Thursday, 16 August 2012

Graveyard Shift: Our Heroes

Graveyard Shift has three primary protagonists. In the best traditions of Charlie's Angels they all went to police academy together, and then things went to Hell.

Aleks is the Crusader. A Moscow-born immigrant with an ex-spy for a father, family money, and a belief in doing what is right, not what is easiest. Aleks wasn't an easy woman to get along with when she was human, but eight years ago she was gutted by a Loup Garou, and since then she's shared her psyche with a wolf-bitch with a primal hunter's disdain for convention. A detective sergeant with the 13th Street precinct, she is as much a hunter as a detective, but her psychic lodger and her temperament leave her inclined to be too direct for her own good.

Laura is the Earth-Mother. An all-American girl, and witch, she was Aleks partner until the Loup Garou incident, and where Aleks was gutted, but on her feet in days, Laura was left with the permanent consequences of a spinal injury. Denied a role on the streets, she transformed herself into a forensic sorceror, climbed the departmental hierarchy, and is now the lieutenant in charge of SPD's CSI nightshift. Along the way she found time to marry and is the mother of a precocious three year old. She remains Aleks' closest friend, as Aleks is hers.

Bobby is the Operator. Whether it was his career, women, or the case on his desk, Bobby always had his eye on the fast-track. Sometimes that fast-track came with a cost to others. Others like Aleks, left emotionally broken at the academy when Bobby lured her into a relationship and then dumped her. Two months ago the pigeons came home to roost, and Detective Roberto Ventimiglia found himself pinned to the ground in a filthy alley with a pack of juvenile vampires bleeding his major arteries dry. Newly risen as a vampire, Bobby is still a detective, but his comfortable job at headquarters is a fading memory, the 13th Street ghetto his new beat, and his partner, and senior officer, is the woman he once loved and threw away. The time may finally have come for Bobby to grow up.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Graveyard Shift: Why Seattle?

Why pick Seattle, a city I've never been to, for Graveyard Shift?

The most fundamental reason is probably market driven: most dark fantasy/modern urban fantasy / whatever is published in the US. I wanted a novel set in a US city, once that was decided Seattle was the obvious choice.

While I've never been to Seattle, Boeing are based there, and I spent several years working on the development of the 777 (in fact there were days I knew what the weather was in Seattle, but not what it was 10 feet outside my windowless office here in the UK). My company maintained a team of engineers in Seattle, and at one point I was due to be seconded there. The secondment fell through, so Seattle was always the great missed opportunity, and even if I didn't get to go, a good friend did and can potentially be leaned on for detail. Effectively I have greater links to Seattle than to any other US city, and besides, I'd already bought the guide books when the secondment was cancelled, I might as well get some use out of them....

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Graveyard Shift: What is it?

Graveyard Shift is the novel I'm working on - and saying that is a milestone in itself.

I originally started work on Graveyard Shift back in 2007 and completed about 55,000 words before things went berserk careerwise and life became too painful/stressful for me to write. I've been slowly luring myself back into writing again, I've known probably for the last year that I needed to return to Graveyard Shift, but it's taken a good while to manipulate myself into the right frame of mind. I finally started working about a month ago, and the word count is now just short to 80,000. I'm reliably turning in about a thousand words a night (and I do mean night, writing after the witching hour suits me best) and when I haven't managed to turn in any new wordage it's generally been because I have been focused on structural/plot issues. Apparently leaving a novel aside for several years gives your subconscious time to get gothic with the plot.

I'm going to be using Graveyard Shift posts to try and keep myself moving and to record some of the thoughts that drive the structure of my writing, both from a general diary approach, and so that I can record and review changes as they occur to get a better feel for how they fit into the novel as a whole.

Graveyard Shift is a police procedural, in a world where myth isn't just real, but has the right to vote. If the guy next door is a werewolf, then who do you call to police him? What if he actually is the police? Graveyard Shift has three protagonists, sharing focal point of view on a rotating basis, each of them an officer with Seattle PD, and each of them preternatural in their own way: Aleks the werewolf, Laura the witch, and Bobby the vampire. Preternaturals might have the vote, that doesn't mean they are accepted, and the Seattle of Graveyard Shift is a city with a ghetto so clearly delineated it even has its own police precinct - 13th Street (don't look for it on a map, Seattle has a 13th Avenue, but that's not it).

As for the plot: once upon a time two very young patrol officers stumbled into a domestic abuse call that was more than it seemed; that call changed both their lives, and eight years later their actions are coming back to haunt Aleks and Laura, and all those they love.