UFI welcomes Molly M. Hall Author of Reckoning. Thanks for Joining us!!
My Writing Process
I'm often asked about my writing process—if I start at the beginning and continue smoothly to the finish; if I know how the story will end; if I create a detailed outline or make it up as I go along, etc. And the answer is, well…yeah, kind of. I know—good solid response, right?
In reality, my writing process is more like a layer cake inside a jigsaw puzzle. What?? I have the idea for the story along with how it begins and how it ends, as well as some of the elements that comprise the plot and characters. That is essentially the border for the puzzle. Then I start adding location, time period, character names, conflict and resolution—all those elements that are the heart of a story. After that, I start fleshing out the characters themselves: their personalities, what motivates them, how they interact with one another throughout the book. It is all of these things that become the layer cake. And, finally, I put all these pieces together, completing the puzzle. In the end, hopefully you have a fantastic picture in the form of words.
It's not always easy. There are some days when the writing just flows, and the pieces seem to magically fall into place. But there are others, when it's a struggle to come up with one decent sentence. And that can be beyond frustrating! That's when I know it's time to step away and take a break, because no matter how long I stare at the computer screen, it's just not gonna happen.
My writing process doesn't really have specific rules. In general, I try to follow a linear pattern, but that never lasts for long. I'm always adding, deleting, rearranging, and swapping until I give it the final read-through and say, "OK. That's the story." I know of some writers who can sit down and write a story from beginning to end with very few rewrites. I just shake my head in awe and bow to their genius. They are obviously a different race of people from a higher realm.
Writing, and more importantly, writing well, is a challenge. But in a good way. Bringing the characters in my imagination to life on the page is extremely rewarding. I love what I do. Crafting and completing a story gives me a great feeling of pride and accomplishment. I hope to be able to do it for a very long time. And I hope my readers get as much joy from reading my books as I do in writing them.
Excert from Reckoning
A gentle breeze moves through the trees and gooseflesh creeps up my arms. I look around cautiously, my ears straining for even the slightest sound. Nothing. No dreaded flashes of a ghostly pink dress. No brain-numbing whispering. Just an empty expanse of green, dotted with trees, the stark silhouettes of houses rising behind.
My phone buzzes again, the vibration rippling through the nerve endings in my hand like a low-voltage jolt of electricity. I feel a sudden desire to fling it as far away from me as I can.
Reluctantly, I look down and click on the message.
Turning around, I see Rick, smiling back at me, waiting patiently. A scream of anguish and frustration begins to build deep inside of me and I hear a noise to my right, like the whooshing of wings. Jerking my head to the side, my eyes widen in shock, and I duck, narrowly missing a massive black bird as it sweeps past me, angling upward. I think I hear Rick say something, but his words are drowned out by the sound of my pulse pounding in my ears. I glance up, looking for the bird and see a large, dark shape sweeping past the top of the trees. I have no idea how any of it is connected – the girl, the texts, the bird – but instinctively I know they are. And it isn’t good.
I look at Rick again, the wonder and magic of this evening still singing through my veins, and my shock turns to anger. Hot, fiery, rebellious anger. This will not happen. Not tonight.
Clenching my jaw, I glare up at the sky. LEAVE ME ALONE, I scream in my head. Whatever issues this dead girl has, it has nothing to do with me.
Rick begins walking toward me. “Everything OK, Kat?”
I swallow, gathering my emotions back into a tight bundle. “Fine.” I force a smile onto my face, jogging back to him. “Just Rachel sending me another message.”
I step into the pool of light beneath the streetlamp, anxious to leave the darkness behind. Suddenly, the light flickers, an odd sizzling sound emanating from the globes. I stop and stare, watching as several sparks shoot out the sides. The bird, the largest crow I have ever seen, swoops down from the trees, one shining, jet black eye looking directly at me. Sound disappears and time seems to fold in on itself, slowing to half-speed. The same weightless feeling I’d experienced at school creeps over me, and I tense, fighting off the panic.
I stare at the bird, watching it descend lower and lower. It’s wings beat once, moving slowly down and back up again. Sparks continue to jet from the streetlamp, each brightly pointed flash of light spewing out in a torpid, glowing trail, before dropping slowly and silently to the ground. The bird is nearly on top of me. It sweeps past, close enough that I can feel the rush of air beneath its wings, gently lifting my hair. Then it arcs upward, higher and higher, before turning and diving back toward me again, it’s beak open in a silent cry.
I stand and stare, frozen in place, numb with shock and disbelief. My phone vibrates dully in my palm, and I slowly lower my head. As though acting strictly through muscle memory, my thumb pushes the message button.
I look back up at the bird. Then at the streetlamp. And suddenly, I understand. The obscure text messages melding into clear and precise meaning. But my legs won’t move.
I gasp, inhaling sharply as I struggle to break free of the torpor that has possessed me, and the world abruptly charges back into normal motion, sound and movement taking on a vivid clarity. The bird rushes toward me, it’s head cocked at an odd angle. The sparking and sizzling of the streetlamp grows louder, the globes glowing and flashing like some kind of deranged sparkler on the fourth of July. I take one slow step backward just as the globes explode with a loud bang, hundreds of tiny pieces of glass slicing through the air. I yelp and duck, lunging to the side.
When not reading or writing, she can be found shopping for awesome boots, listening to music, exercising, working on her very inadequate French, playing piano, or looking for inspiring landscapes to photograph. More at: mollymhall.com
Dark Prophecy #1
"They say the truth can set you free. I found out it can kill you."
Seventeen-year-old Kat Matheson has never revealed the dark secret that sets her apart from everyone else: She can see and hear the dead. Until now, she has been able to ignore the strange apparitions and whispering voices. But it may not be that simple anymore. Haunted by eerie visions and increasingly frightening nightmares, Kat begins to fear she may be the target of a dark and ominous force from beyond the grave. Complicating matters is the arrival of her new neighbor, a young man she instinctively distrusts but is inexplicably drawn to. Gorgeous and mysterious, he seems to hold a disturbing knowledge of her long-held secrets.
As she desperately tries to maintain control, events take an unexpected and violent turn. Discovering that nothing is what it seems and that her psychic abilities may involve far more than just communing with the dead, Kat may be forced to confront her worst fears and the powerful curse that controls her destiny.