Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Price of Sanctuary by Gaylon Greer: Guest Post and Excerpt



 Creating Fictional Characters

The more I write, the more I appreciate the role of character in fiction. I used to think it was simply one of a triumvirate of equal importance: character, plot, setting. But I’ve come to believe that plot depends heavily on character, since people react differently to the same situation. And of course setting conditions character. This suggests that character is central, regardless of genre. Memorable fiction in all genres, therefore, depends on the creation of characters rich in depth and breadth of personality.


Before characters can come alive on the page, they have to live in the writer’s imagination. Effective writers don’t just think about a character, they become the character in their head. It’s one thing to intellectualize a character, to reason through how she or he might react to plot situations; it’s quite another to live through the situation as the character, to experience the emotions the situation generates in the character.


Does this mean every character will be like the writer? Not at all. There are in each of us multiple personalities that we keep bottled up. If we can find a way to tap into the aspects of personality that simmer below the level of consciousness, we will find a wealth of traits to fit virtually any type of character. Attribute it to the Freudian concept of a superego which represses feelings, thoughts and inclinations that early experience taught us were unacceptable, if you like, or blame the Jungian concept of the shadow self; there is in each of us a virtually limitless universe of material that does not normally percolate to a conscious level. Tapping into this reservoir requires courage and effort, but the potential payoff makes it worthwhile. Think of Shelley’s Frankenstein, Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, Huxley’s Grey Eminence.


Freud’s approach to analysis suggests a way to tap into the shadow self or the subconscious. He had patients “relive” traumatic emotions suffered in childhood by talking them through with the prompting of a largely passive analyst. Writers can approximate the procedure by writing instead of talking and by imagining a reader as a passive listener. Most of this free-association writing will not find its way into a manuscript, but it will often contain the kernel of personality traits that make characters memorable.


The Price of Sanctuary

by Gaylon Greer



 Accustomed to a life of privilege, Shelby Cervosier new finds herself running for her life. Accused of killing an American Immigration agent, Shelby has undertaken a mission on behalf of a secretive American espionage agency in exchange for a promise of legal amnesty and political asylum in America. Now, however, the agent who coerced her into accepting the assignment wants her dead to cover up the bungled mission. Two hit men compete for the bounty that has been placed on her head.

Shelby and her younger sister flee into America’s heartland in search of a safe haven. They find only fear and danger, however, when they are captured by one of the assassins, Hank.

Prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her sister safe, Shelby cooperates with her capturer. Deciding that his feelings for them are more important than bounty money, Hank takes the sisters under his wing and secrets then away to his hideout: a farm in a remote corner of Colorado. They become a part of his extended family; they have finally found sanctuary.

Their safe new world is shattered when the second hit man, a relentless psychopath, captures Shelby’s little sister and uses her to lure Shelby and her lover into a middle-of-the-night showdown on an isolated Rocky Mountain battleground.

Buy Link:   AMAZON




With Carmen's legs wrapped around her waist, Shelby held the child close and caressed her back and shoulders. “You remember Hank, don't you, sweetheart?”


Carmen clung tighter, pressing her face against Shelby's neck. “I don't like him. He hurt you.”


Shelby stroked her little sister's hair. “Things were mixed up. He was trying to help us.”


“He's mean. He took you away.”


“He brought me back, though. He wants us to be together.”


Carmen loosened her grip and sneaked a look at Hank.


Shelby reached out and stroked the side of his face. “We hurt him too. He just wants to help us. To love us.”


Hank smiled at Carmen and asked, “Is Snaggly still with you?”


She leveled her grave, shiny black eyes on him and nodded.


“Do you suppose I could say hello to him? I've missed him a lot.”


Carmen turned her gaze back on Shelby.


Shelby set the little girl on her feet. “Go get him. It's all right.”


Mounting the stairs slowly, Carmen seemed to question the wisdom of the move, but she must have reached a decision upstairs. She bounded back down cradling the snaggletoothed, clown-faced rag doll in her arms. As she approached Hank, she slowed but kept moving until she was close enough to pass the doll to him.


Squatting, he turned it one way and then another to examine it. “Looks like he's doing okay.” He twisted the doll to face him. “You having a good time here, Snaggly?” As if he were listening, he nodded and wrinkled his brow. “I'm sorry I acted so mean when I first met you. There was danger, and I needed to get you away from that place.”


Eyes carefully focused on the doll, he nodded again. “Uh-huh. Yes, I liked you more and more as we traveled together. I really hated taking Shelby away, but it was the only way to keep you guys safe. We came back as soon as we could. Shelby loves her little sister more than anything in the whole world, and I love Shelby.”


He shifted his gaze to Carmen. “I'm having trouble understanding what Snaggly says.”


Carmen giggled. Hank held the doll out to her, and she edged closer to accept it.


“Do you think he understands why we left him with Jason and Linda?” Hank rested a knee on the carpet. “Why we had to stay away so long?”


“He kind of understands.” Carmen hugged the doll.


“How do you think he feels about it?”


“It's okay. He likes you a little bit.”


“That's good.” Reaching out, Hank caressed the doll's face. “I like him a lot.”



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Working with traveling carnivals and itinerant farm labor gangs during his teen and early adult years took Gaylon Greer up, down, and across the United States and introduced him to a plethora of colorful individuals who serve as models for his fictional characters. A return to school in pursuit of a high school diploma while serving in the Air Force led to three university degrees, including a Ph.D. in economics, and a stint as a university professor. After publishing several books on real estate and personal financial planning, as well as lecturing on these subjects to nationwide audiences, he shifted his energy to writing fiction. Gaylon lives near Austin, Texas.





One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chance of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE


Post a Comment