CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper/Fiction writer, poet, photographer, & painter. CRC Blog is an INCLUSIVE & NON-PROFIT BLOG acknowledging ALL voices –ALL political views, ALL philosophies, ALL religions, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Judaism, Agnostic, Atheist, etc. ALL Individuals LGBTQ & individuals from everywhere in the world. She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice & completed her workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing. She lives in St. Louis.
Monday, June 1, 2020
Owen Mullen’s IN HARM’S WAY is #164 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION
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****Owen Mullen’s IN HARM’S WAY is #164 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt. All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTIONlinks are at the end of this piece
Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? In Harm’s Way...the original title was Stranger With A Grudge. When I began writing this book I quickly realised it had more than one story to it and the title was changed
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction?Started writing in January of 2018 and completed June 2018
Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? I now write almost anywhere but at this point it had to be the studio every day – just me, the pc and the view
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on the laptop; specific time of day? Again, habits change over time but some things tend to be standard, like: I almost always have a coffee, herbal tea, or soda water on the go. No music [unless I’m writing in the main house and Christine has her exercise/yoga sounds going]. I always plot on paper and write directly to pc. For this book, I was in situ from 9am until around 4pm when I would start edits and next day’s plotting.
Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as references. This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.
Mackenzie walked on the grass at the side of the road. Behind her buried in the traffic noise she heard male voices, though she wasn’t able to make out what they were saying. Thirty yards further on they were closer. Surely their bigger stride would take them past? She slowed to let them. When they didn’t, she quickened her step. It didn’t make sense. They should’ve overtaken her by now. Maybe they felt as uncomfortable as she did.
But the voices were still there. Indistinct. Louder. In the middle of the afternoon there was no one around. She was alone.
Suddenly, a pleasant walk had become something else, something scary and sinister, and she was afraid. Her heart pounded in her chest. Her throat was dry. She broke into a run.
A mocking laugh died in the air.
Or did she imagine it?
When she couldn’t run any further she stopped, panting and exhausted, too spooked to look round. At first, there was nothing. No footsteps. No conversation. She breathed a sigh of relief, glad Adele wasn’t there to witness her overreaction to what was probably the wind in the trees. The explanation was obvious and she almost blushed. She’d underestimated the effect of coming off booze. Added to the strain of her marriage her nerves were stretched to breaking point. That was it. A smile tugged the corners of her mouth. Christ, what an idiot.
Then she heard it again. Closer.
Mackenzie screwed up her courage and spun round. It wasn’t two men, it was one man, the one in the black coat from the supermarket, talking to himself.
She stepped back and stumbled on the verge, almost falling under a passing car. The startled driver pulled into the middle of the road, nearly crashing into a van in the other lane. Both vehicles blasted their horns and raced on. She felt faint. For a moment she thought she was going to pass out. Nobody had believed her but they were wrong. It was him.
He was real.
He tilted his head and smiled. Mackenzie got to her feet and faced him. ‘Who are you? What do you want?’
The man in the black coat stared unblinking and didn’t answer.
Mackenzie screamed at him. ‘Who the hell are you?’
Nothing except a slow smile.
‘Get away from me, d’you hear?’
He didn’t move.
She tried to hail a passing car.
When that didn’t work, Mackenzie Crawford did the only thing left: she ran. And this time she didn’t stop.
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? I had to speak to people who’d experienced the kind of problems dealt with in this book, at times what they told me was challenging to listen to. This particular passage was especially difficult for me because this actually happened to my wife. (Left) While I was writing I could taste her fear and was damned by my helplessness to save her. Not comfortable. Not at all.
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? Because I write straight to pc I’m afraid I don’t have any rough drafts but I’ve included a picture of me during an initial plotting session.
There were no deletions from this particular book. However, the story had already been written into a book from the Charlie Cameron series and had to be stripped from there and re-written without Charlie. This was the point where I decided to keep DI Andrew Geddes as the investigating police officer to the delight of the Charlie fans.
Bestselling author Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.
Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London, and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter. He had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; He still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colorful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where Owen writes.