About two years ago, I decided to pen my first suspense novel titled The Prey. I did so at the prompting of two friends who always encouraged me to stretch myself. Prior to writing The Prey, I’d written romance novels and so suspense proved to be a new challenge for me. To offer a little history The Prey is the story of J. Carter Woodson, who is stalked relentlessly by Asha Carrington.
I can remember as I began writing The Prey, I had to go to some pretty dark places in my imagination in order to effectively create and develop the personality of Asha Carrington. It wasn’t until I attended a presentation of the Hollywood Costumes at our Fine Arts Museum that I really understood what was happening to me as I wrote.
At the presentation, accompanying each costume was a small placard describing the outfit and who had worn it. Along the walls were larger signs offering more detailed information about the movie represented by the costume. One of the signs revealed what I found to be enlightening information. It talked about how the actors and actresses often weren’t able to channel the character they were playing until they put on the costume. After reading that information, as I said earlier, I understood what was happening when I wrote.
Just as the actors have to channel or become their characters in order to effectively portray their role, I was unknowingly doing the same thing. I will admit, becoming Asha Carrington was a tab bit uncomfortable as she is the opposite of my personality. Even now as I work on the sequel to The Prey, at times I have to break for long periods to regain my balance.
Shortly after attending the Hollywood Costume presentation, I was talking with a group of women about how seeing the costume worn by Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain gave me a sense of sadness. One of the ladies stated, Heath contacted Jack Nicholson prior to filming his role as the Joker in The Dark Night and Nicholson warned him to be careful. Apparently when he, too, played the Joker, Nicholson had to go to a very dark place and had trouble coming out.
I now have a new found respect for writers of both novels and screenplays. We are often teased about having people who live in our heads and I guess we do. It takes talent to bring those characters to life on paper and the big screen and maintain who we are as a person. So, if you’ve ever wondered if the people in the mind of a writer talk to us, now you know they do. And you also know, we really do channel or bring them to life, that’s how characters in books and on the big screen seem so real – in the mind of their creator, they really are.
Savannah J, she adds a little sass in every page.
The Prey is currently available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook. Just look for The Prey by Savannah J.