Sunday, January 13, 2019

#010 Inside the Emotion of Fiction's THE OTHER TWIN by Kristine Goodfellow

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****Kristine Goodfellow’s The Other Twin is the tenth in a 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 FICTION links 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?   My most recent novel is called The Other Twin. The title came to me while writing a different novel called The Tributary. Although the two books are not part of a series, they take place in the same small midwestern city and characters from both books have brief interactions with each other. 
While writing a critical scene in The Tributary, I sensed that there was a compelling storyline (or backstory) about the secondary characters I was describing. After a little thought, I believed that those characters’ captivating stories needed to be told in their own right. The idea for The Other Twin began to form in my mind.

Fiction genre?  Ex science fiction, short story, fantasy novella, romance, drama, crime, plays, flash fiction, historical, comedy, movie script, screenplay, etc.  And how many pages long?   The Other Twin is contemporary romantic fiction. It can also be categorized as ‘New Adult.’ The characters are in their early twenties and are figuring out their places in the world. The story shows how upbringing and background may affect a person’s self-image, spiritual beliefs, and moral compass. The characters see and internalize their current circumstances having been molded by their past experiences which are vastly different from one another.
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction?   I began writing The Other Twin in late 2010. I finished a very rough draft of the manuscript in 2011, but it wasn’t edited and publishable until 2018. I immediately loved the story! It unfolded itself in my imagination as though I were watching a movie. When I finished, I had fallen in love with the main characters. I knew I could never get those characters out of my mind and heart. However, I set it aside and went to work on my next novel. If I feel compelled to write a new story, I follow that compulsion. Consequently, all my time and attention go into the new story. When that task is finished, I’ll set it aside and return to the previous manuscript. Having that separation, I’m able to read the old manuscript with fresh eyes. This allows new ideas and scenes to flow more freely from my imagination. As a rule, I try to always finish one manuscript before I begin a new one, but that doesn’t mean it’s been edited, polished, and finalized. It just means the main storyline is on paper (or in this case on the computer) as a whole, complete idea. This process works for me and I still use it.
Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  And can you please include a photo?   I wrote The Other Twin at home in Abilene, Texas. We moved from that house in 2012 (Right). I wish I’d taken pictures of my desk area, but at the time, I didn’t think about documenting my writing space in pictures. I wish I would have! I didn’t have a designated office at that time. The house was open-concept and had a ‘great room.’ The kitchen opened right up into the family room, separated by a long counter with barstools. The formal dining room was on the far side of the room and a formal living room was separated by a wide entry or a ‘breeze way’ that led from the front door, straight to the French doors that opened onto a big patio. While writing The Other Twin, my desk was in the family room area. My desk faced into the room, but there was a large window on my right that overlooked the backyard.
I liked being with the family while they were watching TV or working on their laptops etc. There’s something good about being physically present even if I’m lost in my own world of fiction. I always use headphones when I write, so I managed to block out any television noise. (Right:  The Goodfellow Family in 2018.  Copyright permission granted by Kristine Goodfellow for this CRC Blog Post Only)

During this time, my oldest son was a college freshman in South Dakota and I truly missed his presence! My husband, myself, and our younger son lived in a small town in West Texas. If you’ve ever read the book or seen the movie Friday Night Lights, what is described is not an exaggeration. We lived it! At the time I was writing The Other Twin, my younger son played high school football which meant if he wasn’t playing, he was lifting weights, running, or practicing (sometimes twice a day). Looking back, that period of my life was like a dress rehearsal for an empty nest. Although, I still was able to hug my youngest child every day, look into his eyes every afternoon, and kiss him goodnight, I was well aware I only had one more year with a child in the house. I didn’t want to miss any of it. Writing took a backseat to football. Once, I waited in line for three and half hours, in the blazing sun, to get tickets to my own son’s game—that’s how serious high school football is in Abilene, Texas. So, writing The Other Twin took a little more time than some of my other books due to both military spouse commitments and family obligations.
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 laptop; specific time of day?   I have my laptop connected to a large monitor, so it works like a desktop computer, but is portable if need be. I always listen to music while writing or editing. I listen to all kinds of music. Most of the time, I put my playlists on shuffle and let it go from classical to rock to showtunes. Although I have never been officially diagnosed, I’m relatively sure I have ADD (inattentive type). If I do not have my headphones on and music playing, my mind wonders away from the task at hand. My imagination knows no bounds and without music to force me concentrate, my mind jumps quickly from one musing to another. Music also effects my mood so if I’m writing an emotional scene and need more inspiration—I’ll find some angsty music to help me. Same goes for happy, joyful scenes etc. Listening to loud-ish music on headphones must be a coping mechanism. I discovered this method while writing papers in college.

