As I continue to take a deep dive into writing the sequel to False Hope, I find I get lost in the idea of writing a perfect story. There is no such thing, of course, but the expectation to write a better or equally enthralling tale hangs steadily over my head. I bat at it to get it away, but it returns ready to study over my shoulder and comment on the already hashed out plot or dialogue. “Why is she saying that?” or, “Who is THAT?!”
It’s a never-ending battle between the imaginary hangers-on who trod on my words and try valiantly to fool me up, and my characters’ wills to be authentic and allow their voices to be heard over all the objections. It’s a little crazy over in here.
I plod on; however, some days are better than others. On the days I feel the weight of eyes following my fingers over the keyboard, I tend to meander over to an online puzzle to divert the attention. Sometimes it works, but often it ends up in time wasted doing puzzles instead of figuring out dialogue. My characters end up hanging around in unfinished scenes. It’s like they’re suspended in mid-air and mid-sentence unsure as to where to go next or how to get out of there until I write them out. They’re standing around waiting for the writer to get them moving on or something big to happen. “Oh, boy here we go again she’s gone over to the puzzles and left us here stranded in the woods with crickets and ne’er-do-wells about. Could be a long night,” they say, and tap their watches and stomp their feet.
That’s how I imagine them, anyway. I try to finish an entire chapter so no one is left waiting for me to decide if they live or die, move on, or move out, or just plain eat the sandwich they bought a few paragraphs ago. Characters live in my head an on my screen. I can’t just leave them hanging, that wouldn’t be fair.
The perfect story is far from perfect or complete. Yet. I’m battling COVID fatigue, procrastination, and online puzzles to get a few chapters out. In the meantime, I will do my best to get these people to bend to my will and to say what they need despite the expectation of perfection hanging around. He’ll have to wait it out and stop nagging if any real writing is to get done.
My name is Julien Hill. If you’ve read KJ’s book, False Hope, you would know who I am. KJ wanted me to write a little bit about myself to give you ‘insights’ into my behavior in the book. Frankly, I think it’s a big waste of time, but she can get a bit whiney and this was the only way I could shut her up.
Like I said, my name is Julien and before I went working undercover
at that sorry excuse for a law office of Upshall’s, I worked on the Vice squad
for about five years. Most of my
policing experience comes from dealing with drug dealers and low-lifes, so this
new gig was one I wasn’t looking forward to.
I regret the whole thing. The
only light in the entire operation was Ashley.
She’s an angel. It’s no secret I
had a thing for that girl, but she only had eyes for Jamie, or Jax, as you all
would know him. Trust me, that guy has
some secrets he wouldn’t like to get out.
But this is about me.
I grew up just outside of Toronto. I was an only child. My parents were teachers and are retired, now living in Hamilton. Linda and Brian were always worried about my tendencies to be alone instead of hanging with a bunch of kids from school, but I just never found my group. I stayed locked up in my room reading comic books. They suited me better. I was never good at sports and the geeks were too brainy for me, so I fell somewhere in the middle. I got my first good camera in grade 10 and taught myself how to take cool shots and develop them myself. I started spending a lot of time in my darkroom I had set up in the basement. Again, Linda and Brian weren’t too pleased with my ‘obsessive’ tendency to take ‘pictures’ and suggested I spend more time with my studies. This led to a lot of arguments with my parents and I ended up storming out a few times. I needed to get my own place, I knew that.
After high school, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I knew a guy who had applied to the police department for kicks, so I thought I’d apply. I wrote on the application I was handy with a camera and they seemed interested by that. I showed them the portfolio I threw together along with the dark room I had and they sent me to the academy. I hated that too, but I made it through. They sent me directly to Vice and I was set up to do surveillance. Apparently, my eye for detail and awesome photography skills came in handy. I got great shots that handed guys some hefty sentences in Kingston. I was feeling useful in that gig. I got my own place and set up my darkroom off of my bedroom. And then, they sent me to Organized Crime with the pretty boys like Jamie. Adrian had strict rules about who I was to ‘associate’ with, so no buddies at Vice for me, anymore. I hated undercover. The only thing that suited me was the fact I got to be alone and take some shots. I guess you know by now, that I had some photos of Ashley and some women. It wasn’t a pervy thing. I just appreciate a beautiful form. Call it art. That’s all I’m going to say about it. The secret compartment under my desk was supposed to be private. The fact that Ashley found it and it wasn’t discovered by the guys in OC was more awesome than I could have ever imagined.
I know I’m dead, now.
You don’t have to pretend that I’m alive and kicking and will be
magically reappearing in another of KJ’s books.
I know it ain’t happenin’ but I couldn’t have imagined any better way of
dying. All for Ashley. Those idiots couldn’t save a raccoon from a
tree, let alone a beauty like Ashley.
That’s why I had to dive in. I
had to make sure she got away from the goons charging into the apartment and I
thought I had a good shot at getting her away from Jamie and his gang of merry
men, but that didn’t work out as well as I had planned. But, she did good in my opinion.
She was innocent in all of this. She wasn’t supposed to be in any of the
operation until Jamie got his hooks into her and made her a part of this
mess. It’s his fault she had to run from
murderous bastards and his fault she had to move away. I could see how hurt she was when her friend
was killed and I could see he left her in the middle of the whole ordeal. I didn’t bail on her like Jamie did. I was behind the scenes watching like always. And I was there when it counted, in the end. That’s what’s important.
I don’t know what they did with all of my stuff. My apartment is empty so I assume Linda and
Brian cleaned it up. I know Ashley asked
that my pictures be taken away. I only
hope she has a few to remember me by.
Her savior. Her hero. I loved her the most. You can tell her I said that.
The undertaking of writing the second instalment of False Hope is beginning to make me nervous. I remember how time consuming and all-encompassingit waswriting the first book and I’m beginning to feel bogged down. I have one chapter completed with work starting on the second. The struggle of carving out time to write characters and scenes and implement accents and plot points is difficult when summer weather decides to make an appearance. The sun shines and I want to be outside, not locked in a room in the basement writingthe next big adventure. The rarity of sunshine makes it all the more important for me to head outside while it lasts. Autumn is packing its bags getting ready to move in and wave summer off into the grand abyss where the seasons-that-barely-happened go to die. Before I know it, I’ll be welcoming students back for another year, scheduling tests and skipping lunches infavourof one more hour for testing. I’m fearful my penchant to procrastinate will overtake me and I’llfinish Book Twoaround the same timeany grandchildren I’ve been promised have graduated highschool.
I’m ever-aware of my tendencytosimply give-up or to throw my hands up in the air and proclaim it all a bit too much before I’ve even given it my best shot.I managed to stay focused and finish the first round and I’m hoping my determination will see me through to the next. I have big plans for Claire and Jimmy in Book Two and I’m hoping it will all come to fruition. They may even run into some old friends from False Hope. (That was a hint, by the way in case you missed it.)
My notes are gathering in the purple notebook I used for the False Hope. I’ll simply keep it moving with more notes chapter-by-chapter and flesh out some new characters I have in mind. I always change around chapters and events according to how things logistically work out. For example, in False Hope Julien was supposed to be accused of nefarious activities with the women he was photographing. If you notice in the book, there are references to a rapist running around loose in town and even a dark hooded stranger bumping into Julien when he was standing outside the office building where Ashley worked. That incident was initially a set-up to a much larger sub-plot. I backed down at the last minute not wanting Julien to undergo any further scrutiny and bias from his colleagues. He had enough on his plate.
My work continues on Book Two and I hope my characters move forward with their lives, but not everything can go easily for them in their new circumstances. I’ll try to keep the momentum going through bouts of soaking up the intermittent sunshine and my tendency to walk away.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress and maybe drop a few more hints along the way, like JimmyFeherty. He’s an Irishman straight from Belfast with eyes only for Claire. Or so he says….
The wind is blowing a gale today and I’m feeling a little disheveled. My book is up and out and I’m now grappling with the idea that there are actual people out there in the great wide world who are reading my words. In a book. I wrote. I shake my head and try not to gauge reactions and try not to have thoughts of, “I wonder what they thought when this happened.”
Instead of obsessing on things I can’t control, I’m choosing to play with my dog and post random shit that I think will entertain the masses as much as it does me. You. Are. Welcome.
I’ve also been given the opportunity to observe the strange and irksome occurrencesaround me on a daily basis thatkeeps my mind busy and cause me to walkinto arbitrary walls. On purpose. Here are a few:
Old People Driving – I am NOT the old person I am referring to. I was cut off on the highway merge ramptoday,by an ‘old’lady driving her Honda CRV at 60kms an hour whorefused to go the obligatory 100kms an hour, almost causing an accident and causing me to swear profusely. Fun,wha?
No Shirt Sheila – Unfortunately, I was not privy to the shirtless woman wandering aimlessly around the mall, yesterday in her bra with a sweater tied around her waist whilst yelling into her phone, “I NEED MY LOTION BACK!” however, my niece and her daughters, and my daughter were witnesses to this craziness. Sad I missed it. AndGaawwdddDebby, give her the lotion BACK!
Irate complainers who complain about complaining – It’s a thing! I love it! No, really tell me more about how I piss you off when I fucking swear all of the fucking time, Goddammit. I love you,tho.
On a positive note, puppies are in the world so, there’s that.
I’ve been inundating the internet with graphics of quotes from my book, False Hope. Below, is another I created to give a sense of Ashley’s thoughts on death, grief and hope. I’ve also given a brief summary of the book. Enjoy!
Ashley Wells is a young woman making her way in Toronto. A new job at a small law firm propels her into a romantic relationship with Jax Fuller, a handsome young intern destined to be her biggest mistake. As their bond deepens, Ashley can’t help but think Jax is hiding his true self. As she navigates through the deception, betrayal and grief she discovers the truth about her lover and the dangerous game he is playing. She becomes embroiled in a fight against a crime boss determined to stop at nothing even if it costs the lives of those she loves,. Ashley summons her courage to fight for justice, and in doing so, confronts the limits of the human spirit. In her final testament of love, Ashley forfeits the life she had for one filled with an uncertain path and an undiscovered landscape.