A Soul Siphon Question!?!? #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I just finished reading Soul Siphon and was wondering why you were so disappointed with the book that you never wrote a sequel. Do you ever plan on writing one? Also, why does Mary seem to be a lot more fleshed out than any of the other supporting characters?

Thanks,
Mike


Hi Mike,

I’m thrilled that someone has finally come forward after so long that they actually read that book. Now, tell me, what couch leg do you find that under?

Kidding!

Truth be told, I was disappointed in the book for a multitude of reasons. Soul Siphon was going to be my first foray into comic book style super heroes. My original intent was to have a comic illustrator do the cover, preferably someone fairly well known. I wanted the cover to actually look like a comic book cover to then reflect the internal story.

This… fell… flat… on… its… face….

One, the comic creators I reached out to wanted outlandish sums of money, so much so that I would never recoup the costs for writing the book. at least not for several years, even if the book sold really really well. Second, the artist I really wanted to hire for the book never responded to my inquiries. So unfortunately, I wasn’t able to enlist her talents. What’s worse, she’s changed her style to something that looks way too childish where the characters have large heads and even larger eyes.

I began shopping around for an artist and eventually came to Jabari Weathers. I was enamored by his work and thought it anyone could clean up that mess, it would be him. His art speaks for itself. It’s magnificent, but again, not what I was originally going for. Even so, the cover design was so amazing, I was hoping that this would draw in a reader base.

I worked hard to shape interesting characters and attempt to create a group of anti-heroes that, unbeknownst to them, would actually represent the four horsemen of the apocalypse; Death (Mary), Famine (Johnny), War (Vlad), and Conquest (Lihua), with Corban as the catalyst. Essentially, they would be ‘guided’ by an angel disillusioned by the decree of non-interference, forbidding the Choirs of Angels from meddling in the mortal realm. I even brought in a Cameo from my historical fantasy, Damnation, to take up that role later in the book.

It took a lot of writing, rewriting, and work to get this novel on the market. It’s production was a troubled one and took place during a time in my life when I had way too much else going on.

As a result, the book did not sell well at all and my dreams of creating a serial work surrounding these characters died pretty quickly. I had worked on a second novel where the devil was either a damsel in distress or a benevolent character who was simply misunderstood by religious doctrine, but I simply couldn’t figure out how to properly insert that character into the mix. I have several potential outlines ready to go, but each one falls flat on its face in practice.

After a year of writer’s block, I abandoned the story and moved on to something I thought was a bit simpler and safer… which then turned into anything but. Drakin became a pretty big hit for me, pretty much forcing me to write a sequel to that and thus placing the final nail in the coffin for Soul Siphon. I still go back to it every now and then, reread it, and start brainstorming sequels, but there are so many other books I want to write first, that it seems like any chance of ever putting a Soul Siphon sequel out is dead.

It’s my biggest disappointment because I had such high hopes for the book and had pretty grand ideas. Unfortunately, they all fell flat on their face pretty quickly. The cover design should have been a sign that this book might have been better had I simply posted it on Kindle for free.

Oh well.

Now, to answer your second question about Mary. I didn’t really intend Mary to be a supporting character. She’s supposed to be the heroine, arguably more so than Corban is the hero. She’s fleshed out more, because she actually has a historical backstory. Where almost all of my other characters are 100% made up, she is not.

Let me start from the beginning… the idea behind these characters were that they each shared one thing in common, death. They’d all been taken before their times by evil people. When the angel resurrected them, he gave them powers based on how they had been killed. It was sort of a poetic method of revenge. As such…

Johnny was starved to death by his step-mother. He was given the power of famine. Anything he touched, rotted and turned to ash.

Vlad was a former soviet soldier who was assassinated for knowing too much. He was given the ability to manipulate projectiles and his vision could act like a telescope.

Lihua was raped and left to die on a street corner in a Chinese city during the height of the communist regime. Her powers are those of seduction and dominance. She can manipulate the mind of almost any living creature to do her bidding with her pheromone.

Corban died as the result of a failed exorcism. A demon tore him apart from the inside. As a result, his powers are unstable and out of control. He possess demonic energy that he has little to no control over. The powers are incompatible to him and thus take considerable effort to harness and eventually manipulate to his liking.

That brings us to Mary. I wanted at least one of my characters to someone of historical significance as each came from a different time period. So I started going back through a history of famous murders. Who could I use? More importantly, who could I use without fear of getting sued by a living family member? This person had to be from pretty far back and relatively young.

It was at this time that I pulled out some papers from when I was in college. Back then, I had a morbid minor-obsession with the Jack the Ripper killings. I went through the victims until I came to the last one… the last of the canonical five; Mary Jane Kelly. She was widely considered beautiful, she was relatively young for the time period, and based on the testimony of the people who knew her, she was a somewhat fiery Irish lass, with a quarrelsome tenancy. This is something I could work with.

So I took the historical information we have on Mary Kelly, made a few embellishments on the rumors that surrounded her early life, and created the skeleton for my character. In my book, Mary is found by the angel and removed from her coffin before burial. She’s pieced back together revived. In exchange for her services as an angelic assassin, she’s given a chance to hunt down and kill Jack the Ripper. However, upon hunting the streets of London, she winds up spending her time protecting other girls from getting roughed up by street thugs and misses her chance.

Jack the Ripper escapes to America on a steamer just as she’s about to track him down. The steamer sinks in a storm, claiming everyone onboard. Come to find out, her killer murdered other women while she was busy protecting the London girls. She’s bitter and grief-stricken, but a deal was a deal. She became an angelic assassin. Because of the way she was killed, her powers were the ability to hide in the shadows, slip around unnoticed, and move at incredible speeds. Her abilities with bladed weapons was also greatly enhanced.

This is why Mary seems so much more fleshed out. This character pretty much wrote herself. An assassin, living with her own personal demons. An ageless woman existing outside of time, bitter, sad, and completely indifferent, or so you’re supposed to believe. When I first wrote out her character, I shook my head thinking that no one would like her. She was rude, sharp-tongued, angry, abrasive, and just downright mean. However, as Corban and the reader go to know her, understood her reasoning and finally got to meet the person below that hard surface, it was my hope the audience would warm to her.

Sadly. I doubt we’ll ever know. I’m debating taking the book off the market, but who knows? I’ll see what happens in the next few months.

If you really liked the book, please leave it some feedback, it helps me out a lot.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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