I also like to have plenty of caffeine on hand—mostly Diet Coke, but sometimes coffee. I work better if I have not eaten a large meal, so I graze throughout the day while I’m writing. A mixture of walnuts and dates or salty-sweet trail mix sitting on my desk gets through the day and helps me resist the temptation of pulling out a bag of chips and jar of salsa and vegging out in front of the TV. If I can nibble something while writing, I’ll stay focused.
I am a night owl. My creativity seems to slip into high gear after ten o’clock. I used to stay up until three or four o’clock in the morning while deep in the throes of writing. I have not done that recently. Maybe it’s age. My brain starts lagging about one o’clock and I know it is time to get some sleep. (Left: Kristine Goodfellow in her Montgomery, Alabama neighborhood at the time.  November 2014.  Copyright permission granted by Kristine Goodfellow for this CRC Blog Post Only)
What is the summary of this specific fiction work?   Twin brothers, Matt and Luke Ramsey, aged out of the foster care system a few years back.  Since then, they've survived on the streets.  Being homeless is hard enough, but Luke has the added obligation of taking care of his mute, learning-disabled brother.  he tries to make a "home" for him and a few of their friends in an abandoned leather factory.  One night, a fire rips through the warehouse.  Several people lose their lives - including Luke.  The tragedy leaves Matt alone in a threatening world that he struggles to understand.  Matt is devastated by losing the brother who'd interpreted for him, spoke for him, and helped him navigate a very confusing street culture.  He thinks about giving up and killing himself in order to be united with the only person he's ever loved - until he meets Cassie Boden.  Immediately, Matt is drawn to the young social worker.  He quickly falls in love with her.  When Cassie tries to rescue Matt rom the street life, she learns Matthew is not the man he appears to be at all.    
Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the (Below) excerpt?   After losing his twin brother in a tragic fire, Matt Ramsey is trying to navigate the world on his own. One day, the weather turns deadly and he and a friend need to find shelter.  She leads him to her boyfriend’s place—a known crack house. Matt ends up getting his coat stolen and being thrown out of the house in the below zero windchill. Depressed and struggling with his circumstances, he decides to purposefully freeze to death in order to join his brother. However, while staying in a homeless shelter right after the fire, he met and connected with a pretty, young social worker. He quickly became infatuated with her and it’s the thought of being with her again that keeps him from losing his will to survive.

