Push it! Push it real good!

EileenHeadshot-2~ By Eileen Carr

One of the great things about being an author is that each new book presents an opportunity to try new things and to branch out in new directions. Over the course of my career, I’ve written in a number of different genres and used different points of view. When it came time to put together Veiled Intentions, I decided to push myself a little bit more.

I decided to write about a difficult topic. In the past, I’ve written about grief and about child abuse and about torture and violence. You would think those would have been difficult enough. They aren’t touchy subjects, though. I’m pretty sure coming out with a strong “child abuse is bad” stance isn’t going to be controversial. Islamophobia is very real in our country and elsewhere and it’s not always condemned. I have heard people say things about Muslims that would have them thrown out of polite society if they said those things about any other religious or ethnic group.

It horrified me to see an entire group of people vilified for their religious preference. I felt compelled to stand up and talk about what I believed in even if that viewpoint wasn’t going to be one hundred percent popular. It was a little scary, though. I’m not a religious scholar. My knowledge of geo-politics is not terribly sophisticated. I could get a lot of stuff wrong. I did (and do) have a very committed belief in freedom of religion, though. I am positive that that’s right. I decided to write about that.

I also decided I was tired of telling stories by starting at the beginning and following them through to the end. I’ve always struggled with structure. My drafts are an absolute mess. I know a ton of things that need to happen in the book, but am never quite sure where to put them. I decided to make that extra challenging in Veiled Intentions by hopping around a bit in the sequence of events. Using a trial as a framing event, I move back and forth through the story. That decision to put a date, time, and location as the heading for every scene? Beyond cray-cray. I’m not saying I’d never do it again, but it didn’t make my life easier. Did it help the story? I think so. It was worth the push.

I wanted more variety in the voices I used. I have as many (maybe more) teen voices in Veiled Intentions as I do adult voices. A few people have asked me why it’s not being marketed as a young adult novel. The answer to that is of course hysterical laughter over the idea that I might have any control over how a book is marketed. That aside, I hadn’t written from the perspective of a teenager before. It was another challenge to myself.

So in the end, what has been the result of all this pushing? A book of which I’m very proud and a renewal of my love for the writing process. I just finished a draft of a much more conventional story. It was super fun to write, but the next one? Well, in the next one, I’m going to tell part of the story backwards.

So who’s with me? Who wants to push a little? How are you going to do it? I’d love to hear.

Eileen Carr started writing for the worst of reasons (she thought it would be easy!) and has spent years working on her craft. In addition to writing romantic suspense and women’s fiction, she writes the award-winning Messenger series and chick lit novels as Eileen Rendahl.

Both Eileens were born in Dayton, Ohio. She moved when she was four and only remembers that she was born across the street from Baskin-Robbins. Eileen remembers anything that has to do with ice cream. Or chocolate. Or champagne.

She has had many jobs and lived in many cities and feels unbelievably lucky to be where she is now and to be doing what she’s doing. 

6 thoughts on “Push it! Push it real good!”

  1. Eileen,

    Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with structure and knowing where to place certain scenes. I can relate. I admire your decision to write about a topic that you’re passionate about and that is truly important. Way to push it!

  2. You’re proving the adage that every book you write makes you a better and stronger storyteller. I love you’re continually challenging yourself, Eileen, and challenging us as readers to see outside our sometimes very teeny boxes. Thank you for your books. 🙂

  3. I’ve always loved that Teddy Roosevelt quote about the man in the arena. When you dare greatly, whether you succeed or fail, it’s a triumph.

    Or, in other words, you go girl!

  4. I love that taking a risk and going outside your comfort zone resulted in a renewal of your love for the writing process. That’s a great lesson to share! I have several ideas that scare me to write. You’ve inspired me to do it anyway!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *