THE 5TH REALM-NEW ORLEANS VOODOO CHRONICLES
by: Constance Gillam
Until a few years ago, I wrote only adult fiction. I’d had requests for fulls and partials, but they hadn’t netted me an agent or publishing contract. I needed to try something different.
Twilight was all the rage, so I made myself a promise. By the next December I would have completed a young adult novel.
Everything about writing this book was a first; first young adult, first paranormal, first time writing in first person. I finished the novel, but it wasn’t easy. Plagued by self doubt, I added and discarded the number of POV’s in the story, moved from first to third person and from past back to present tense. My opening changed a zillion times (I’m never satisfied with my openings for any of my novels).
My one certainty- I was excited about my characters and setting.
I love New Orleans. I’ve visited many times, have a brother who lives there, and both my daughters attended college in or near New Orleans. I’m a history buff, and I’m married to a history professor. I visit cities that ooze history; Charleston, Savannah, St. Augustine, and Boston. New Orleans is the only city where I walk the streets of the quarter and feel as though I’m transported back three hundred years. The city is so colorful and alive I wanted to bring that sense of history to my young adult contemporary paranormal novel.
In New Orleans different cultures come together, creating interesting and beautiful faces. Taking what I knew of the history, along with the different people who inhabited the region, I created my main character. Lisette is a fifteen year old girl of Spanish, French, Haitian and Choctaw Indian heritage- a Creole.
Because the book was set in N.O., Voodoo was a natural paranormal element to add, but I needed a twist. Lisette is orphaned and lives with her paternal Grand’mere, who doesn’t tell her about her mother’s Haitian family who are alive and well, practicing Voodoo in the bayou.
I had a lot of fun writing this story, even though I pulled my hair out at times. I especially enjoyed creating my secondary characters, Scooter, Eric and Hancock.
Scooter is Lisette’s best friend, a high school dropout and a street thug. Although he’s the youngest child in his single family home, he’s the man of the house. He cleans up his big brother’s scrapes with the law and keeps his mother grounded. He’s very protective of Lisette and doesn’t understand her attraction to the mysterious, preppy Eric from her high school.
Eric is an enigma, the bad boy that every girl wants to tame. He has a girlfriend, who happens to be Lisette’s arch enemy, but Lisette can’t help being attracted to him. He’s the only one in her high school that makes her feel less like a freak.
When strange things start happening to Lisette, it’s Eric, not Scooter, who comes to her rescue with some unusual skills of his own.
By the end of the book, Lisette has come to terms with who she is and has to save herself and her two friends, at the risk of losing her soul.
The bayou at night is alive. I see very little in the darkness, but my hearing is heightened. Insects buzz, creatures call to each other, and fish splash in this byway cesspool. Like the kinky gray hair of an old lady, Spanish moss trails in the dirty water of the swamp, eerily beautiful. I shudder to think what is caught in the tangles of her hair.
My head jerks in the direction of a huge splash. Something large slithers into the water.
“Alligators,” my uncle says, piloting the pirogue with a long pole around another bend in the waterway.
Shivering, I strain to make out more, but can only see darkness behind us. I sit on my hands, more to still their trembling than for warmth. Long before the canoe reaches the spot, I feel the drums. The pounding travels through my nerve endings until my whole body is pulsating. I feel the same as I did several nights ago when I wandered the Quarter, restless and possessed.
Connie, thank you so much for joining us today…and in addition, she would like to offer a $25.00 Amazon gift card to one of our lucky commenter today. Just leave a comment to be in the drawing…..And GOOD LUCK !!!
The 5th Realm is available in e-book and print format: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. http://amzn.to/KqkmNn