The Other Twin
Print Edition: Chapter 4
Pages 48-53

Matt plopped down on the filthy couch and closed his eyes for a moment. Coming here was a mistake. I don’t want to stay. I wonder if there’s a way I can get back to Builder’s Mission. It’s starting to get dark. I don’t think I should walk back now.
After a while, his eyelids became heavy.
A bang and crash on the wall behind him startled him from a dreamless sleep.
Purrell screamed, “Stop, Todd! Please!”
“Then tell me where you’ve been! Quit lying!”
A series of thumps preceded more pleas for him to stop hitting her. Matt rushed to the bedroom. After twisting the doorknob and finding it locked, he slammed his shoulder into the door. The wood splintered, separating the lock from the frame.
Todd, still gripping Purrell’s arm, spun around and faced him. Matt hit him between the eyes. Todd flew back onto the mattress. Purrell fell to the floor. Matt picked her up and deposited her on her feet.
“Matt! Look out!” Purrell pointed right behind him. He turned around. One of Todd’s friends swung a long strip of corrugated aluminum from a broken shelving unit, aiming straight for his head. Matt ducked but received a partial blow.
Purrell yelled, “Watch out!”
Todd jumped on him from behind, knocking him off balance. Matt pulled him from his back and landed a solid punch to Todd’s stomach. Todd dropped to the ground. The other guy swung the strip of aluminum again. Matt blocked the blow with his arm. Searing bolts of pain radiated from his forearm to his fingers. Matt snatched the strip and tossed it aside.
Another man hurried into the bedroom and wrapped his arms around Matt’s legs throwing  him to the ground.
Todd wiped the blood dripping from his nose and mouth with the back of his hand. “You stupid sonofabitch!” He kicked Matt in the ribs. The excruciating blow made him gasp in futility trying to fill his lungs with air. He unsteadily rose to his feet. Just as he regained his balance, the other two men grabbed Matt’s arms and held them behind his back. While they restrained him, Todd took the opportunity to pummel him.
“Todd, no! You’ll kill him! Stop! You’re going to kill him! Do you want to go to prison?”
“Fine.” Todd spit blood onto the shag carpet. “Get the hell out of here, you freak.”
Matt’s ears buzzed from the blows to the head. Pain seared his ribs; his arm throbbed. The knuckles on his right hand swelled and turned red and purple. He clutched Purrell’s sleeve to lead her out of the house.
Todd laughed. “What do you think you’re doing? She’s not going with you. She’s coming to Sioux Falls with us.”
Matt questioned Purrell with his eyes.
“I’m fine.” Her nose dribbled blood. A blue bruise gleamed from her cheek. “Just leave, okay?”
He shook his head and grabbed her hand.
She yanked away from him. “Don’t touch me, Matt! Leave! Go on! Get out of here!”
He pushed past the other men and returned to the living room. On his way to the door, he grabbed his coat from the couch. Someone he’d never seen before swiped the coat out of his hands. Matt shoved the guy and yanked it back. Todd hurried into the living room. He snatched the coat from Matt. “You go, Freak. Your coat stays.” He tossed the coat to the other guy. “It’s his now.”
Matt stomped toward Todd.
Todd pointed a pistol at him, cocked the hammer. “You doubt my swagger, Freak?”
Matt raised his hands and backed up until he reached the door.
Purrell tried to pull the coat from the other guy. “Give him his coat back, Mead! He’ll freeze to death! Give him his coat!” The men laughed at her attempt to yank the coat from Mead’s fingers.
Matt turned around and stepped out into the frigid air. The door slammed behind him. Matt stood in the dark—hurt, bleeding, and terrified of being all alone. He flipped up the hood of his sweatshirt, shoved his hands into his front pockets and hurried down the snow and ice covered sidewalk. What do I do now? Where am I supposed to go? Oh, god! How would Luke handle this? He’d probably say Purrell had made a stupid choice to go to Todd’s. He’d be right. But, I made an even worse choice to go with her.
After a couple blocks, Matt’s fingers and toes burned. His nose felt as if it could snap off any second. His lungs rebelled with every breath. His whole body hurt.
Matt’s vision began to blur from heavy frost forming on his lashes. He tried to pick up the pace while searching for shelter—any protection from the elements.
In his haste, he strode over a patch of ice. His feet came out from under him and he crashed to the ground. The back of his head hit the frozen sidewalk
Dizzy, he sat up and cupped his hand over the painful goose egg starting to form. I can’t do this. I don’t want to walk any farther. Dammit! Why did you go back into the fire, brother? That was a stupid choice, too! I just want to die and be with you again. I hate being here all alone.
Matt’s breath came out in short bursts of gray mist as he shivered on the frozen sidewalk. His mind dredged up a painful memory of something Luke had told him when they were thirteen.
They’d run away from a foster home situated right outside the city limits. A ‘warm’ 50-degree day in mid-January had lured their foster parents out of the house. In the nine months the boys had been there, their guardians rarely left together. One of them always stayed behind to make sure the twins kept working in the sorting room of their ‘family-run’ recycling center. Matt and Luke hadn’t been allowed a meal in forty-eight hours.
The boys exited through the back door wearing backpacks filled with cans of food, a can opener, and half a loaf of bread. They each carried a small plastic grocery sack filled with all their clothes. To avoid being caught, they journeyed to Rapid City through the woods rather than the main road.
 The majestic pine trees in the Black Hills were unusually still; not even a breeze blew through their icicle-draped branches. White clouds drifted aimlessly in an azure Dakota sky. Sunlight glittered on the carpet of snow where prisms appeared in small puddles caused by melting icicles.
The twins had no idea that the warm weather predicated a fast-moving cold front. Before long, menacing clouds smothered the brilliant blue sky. Heavy snowflakes coated the teenagers as they trudged to the city in hopes of finding shelter for the night. As soon as they emerged from the woods and neared the freeway that would lead them to the city, the wind began to howl, slowing their progress.
Matt had wanted to rest, but Luke wouldn’t let him.
“No! Get up! We need to keep walking. I’m cold and tired, too, but we can’t stop. If we sit down, our body temperatures will drop. Moving around helps keep your blood circulating. If you sit down, Matty, you’ll fall asleep and freeze to death.”

