Want to learn more about a new book in a series that could become (hopefully) one of your favorites? Iâ€™ll let you know how the story started, how it developed and how it reached its unexpected ending… for me too!
Okay, I admit it. I had the basic idea forÂ The LandingÂ watching one of my favorite movies of all time: the science-fiction horror B movieÂ Pitch Black.
Mendoza, the jailbird with eyes of ice, is Riddickâ€™s twin brother. Â Captain Fryâ€”although a woman in the movieâ€”inspired Adrianâ€™s character.Â But soon Mendoza and Adrian break away from their original models and become completely different. When this happens, when the characters begin to spring to life and have their own thoughts, is the most fun, because I donâ€™t have to do anything but wait and see how the story developsâ€”and of course write it down!
I was still working onÂ The Event (Apocalypse book 1)Â when I came acrossÂ Pitch BlackÂ on a digital channel. Seeing it for the hundredth time I thought it would be nice to carry part of it into the context of the Apocalypse series. In particularÂ I was intrigued by the way the two main characters, after the disastrous spaceship landing, overcame their differences and began to work together to survive.Â This forced collaboration leads them to understand, respect and eventually take care of each other.
But there were problems. The Apocalypse series, after the disaster that hits the world becomes a fantasy, but it begins in our time and our reality, so Adrian couldnâ€™t be a spaceship pilot.Â I thought he should be an airline pilot.Â Problem was, I didnâ€™t know anything about airline pilots!
Without losing heart, I started researching.Â I read articles, trawled through websites and blogs, and watched National Geographic documentaries until I had collected a much broader documentation than the crash-landing episode I had to describe. I have also pretended to be an aspiring pilot and chatted with a nice senior pilot named Gus â€“ please Gus, I donâ€™t think youâ€™re reading this blog, but if you are, forgive me â€“ who offered me much good advice on how to become a jetliner pilotâ€¦
I enjoyed this research effort from beginning to end, but it was hard. And LONG.Â An example: in my book, the chief attendant knocks on the cockpit door. Knocks? Is this a usual practice? Also, how is a cockpit door made? Does it have a camera? A peephole?
So, there I was spending the entire afternoon trying to discover how a cockpit door is made.Â A whole afternoon, just to write a sentence!Â Then by chance I go to the movies, the film isÂ World War ZÂ (featuring a stunning Brad Pitt) and right away Brad knocks on a cockpit door, and I start to yell: â€œHERE IS THE DAMN COCKPIT DOOR!â€ while my boyfriend tries to disappear into his seat and people throw popcorn at me.
This is part of the process. It changes your thinking and you become a little like your character. But I can honestly tell you â€“ I love too much when this happens!
Yes, I even had some bad moments. I slept little, I didnâ€™t answer the phone. I neglected my friends. Â I still had my laptop on my knees at night when my boyfriend wanted to tell me about his day.Â Above all, I wished I could divide myself into two people.Â I learned how to proceed in small steps, using every free minute of the day. I even took advantage of some dead moments at workâ€”I hope my boss isnâ€™t reading this blog too :-)â€” so every time someone stormed into my office I had to fumble to close all the chats, the airplane map, the documentation, the bare-assed Vin Diesel photos, and hopefully not spill my coffee on the keyboardâ€¦ but to tell you the truth, it was worth the effort.
I loved combining two such different characters and seeing how they interacted in an extreme situation. Adrian Mesler, jet pilot and dreamer, fair, but also stubborn, and Paul Mendoza, escapee from prison, bad guy already emptied and put to the test by a sad past.Â Together they head toward an unexpected ending I had no way of predicting. I mean, I had an outline of how I wanted the story to develop, but eventually I had to throw all that away and assist, stunned, at the blazing happy ending Adrian and Mendoza procured for themselves.
Without spoiling the end, I can say it was a surprise, I loved it and it made me feel better. I hope this will happen with you as well.Â If while readingÂ The LandingÂ you have even a bit of the fun I had writing it, Iâ€™ll consider my job well done.
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