November 7, 2013

Paul Alan Fahey on A Manx Tale

Paul Alan Fahey on A Manx Tale

Several years ago I had the opportunity of taking a workshop from the New York Times best-selling romance author, Lori Wilde. The topic was scene layering. Not only was the workshop worth the small fee I paid, but I also learned the importance of defining the novel's theme BEFORE I began writing the first chapter. Why is this important? Well, knowing the theme beforehand emotionally deepens each scene for the reader, especially if it's built into the story's setting, dialogue, narrative, and other aspects of the book. Specific motifs and symbols, related to theme, can also enrich the work. After taking the course, I added a new element to my revision checklist: Does each scene, or chapter, speak to the book's theme in a subtle way?

The third and newest installment in my Lovers & Liars Wartime Series, A Manx Tale, uses theme in a very specific way. The story takes place in the late summer of 1941 on the Isle of Man. The characters, Caroline, Cyril, Leslie and Edward, are back in spy mode in a place steeped in a mix of history, mythology and whimsy. Think Ireland and Leprechauns and you've got the idea.

"When logic fails, a bit of whimsy saves the day" is the overarching theme of A Manx Tale. Along with using this theme as a guidepost, I also employed a motif of doubles to represent the opposing forces that swirled about the characters and often described their fluctuating states of mind. The duality of rational thought vs. magical thinking is one example of this motif. For setting, I made use of the island's WWII internment camps to emphasize the contrasting states of imprisonment vs. freedom, and for character traits, I focused on loyal vs. disloyal, moral vs. immoral and the list went on.

Even the two main couples, one gay and one straight, added an interesting element to A Manx Tale. Two new characters appear in this story. You'll spot them right away. I hope they'll steal your heart as they did mine. Literally, they wouldn't rest until I put them in the book. Happy Reading!

Paul Alan Fahey

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, JM. I hope your readers will stop by tomorrow at Iyana's Rainbow blog. I'll be guest posting about the newest installment in my Lovers & Liars Wartime Series, A Manx Tale, and there will most likely be a giveaway or two. Hope to see you there. Paul