Almost ten years later, Matt contemplated surrendering—curling-up somewhere and falling asleep. He stepped off the sidewalk and headed to a nearby fence. He sat down and hugged his knees to his chest, hoping he’d fall asleep quickly. But—
His mind would not rest. He recalled how Cassie clutched his arm—how their eyes met and within that incredible moment something intense passed between them. She’d pulled him into her warm embrace. That sincere hug had brought him back from total despair. He pinched his eyes shut and pictured her warm, disorganized apartment complete with stacks of magazines, piles of clothes, scattered shoes, and a kitchen sink filled with dishes. He couldn’t help but smile at the memory of her ‘clearing off the table’ so they could eat dinner. Suddenly, he did not want to die.  I need to get back to Builder’s. I bet she’s there.
Matt returned to the sidewalk. He’d decided to keep going for as long as his body let him continue. His teeth chattered; he was in severe pain, but somehow Cassie’s memory managed to make a brief smile come to his lips.
Full-time teacher (and part-time snowplow driver) Finnian Howard, rubbed his tired eyes. His plowing-shift had just ended when he noticed a man walking alone, fighting against the wind. What the…? Why is he outside in weather like this? The wind chill is below zero! My God! He doesn’t have a coat! He stopped the plow and rolled down the window.
“What the hell are you doing out here? Where’s your coat?” Oh, man! Someone has beaten the hell out of him.
The young man used a couple of sign-language words.
“Oh, you’re deaf? Can you read lips?”
The man’s shoulders sagged but he nodded.
“Were you in a car accident? You’re bleeding. Get in.” He reached across the seat and opened the door. “Hurry! You’re letting in all the cold.”
The young man hopped inside and slammed the door. Finnian turned on the interior lights. “Do you need to go to the hospital? Or the police station?”
His eyes grew wide; he vehemently shook his head.
“Here.” Finnian handed him a box of tissues. “You’re bleeding right there.” He pointed at his forehead. “What’s your name? Where are you going on a night like this?”
Finnian opened his glove box and dug around until he found a Sharpie. “Here.” He handed him the pen and a used brown lunch sack.
He wrote: My name is Matt. I was going to my friend Cassie’s. Got jumped going through a bad neighborhood. They stole my coat.
“Where does your friend live?”
“157 Main Street. Above Tennison Law Office.” After he’d shown Finnian what he’d written, he took back the sack and added: Don’t tell anyone she lives above the lawyer.
“You were going to walk to Main Street from here?”
He wrote: I didn’t have a choice. Someone was supposed to give me a ride, but he didn’t.
“All right. I can get you there.” Finnian cast sideways glances at him. “Do you want to write down what happened? Did you get a good look at the men who jumped you?”
The young man shook his head; his eyes filled with tears. He stared out the passenger side window for the rest of the journey across town.
Finnian stopped in front of the correct address. “Are you sure she’s home?”
He nodded before using a sign-language word that Finnian assumed meant: Thank you.
Before he opened the door to the building, the young man smiled sadly and waved to him.
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt?   The story takes place in Rapid City, South Dakota, a place we called home for six and a half years. We loved it there. My children were in elementary school. For a service project, we volunteered once a month to serve at a homeless shelter/soup kitchen called Cornerstone. The people who ran it were wonderful. They were always happy to have children volunteer. My kids were given tasks such as rolling silverware up in paper napkins and setting them on the tables. 
Every time we volunteered, the number of young people disturbed me. I wanted to know their stories. I wanted to know the circumstances that brought them to the shelter, but I respected their privacy and didn’t ask too many questions. One day, I asked one of shelter workers why there were so many teens and young adults who came through the dinner line. She sighed and told me that although each story is different, one thing seemed to be a common denominator for most of the influx of youth needing services. She said, “The foster care system is broken and many are the victims of case mismanagement and severe lack of proper foster homes.” I learned that many of them had either aged out of the system at age eighteen, or they were runaways from abusive or neglectful homes. It’s been many years since we worked at Cornerstone, but I never forgot those kids. The Tributary and The Other Twin come from my experiences at the shelter in the mid-1990s and also from working in the family court system years later.  I have so much admiration and respect for the people who help troubled young people.
I believe we are supposed to use our talents to help—to make a difference somehow.

