To Love a Highland Dragon
Dragon Lore, Book 1
by Ann Gimpel
Publisher: TaliesinRelease Date: 9/5/13
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance
From Guest Author Ann Gimpel:
Elements of Great Storytelling
I’ve thought about this a lot lately since I ran into a spate of uninspired books, both on my Kindle and in Books on CD. I will say, though, that in the latter format, a gifted actor reading an audiobook can make even a mediocre story come to life and can gloss over awkward grammatical constructions so they aren’t quite as noticeable.
How about if we start with characters? It goes without saying they need to be three dimensional, which means they have thoughts, feelings, and actions that are congruent with their personalities. In my opinion, if a book doesn’t have characters that reach out and grab your heartstrings, then it’s DOA. It can have the most inspired plot in the world, but it’s wasted if readers don’t care about the characters.
Alrighty, so we have decent characters. Maybe not great characters, but they’re good enough you want
to pick up the book to see what they’re going to do next. Plot determines the next moves in a book.
Plot is basically the story that the book tells, but it’s how we get from point A to point B that weeds out
talented writers from the rest of the pack. Brilliant plotting is tightly woven and the writer’s hand is all but invisible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere in a book and something happens that just screams “convenient plot twist.” As an aside, this is why all writers need someone—critical partners, publishers, editors—to be a fresh pair of eyes. No matter how seasoned a writer is, he (or she) can’t see the foibles in his own writing. Not all of them, anyway. Another plotting issue is plot threads that go nowhere. They look intriguing, but the writer just never gets back to them.
A corollary of plotting is pace and tension. The plot has to move fast enough to draw a reader along, yet not so fast as to lose them. Writers accomplish this by inserting pacing into the plot and building/releasing tension. Of course certain genres, like horror, have a whole lot more tension than most romances. But even romances—the good ones—have a big, dark moment when it seems like the hero and heroine will never be able to bridge the gap between them. This introduces tension and draws readers into turning pages to see what’s going to happen next.
I think I’m probably like most writers in that I write the same type of fiction I like to read. For me, it’s
fast paced, with strong characters that collide with one another. Lots of passion. Lots of angst. Big,
dark moments that are really big and truly dark. In a lot of ways, writing isn’t so different from being a psychologist. Not everyone will like what I write. I don’t expect them to. Not everyone likes Stephen
King, or any of the really big names of our time. Likewise, I always told my patients that the first couple
of sessions were “getting to know one another,” and seeing if we were a good match. Just like I’m not
the right author for everyone, neither was I the right therapist. That’s just common sense, really.
What sings to you in books you read? Why do you adore your favorite author? If you had to pick great
characters versus great plot, which would it be?
In a cave deep beneath Inverness, a dragon shifter stirs and wakens. The cave is the same and his hoard intact, yet Lachlan senses something amiss. Taking his human form, he ventures above ground with ancient memories flooding him. But nothing is the same. His castle has been replaced by ungainly row houses. Men aren’t wearing plaids and women scarcely wear anything at all.
In Inverness for a year on a psychiatry fellowship, Dr. Maggie Hibbins watches an oddly dressed man pick his way out of a heather and gorse thicket. Even though it runs counter to her better judgment, she teases him about his strange attire. He looks so lost—and so unbelievably handsome —she takes him to a pub for a meal, to a barbershop, and then home. Along the way the hard-to-accept truth sinks in: he has to be a refugee from another era.
Never a risk-taker, Maggie’s carefully constructed life is about to change forever. Swept up in an ancient prophecy that links her to Lachlan and his dragon, she must push the edges of the impossible to save both the present and her heart.
About the Author:
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche's Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for three more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: To Tame a Highland Dragon, Earth’s Requiem and Earth’s Blood.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
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