Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blood of the Heart

So, about this book of mine ...

I started it about two years ago. I wrote a chapter that will never see the light of day, but it was the first fiction I'd written since I was a teenager and even though it was terrible, it felt good. 
Really good.

Now, after many twists and turns (not to mention the bouts of hair-pulling and self-doubt) I'm reasonably confident about what my story actually *is*, and have some hope it'll be something others will want to read. 

Set in 1864, and with the working title of BLOOD OF THE HEART, it's an historical mystery, of the suspense sub-genre, with a side-serve of romance and a generous helping of the oddities and extravagance of mid-nineteenth century Paris, and nineteenth century medicine.

My main character, Isabel Knight, is an Englishwoman in need of no one and nothing but herself and her ambition. A newly-minted physician fresh from medical school in America, she dreams of becoming a surgeon; quite an oddity herself. She accompanies her father to Paris, the global centre of medical advancement, where she has the rare opportunity to further her clinical experience. 

But she has a secret. She's suffered a trauma her conscious mind cannot fully recall. Her body knows exactly what happened, however, and the result is that she has lost her nerve with the scalpel. She simply cannot cut.

But this soon becomes the least of her worries. Her attendance at the birth of a child leads her to form an uneasy partnership with a Parisian midwife - a sage femme - who has secrets of her own, secrets that seem to link her with the mutilated bodies of urchins that begin to appear on the streets of the slums of Paris. When the midwife is also murdered, Isabel comes face to face with the real killer - but it is she, in the wrong place at the wrong time, who the police suspect. 

On the run from the authorities and the killer,  Isabel follows the scant clues to Daniel Ricard, the young owner of champagne vineyards in Epernay.  Together, Isabel and Daniel must unravel a mystery that takes them from Daniel's murky past, to the court of Napoleon III and the intrigue surrounding the  French conquest of Mexico, and finally, into the clutches of a sadistic serial killer. 

With Daniel, Isabel stands to discover the truth of the trauma that her mind has erased, and to learn that love and vocation are not mutually exclusive - that is, if they ever make it out alive.

Da-da-daaaah! (g)

So, that's it. I'm slogging through the first draft, and I'm sorry to say that even after two years, I'm not all that far into the thing. I've got all my scenes sketched out on index cards, and I recently broke down the whole thing into four acts - only to find I'm just three-quarters of the way through Act 1. Gah!  My life is busy - three kids will do that to a person (g) - plus I have chopped and changed directions with this book A LOT. But the main reason for my lack of progress is the opening of the book. Or, to be precise, the multitude of ways there are to open a story. And the temptation I have to write them all. 

But I'll talk more about that particular little death-trap later ...

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Hey Rach, I love your synopsis.

We have to come up with a good genre name for our catch all style of books. Any thoughts?