My intent is to use my writing ability to call attention to the problem of homeless young adults. I especially want to humanize the victims and give people a chance to contemplate uncomfortable portions of our society by giving them a different perspective—one with which they might identify. (Left:  Kristine Goodfellow's Louisiana home office.  Copyright permission granted by Kristine Goodfellow for this CRC Blog Post only)

Other works you have published?
Phantom: Edge of the Flame
Mansion on Butcher Lake
The Tributary
Frankenstein: The Missing Chapter
The Gift of Winter
Command Performance  

Kristine Goodfellow is an American author who writes in the genres of Gothic Romance, Supernatural Suspense,, Psychological Drama, and Contemporary Fiction.

After graduating from Cal State, Sacramento with a BA in Psychology, she's lived in New Mexico, Texas, California, Arizona, South Dakota, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  Presently, Kristine resides in Louisiana with her husband and two cats.  She also has two sons who are out of the nest and establishing their own careers.
Kristine has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember.  A born storyteller, she started entertaining friends with verbal stories long before she began putting pen to paper.  Eventually, she was able to put her abundance of imagination to good use.  She finished her first full-length manuscript in 2001, and her first book was published in 2011.  As of 2018, seven of Kristine Goodfellow's novels are published and available for purchase. 

Always creating new characters and being bombarded by new story ideas, she never lacks for something to do.  Kristine is currently working on her eighth manuscript.

Kristine is a big fan of period dramas, and adores mini-series of classic novels.  She loves vintage films starring big personalities like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.  Whether reading books or watching old movies, Kristine has the habit of making up alternative endings and/or backstories for secondary characters.


001   11 15 2018 Nathaniel Kaine’s
Thriller Novel
John Hunter – The Veteran

002   11 18 2018 Ed Protzzel’s
The Antiquities Dealer 

003   11 23 2018 Janice Seagraves’s
Science Fiction Romance
Exodus Arcon

004   11 29 2018 Christian Fennell’s
Literary Fiction Novel
The Fiddler in the Night

005  12 02 2018 Jessica Mathews’s
Adult Paranormal Romance
Death Adjacent

006  12 04 2018 Robin Jansen’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Ruby the Indomitable

007  12 12 2018  Adair Valerez’s
Literary Fiction Novel

008  12 17 218 Kit Frazier’s
Mystery Novel
Dead Copy

009 12 21 2019 Robert Craven’s
Noir/Spy Novel
The Road of a Thousand Tigers

010 01 13 2019 Kristine Goodfellow’s
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
The Other Twin

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