It’s a slightly different post on Linda’s Book Bag today as I welcome a kind of BOGOF author in S.T. Young, because S.T. is not one, but two writers and a sister and brother to boot! Add in a psychological thriller in their first joint book, Girl in the Mist, and you can see why I invited them along!
Out now from Entangled Publishing, Girl in the Mist is available for purchase from all the usual places by following the publisher links.
Girl in the Mist
Infamous for infiltration and becoming her undercover identities, Nina Hernandez disappeared without a trace. Three years later, Naval Intelligence agent Rory O’Donnell finds her in a tortuous mental hospital. He’s unsure if it’s really Nina, or if she’s undercover and faking it. Either way, he’s pretty sure something sinister is going on…
Rory springs Nina, and together they elude their determined pursuers. He needs to get her to safety…all while keeping his hands off the beautiful, mysterious young woman. As he works to convince her to trust him and share her darkest secrets, he wonders if he can trust her not to betray his…
Between her mercurial changes, sexy come-ons, and her exasperating independence, a protection assignment has never been so hard. On a dangerous trek across the country as they tumble from one danger into the next, Rory finds that resisting Nina might just be his toughest task yet.
A Guest Post by S.T. Young
Most times the plot is a mean son of a gun. It’ll take you places you never wanted to go, throw you on your bum when you least expect it, and send you careening into that rock-face called plot-bogged if you’re not careful. Seriously, there are times you just want to grab that thing and exorcise it from your psyche to never be seen again…
But you can’t. It’s your demon plot after all, and somehow, some way it has to be written.
For us the average plot will start, quite predictably, with two points. A beginning—an idea that started to fester and tug at some point and needed to come out. And an ending—that goal you have to achieve to get the final scene for your characters that will satisfy each and everyone involved, writer, character and reader alike.
What happens in-between…well, at times, it is up for grabs. Frustrating, right? There will be points, plot beats if you will, to be reached, thought of ahead of time, but they don’t always work out the way you planned them.
Perfect example: A hero and a heroine are supposed to meet in chapter one.
We planned it all out, set the scene just the way we wanted it, and then while writing…it. Just. Wouldn’t. Happen! First a friend arrived and interrupted. Grrr. Friend dealt with, hero turns to the heroine, is about to speak, and a customer comes in. Darn it! Not the plan! And yet it somehow worked.
Truth is, some things just won’t be forced.
How it turned out: hero and heroine actually didn’t speak a word until chapter two, when finally, all the hassle was dealt with and they came face to face. The rest, as they say, is history.
The point of this example? You can plot everything to the minor details, and sometimes you do, but there still is a certain flow, a character driven, natural arc of events that you just didn’t, and can’t see coming…and shouldn’t. Usually, what for you, the writer, comes as a complete, sometimes funny, sometimes scary surprise, will be just that for the reader as well.
To us this is the most fascinating bit of writing, especially in such a plot-driven story like Girl in the Mist. Those little surprises that you didn’t see coming. The heroine starting to strip, just to get the hero’s hackles up, only to end up freezing cold…You can plan those things, sure, but if they just “happen” they’re usually amazingly genuine, and that is the thing that will make your manuscript one-of-a-kind.
Lastly there is the problem of plot holes and plot beats that just won’t work in the bigger scheme of things. Those are amazingly frustrating, especially if you’re particularly fond of said beat. Usually this requires severe brainstorming between the two of us, and those sessions can become mighty noisy in the heat of the discussion. Most times we end up compromising, or one of us backing down (for the time being anyway) until either one of us will come up with something…usually something particularly convoluting, to solve the problem at hand.
What it comes down to: For us the plot is a basic line from A to B that will get stretched and torqued along the way until it becomes a working whole and gives us the end result we’re striving for.
Whether that ending will surprise us in the end, or be exactly as we planned it, doesn’t really matter: It’s the thrilling ride that gets you there that counts.
(And I think Girl in the Mist sounds a thrilling ride. Thanks both!)
About S.T. Young
Siblings Samaya and Taffin grew up in a somewhat unorthodox family. Born in the Netherlands, their early childhood was a relatively normal one, but their teens were spent traveling through Europe with their mother and siblings before they settled down in Southern Spain to build their home from scratch. In 2015 they returned to their country of birth.
Though different in character, brother and sister shared a love for strong, character driven stories with one recurring element they both needed in all their reading—romance. Though Samaya can get side-tracked by horror, and Taffin can get lost in sci-fi from time to time, they always return to the genre that never fails to draw them into any plot—romantic fiction.
In 2008 they started working together, first on Samaya’s earlier manuscripts, but other, newer stories, too, to see if they could find an audience for the work they’d put their hearts and souls into.. In the process of learning to work together, many fierce discussions followed as they argued grammar, plot, and even something as simple as comma placement (doesn’t everyone?). Girl in the Mist, a taut psychological thriller, was their first joint effort, but there are many more on the way.