Good day, book people. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I’m happy to welcome today’s guest, Darcia Helle, author of the Michael Sykora and Joe Cavalli Paranormal PI series, including the latest addition to the Joe Cavalli series, Out of the Darkness. If you’re like me, you often wonder just where an author comes up with these amazing and sometimes twisted stories? What inspires them? Why did they write the story the way they wrote the story? Thankfully, Ms. Helle is taking a few minutes out of her busy schedule to share with us what inspires her. I hope you’ll be inspired after reading this and grab a copy of her latest book, Out of the Darkness.
The Inspiration Behind the Stories
I’m often asked about the inspiration behind a novel. Why did I write that specific story? The answer I’m quick to give is: I write the story that speaks to me the loudest. But that doesn’t really answer the question. With twelve novels published, you’d think this would be an easy one for me. In seeking the answer, I reflected on all those books I’ve written. The pattern I found there surprised me.
In the writing world, I’m what’s known as a pantser, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. I don’t outline the plot and I don’t write character profiles. When I start writing, I don’t know what’s going to happen or who these people in my head are. I don’t create the characters or their stories; they pop into my head with something to say. The time plotter authors spend writing story outlines and character profiles is the time I spend in silence, letting my mind roam, and following where the thoughts take me.
The sum of all that, I realized, is that I don’t write with deliberate intention. I write from a place of curiosity and emotion.
Still, none of that explains why specific characters and their stories come to me when they do, demanding theirs is the story I tell. I always assumed it was random. And then, as I examined the trajectory of my writing, I realized it’s not.
The explanation as to why I write what I do at any given time is this: I write the story I need to feel, explore, and experience both psychologically and emotionally at that time.
Oddly, I had no idea this was happening. Perhaps even stranger, I don’t know how it happens.
For instance, my Michael Sykora series is dark suspense/thriller, and consequently, the writing experience is intense. The content is difficult to examine, and I’m hyper-focused. Through these stories, I explore the psychopathic mind, which fascinates me from an intellectual standpoint but also requires me to step inside that mind and feel what it’s like to be a twisted killer. This series forces me to confront the dichotomy between my natural peacenik “live and let live” personality, and the darker part of me that believes some humans lost their humanity and can’t be trusted to exist among us. While I truly love spending time with these characters, it’s an emotionally draining experience.
My Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI series is lighter in content and allows me to step outside real-world boundaries. I knew that writing these books offered me a fun diversion from a sometimes-bleak world. What I didn’t consider is that this series also provides me with a way to gain insight into the meaning of our lives, and to examine, without conscious intent, the ways in which our connections matter.
Each of my novels is sprinkled with bits of me, whether it’s an issue I needed to work through, a concept I wanted to understand, or just a feeling demanding exploration.
To further complicate my writing life, the story I think I’m writing is not always the story with which I end up. For example, when Gus from Out of the Darkness popped into my head, I thought I understood who he was. Based on that assumption, I also thought I knew where the story would go. Then, as I wrote, I realized Gus was someone different than I’d assumed him to be. As with real people, the image I saw was only a projection based on my expectation and biases. During the process of getting to know Gus, I felt and understood his complexities. Consequently, the story went in an entirely different direction.
All this took place at a level deeper than my conscious awareness. I didn’t plan for Gus to be or do anything in particular. I listened, felt, and followed where he led. When we reached the end of his journey, I looked back and realized Gus had served as a reminder for me to focus on what’s important in life, as well as to look beyond the surface.
So, if you want to know what inspired me to write Out of the Darkness, I can only say that my subconscious had something to tell me.
Darcia Helle is a Massachusetts native, who escaped the New England winters to write in the Florida sunshine. She lives with her husband in a home full of spoiled rescue animals and an occasional stray lizard. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative.
Catch Up With Ms. Helle On:
Out of the Darkness
by Darcia Helle
on Tour March 1-31, 2019
Gus wakes up in a dark void with no memory and no body. Screaming and cursing does him no good. He’s trapped, until he learns about one man who can help.
Joe Cavelli is a PI who hears ghosts, solves their murders, and sometimes fixes their personal problems. Now he finds himself pestered by an invisible, impatient, and brash amnesiac.
Solving cases for ghosts comes with a unique set of circumstances. This time, Joe can’t even claim to be investigating a murder, since Gus’s body is nowhere to be found. Together, Joe and Gus delve into Gus’s past, uncovering clues that lead to a startling conclusion.
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Enter To Win!:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Darcia Helle. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2019, and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.