Posted by Literary Titan
Boone & Jacque: Saddleton’s Secret follows two young boys that fall into a mysterious room and seek to discover the secrets their town holds. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Life has always been interesting to me. In my life I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve been in rivers, huge culverts under roads, been up close to magnificent animals, traveled globally, helped others in ways that allowed me to develop connections I thought I would never make. My mother passed away nearly 7 years ago. My father was in a car accident when I was 8. He is still alive and well. I tore my left achilles tendon. Was out of work for over a year and stuck on a couch because I couldn’t afford to do anything besides finish my Bachelors in Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I’ve been through heartaches of all kinds. Kicked out people from my life that I thought were toxic. Endured labor intensive jobs to get through school. Took different career paths before setting on becoming a writer for a living. A Rottweiler made a run at my dog like he wanted to kill him. So I picked him up and ran. Even with all of that, I know life will continue to surprise me.
Which is why I set up Boone and Jacque in an organized yet chaotic fashion. For example, with the under ground room, the first time they go in, it looks like it goes nowhere but the boys believe it can. Which is why they return to this place often. They believe in seeing things as gray. Whereas others see things for what they are. Life has always been gray for me. I question everything, do a lot of self reflection, meditation, anything to keep myself grounded while simultaneously setting myself free.
In other words, I set up Boone and Jacque in a way that introduces who they are and who I am as a writer and human being.
Boone and Jacque go through some dramatic changes through the novel. What were some driving ideals behind your characters’ development?
Going into the process of writing this series from the beginning, I had no idea where the characters would go in terms of their growth. I knew some would progress greatly at an earlier rate of their character arc than others. Jacque changed drastically before Boone because even though he is far more timid than Boone, Boone is far more naïve and hands on. Jacque is an avid reader, brought up by a foster family that made sure he only read intellectual material. In addition, Jacque is more self aware.
I have an organic way of writing that some writers would roll their eyes at. I do plan and come up with a storyline, but I don’t plan step by step then start writing. I come up with a rough storyline after having created character sheets, and then I start writing. When I finish working on a chapter, I get up and look at my bulletin board. I see where I’ve stopped and what I wrote next as an idea for the following chapter then ask myself: “Does this work for my characters’ current progression?” or “Do I need to press pause on my main characters growth and focus on a secondary character that could further the main character’s arc? Do I need to flesh them out more?”
In addition, if I’m trouble picturing a scene or setting, I will get up and act out the scene. Then I go to my whiteboard and draw the setting. Pin pointing where the characters are and where I want them to go.
You see, the thing that is so important about character, is making sure that the world you create connects well with the character. Otherwise, it is a pointless yet beautiful tapestry that serves no purpose to the story.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
There were two themes I wanted to focus on.
- The importance of learning from life and what the universe has planned for us. Because although parents and peers can certainly help with guiding us in the right path when we are young and misguided, those lessons are still coming from someone else. Not to say you shouldn’t listen to your parents or peers. I’m saying listen to them but understand that life has no plan set in stone and will throw stuff at you that others can’t prepare you for. You have to take life as it comes and deal with it with respect, instinct, patience, and understanding.
- Self acceptance. This one is a bit more layered. Because I couldn’t show this theme by having all the characters accept themselves for who they are right away. In fact, in the first book of Boone and Jacque, they have no idea who they are. They’re just kids. But they do realize that in order to survive chaos, they have to trust themselves and each other. They may not know who they are yet, but they know they can trust each other.
There are other themes of course. Such as greed, corruption, parental neglect, alcoholism, jealousy, etc. But those were not the focus of the story. Because they were meant to be these colors that made the adults seem careless and inattentive to the children’s cries for safety and love. I needed the children to be left to themselves so they could learn how to survive without the help of parents or adults. To know what it feels like to have to think for yourself and confront your fears head on. Because in the end, the person who is most afraid of their fears, is you. You have to ask yourself, how can I use my fear to do better in life? Have the people I want in my life that will help me grow as a person. Have the career I’ve always wanted. The lifestyle that is best for me. Live in a place that can help me grow as a person.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on book 4 of Boone and Jacque. Subtitle being Cytrus Moonlight. Boone and Jacque are in their 30’s, living in a new town called Cytrus. Jacque’s uncle, Leon Arnaud, has been murdered and Jacque wants to find out who did it and why. But as he starts investigating, he realizes nearly everyone is involved. Not to mention psychedelic drugs have been disguised as sugar and dumped into the small towns water reservoir. And Boone makes special mail deliveries for the detective agency Jacque works at as special cases detective. That’s all I’ll say for now. It is far richer than you think. Also, it is far more mature and contains subject matter that is not for young readers. However, it is still fun, surprising, chaotic, but delves deep into the characters minds and souls.
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