Guest Blog: Alan Kierstead

Guest Blog: Alan Kierstead

Introductions have that double-edged feel to them. Is this person worth taking the time to get to know? Are they like a well-decorated cake that you cut into and find that beautiful icing was lovingly laid atop a well-formed pile of spam? Perhaps they’re a rusty old chest filled with gems? You could always get a rusty chest filled with an iced-spam cake. I suppose it’s the mystery that makes introductions fun.

So, let me introduce myself. I’m Alan Kierstead, a not-always-well-oiled writing, chess-playing, racquetball-slamming, basketball-shooting, kid-raising machine. Sometimes I’m the iced-spam cake. I’d like to think there are a few gems inside as well. Now you know me. Sort of.

Why write? I enjoy the thrill of discovery as a new world unfolds and characters grow, but it is not like the discovery of reading. It’s more like painting a picture from what pops into your head at the strangest moments. My biggest challenge is trying not to change the picture too much half-way through the process. The biggest thrill is being able to weave a story that unfolds at just the right pace, with just the right timing and without the heavy hand of the author swooping in to save the day for his poor, unfortunate characters.

I am currently working on a fantasy novel centered on a young woman who despises her heritage until she needs the power that her ancestry provides. She is a blood witch, regarded as cursed by other blood witches and thought of as evil by the world at large. It’s an idea that slowly formed around a couple of characters that I had been developing in isolation from any particular plot. The story attempts to demonstrate how a character reacts when they discover some permanent blemish or stain on their soul.

The first draft is well underway and I expect to have it finished in the next couple of months. Then the heavy lifting begins.  That’s when I refine the story and fix all of those awkwardly worded sentences that seemed like pure genius at the time and are actually pure rubbish. Oh, and then there are the “uh-oh” moments when I discover that my protagonist was acting decidedly out of character and performed the “double-twisting-backflip maneuver” when the more simple and in-character “smile-politely maneuver” would have prevented that useless quest on which I wasted one hundred pages. It’s like finding a giant splotch of fuchsia on my lovingly crafted painting that I’d somehow overlooked. It can be quite frustrating, yet fun and challenging at the same time.

I approached this novel with the idea of self-publishing on Kindle, so I hope you’ll see it available within a few months. Thanks for dropping by and allowing me to ramble about myself and my work.