the mind behind ‘Darklight’ has kindly set aside time to share some secrets of the hidden team in Kelmar. Greg, hiding away resistance movement is an interesting topic to explore. What was it about this idea and the world that Snitch lives in that initially got you thinking about the story you cover in this book?
I read many novels as a kid. Dune, Foundation, and Berserker. The ideas of some ragtag group hiding out in pitch black tunnels underneath a city bounced around in my head. Then I visualized one character, some pickpocket that had grown up on the streets barely surviving, who would find these impossible conditions…comfortable. What if she was thrust into the center of a rebellion? From there, it grew on its own.
I imagine that you haven’t been in these situations yourself, but were there any events in your life that you added into the mix to ensure that this environment felt as real as possible?
I can’t say I have ever been a pickpocket, a political prisoner, or the exiled leader of the royal guard. But the idea of being the underdog resonated with me as it did with my beta readers. And the need for encouragement to rise above challenges is near and dear to me.
You gotta love an underdog story! So, once you had the idea to follow the underdog, how did Snitch, and the rest of the cast come to life?
Something that becomes clear early on, is that Snitch (the character seen on page one) doesn’t see eye to eye with Gavin, the exiled military leader. I visualized Snitch in great detail. Someone that would oppose her flowed naturally from that. Snitch was short, so I cast Gavin as tall. She held back details; he pushed forth plans. I feel I wove their interactions quite well based on this ying and yang.
Oh, I like that idea of the ying and yang and the battle between these two strong elements. Do you find that writing itself is a little bit of a battle between the ying and yang of energising power and exhausting overwhelming periods? Or is your writing coloured more by just one of these elements?
Both! Sometimes, I have one or more scenes that I HAVE to get out. At other times, I have to plan of where to carry the story, but it takes effort to push out each word and give those sentences the polish they need.
I love those scenes that just need to escape from your body! I won’t ask you about the details of some of those scenes because we don’t want to give the entire plot away, but can you share what you felt was the central idea that you wanted to share through your most poignant scenes and the book in general?
Sometimes, you have to take that leap and believe when someone else says you can do it. That you can be the one.
Taking the leap to believe is a tricky step to learn to take. Did you find that taking the leap to believe was also the area where you found learnt the most while writing this book, or did you learn more elsewhere? And if so, where?
When I won a chance for Jerry Jenkins (author of the Left Behind series) to review the first page of Darklight on a webinar, my jaw hit the floor as he hacked away chunks of words and boiled away unnecessary phrasings before hundreds of viewers. Pulling myself together, I took note of everything he said. (By the way, Jenkins wrapped it up by saying, “I would continue reading,” the best thing an author can hope to hear). And over the next few months, cut 25% of my manuscript without losing an ounce of the story. It revealed a gap in the story that got filled with a new subplot.
Wow, it would be hard not to have your jaw hit the floor when that happened, however, I’m very pleased to hear that you didn’t give up right there. That’s the mark of a true writer! After a feedback session like that, I’m curious to find out how you feel that your voice as an author has improved since then. Can you share a little of where you weren’t being effective?
When I started, I was very tell-y and used lots of helper words while making everything very “progressive”. That is, I tended to write “she was walking” instead of just “she walked”. Thanks to Jerry Jenkins’ feedback, I also cut out lots of superfluous words, on the nose stuff, and was able to cut dialog to the bone, ratcheting things up a notch in the process.
What do you think about as you write these days to ensure that you’re keeping up with that more intense notch of drama?
I have this movie-like image that will fill up my brain. I see the character up to something and try to denote it in my prose. Snitch looks around, sees things, and she tries to figure out what is happening. She taps her instincts. And when her gut signals something is about to go wrong, she listens, because that has saved her neck many times in the past.
What’s the best line from your prose that you feel best denotes some of Snitches experiences?
Snitch knew Marlon wouldn’t take kindly to any sort of brush off. She’d heard enough stories of people crossing street gangs, and the last thing she wanted was to become another story.
Yep, I agree with Snitch there, you don’t want to become another story, but then again experiencing new and interesting things can give you new ideas and make you (including Snitch) more effective in the world. Have you done any travel, or taken any trips as a literary pilgrimage, to expand your understanding of the world, to in turn enhance how your characters see the world?
If you count traveling to a writer’s conference with my also-published wife, then perhaps so! We have traveled to multiple writers conferences together including the ACFW and the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference, as well as hopping over to Memphis for a one-day conference.
I think that counts! With so many opportunities to connect with other writers, I’m sure you’ve managed to add at least a few new ideas into the list of books that you need to write one day! Are there any books that you’re currently working on so that you can cross the idea off the ‘to write one-day’ list?
I’m about 20,000 words into the sequel, dubbed Neophyte. In the back of my head, I’m crafting key ideas for the third of that series. Don’t yet have a title for that one. I also am brainstorming a cyberpunk title that involves an AI escaping into social media.
With a novel that explores AI escaping into social media, you’ve probably done a deep dive into marketing so I’d love to know if you’ve applied any marketing techniques to create a brand around yourself as an author?
I actually have a brand logo and a slogan. “Creating new worlds and taking readers into undiscovered places”. Additionally, I have written a magnet permafree e-book prequel listed on Amazon, while also giving away another e-book prequel to those that signup for my newsletter.
What a slogan! Greg, I don’t want to distract you from taking readers into undiscovered places any longer so we’ll end the interview here. Thank you for sharing a taste of Snitch’s journey with us today, and I hope all of our excited readers take up the opportunity to snag that free prequel!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Darklight ( ASIN: B07C99CNS8 )‘.
Want to find out more about Greg L. Turnquist? Connect here!