Thursday, August 31, 2017

Use What You Know by Sylvie Grayson

Roses and Readers, please join my in welcoming Sylvie Grayson to The Roses of Prose!

I’m a strong believer in using what I know when writing my books. I’ve been surprised many times by authors who write about business or sports or other pursuits but don’t seem to have the background knowledge needed to make the scenes convincing or even accurate.
When I was a child, my family moved to the North Peace River area of British Columbia. We lived on a homestead, which meant a small hand-built log cabin with no power or running water. The school in the village went to grade eight, so after that it was home schooling. I was thirteen and my younger sister nine, when I was designated to walk her the mile and a half to the bus stop to get her to class, and meet her again in the afternoon.
One morning, I had seen her onto the school bus, and turned to walk home. Our dog, Captain, was a wayward beast and had come with us, but soon ran off chasing rabbits, yipping through the trees on a fruitless quest. Walking down the road, I called him. Soon, I heard him coming, his cries getting louder as he approached. He bounded up the snowbank on the side of the road, and down onto the roadway. But he didn’t stop, running flat out across the road and up the bank on the other side, out of sight through the trees.
I soon saw why. Two large timber wolves leaped out of the bush to the top of the snowbank and paused when they saw me. I froze. We stared at each other. I thought—I’m going to die now. I ran at them, waving my arms wide to appear as large and intimidating as possible, yelling as loud as I could. They jumped down the bank, loped across the road, up the other bank and into the forest after Captain.
I truly believed we’d never see our dog again. He had been running flat out, yet these wild creatures did a leisurely lope that was at least as fast. Our dog returned home around noon. He was exhausted and slept in front of the stove for the rest of the day.
When writing False Confession, I had a real urge to include scenes from those days. It isn’t often I write about the Canadian north, the blizzards and days of snow and cold. But here was my chance. So although the book is set in Victoria, British Columbia, the characters take a trip to the northern part of the province. Here is an excerpt—
False Confession excerpt --
Surprisingly the wind was dying down but the snow continued to fall in a dense curtain all around him. After tying an orange warning tag to the truck bumper, he headed back down the road.
When he got to the driveway turn off, he spied a set of prints in the snow superimposed over his own. They looked like impressions made by a very large dog, which seemed unlikely. Dogs didn’t roam far from home in this type of weather, and these paw marks were remarkably far apart, indicating a long reach.
His gaze sharpened as he peered through the thick fall of snow. The tracks led straight down the drive toward the cabin. As he got closer, he saw movement ahead of him and stopped where he stood as his gut clenched. A tall, mottled grey shape paced sinuously past the front door of the cabin and turned toward the woodpile. A thick ruff around its neck and nose to the ground, the wolf moved with purpose as it explored their tracks in the snow.
Alex froze. What should he do now? Was he in danger? Was the animal hungry enough to consider him dinner? He waited, anxious, as the wolf changed direction and patrolled back toward the front door. Glory had better not choose that moment to open the door and look out, because who knew what her reaction would be, or what would happen then.
He moved forward a dozen feet, heart hammering in his chest, as the wolf raised its head and stared directly at him. They both remained immobile. Then the wolf turned and trotted noiselessly behind the woodpile and into the woods.
Alex ploughed his way steadily toward the cabin door through the heavy snowfall, keeping an eye on the spot where the wolf had disappeared. The light was dull as night approached, and he needed to get inside.
Lungs labouring, he reached the door and stepped through, slamming it behind him and throwing the latch. He paused to catch his breath and allow his heart rate to slow.
Better not tell Glory about that encounter. She was already nervous as hell about their precarious situation.
Back blurb—False Confession
Did Glory fall for the wrong man, or is someone lying?
Music teacher Glory has given up on men, with good reason. Then she meets the handsome lead guitar player in the band she has just joined.
Alex, body builder and construction foreman, is determinedly single because he’s given up on women. But that’s before he meets the keyboard player who just joined his brother’s rock band. Suddenly his interest is revived and he goes on a crusade to gain Glory’s attention.
But when Alex disappears and the police claim they have a confession giving damning evidence against him, Glory has to make a decision. Can she trust the man she’s fallen for, or has she been fooled into believing a lie?
Buy link for Amazon -


Leah St. James said...

Welcome, Sylvie! It's great to have you with us! What an interesting childhood, so many rich memories to incorporate into your stories. I would have been petrified to see a wolf and never would have though to go on the offensive like that. I'm so glad Captain made it home safely! Love the excerpt and how you've described the snow and cold (which reminds me once again why I moved from the northeast to southern Virginia!) and the wolf. I felt myself pushing back in my chair when Alex encountered it! :-) Wishing you much success with the book!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Glad to have you here Sylvie. Few are aware how vast and hardscrabble life can be in B.C. We would travel in our boat every summer to the B.C.coastal hinterlands, happy to put down anchor in places without homes or other boats in sight. I never saw a timber wolf; glad you survived the experience and could use it as a key scene to raise suspense in your novel. Good luck with your book!

Jannine Gallant said...

Loved your story about the wolf encounter. I've met plenty of coyotes and bears in the woods around Tahoe, but at least we don't have wolves! Best of luck with your book.

Sylvie Grayson said...

Thank you all, and thanks for having me on Roses of Prose. Yes, it is fun to include events from your past in your writing. I find it gives it authenticity and often a lot of humour!

Best, Sylvie

20Pat said...

Hi Sylvia

I agree that mixing personal life and interests makes for more interesting and accurate fiction. I can just see you as a child scaring away a wolf. I chose a friendlier approach as a small child but that's another story. Your book sounds interesting. And now I'm off to buy....

Sylvie Grayson said...

Thanks so much for your comment, Pat. Hope you enjoy the story,
Take care, Sylvie

Diane Burton said...

Welcome to The Roses of Prose. That was a scary episode with your dog and the wolves. I'm glad you were able to use that event in your story. Best wishes.

Reggi Allder said...

Hi Sylvie,
I agree it is important to write what you know. Loved your exciting story about you and your sister and the wolves. What an adventure just to get to school! Best wishes with your book!

Sylvie Grayson said...

Hi Reggi,
Thanks so much for dropping by the blog. Best wishes with your writing, as well. Regards, Sylvie