Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal (http://bit.ly/1mMT6ZC). The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/1j3axVk) and Crossquarter.com. Visit the author's website: douglasarvidson.com
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Comtemplating Violence in My Writing, Living on the Edge: Driving a Prius
Here's the almost-final cover for the next book in my fantasy trilogy, due out momentarily. As you can see, it pictures a sword-wielding young woman engulfed in flames. Hmm. And the back cover blurb is a short excerpt from a pretty violent scene in the book wherein my hero, Sonoria, must fight a vast army of warriors in the dark while surrounded by fire and hundreds of mirrors.
And, while this is happening, my publisher is re-issuing the first book in the trilogy, The Face in Amber, with a new cover. This is allowing me to make some changes to the text and I'm now re-editing the entire manuscript. While the book has received pretty good reviews from readers (see Amazon.com-The Eye of the Stallion), friends have told me (wife) that the Prologue is a turn off because of the violence. I have actually heard her tell potential readers to not give up on the book because of the Prologue. When I told my publisher my concerns about it and that I was thinking of dropping it she said, "Excellent."
So, I guess that settles it: the Prologue in Book I goes and we'll either start with a new, shorter and and more invite-the-reader-in beginning, or I'll just start with Chapter I. But this whole thing begs the question of how much violence and what sort of violence is appropriate and when does it become gratuitous. As a former educator whose still-young students follow my writing, should I have kept things toned down? I admit that some of the violence in these books is pretty graphic but it is not gratuitous and is in line with what kids are witnessing in movies and some children's literature (look at the Brothers Grimm and their classic tales).
And as far as living on the edge, I'm driving our 2009 Prius on a major road trip, leaving this morning. I'm going to Norfolk to meet Terry at the airport and then out to Lynchburg in the Blue Ridge Mountains to get my new guitar (Martin D-21 Special Edition) and then on up to D.C. where I'll spend ten days writing and hanging out in the city while Terry goes to meetings. The key word here is PRIUS and everyone knows what the issues are here. While my model is not on the recall list, there have apparently been acceleration problems with with at least two models not on that list. My fingers are crossed.
So, the Prius not withstanding, my next entry here will be from the nation's capitol and I'm looking forward to being back there with great anticipation.