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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Challenges of Writing the Second Book in a Young Adult Horror Series by Berk Washburn

Published last year, Pitch Green is the first book in the Dimensions in Death young adult horror series. The first book is based on a twenty-minute scary story we told as kids to our siblings and friends. The general outline for the novel-length story came together one evening in November of 2010. We were attending a writer's seminar in Manhattan. As we rode the subway from one end-of-the-line across town to the opposite end-of-the-line, and back again, we mapped out the elements we would need to expand the childhood story into a full-length novel. Andy wrote the first rough draft, and then Berk took it over to edit and expand the tale. In writing the first book, the ground work was laid for many sequels and
prequels in the young-adult horror series.

The Searles Mansion is a key part of both of the first two books. It was built almost a hundred years ago by an eccentric genius, who got funding and structural specifications from a clandestine source of ancient knowledge and wealth. One night the genius was mysteriously slaughtered, and ever since, children and other defenseless animals in Trona have been disappearing without a trace.

In the first book, we meet two teenagers, Camm and Cal, who are destined by wit, pluck and luck (not always good) to become the balancing force against an unearthly predator, who has come to call the mansion home. Our heroes are hurled from one scene of horror to the next. Though their intentions are good, they don't understand what they are facing, and by the
end of the first book, a door has been left open to increasing predations on an even grander scale.

The second book, Mojave Green, is a continuation of the first story, but it is a completely new part of the story, written from scratch over the last couple years. In the second book, a call from her best friend, Cal, brings news that Camm had hoped never to hear. Children are again disappearing from Trona. Has the unnatural creature they killed last year returned to life or has the ancient mansion spawned a new menace? Ignoring dire warnings from federal agents, the pair take a road trip home with unsuspecting school friends in tow and discover the situation has gotten worse. With monstrous predators seemingly coming out of nowhere,
enigmatic forces tear the friends apart, pulling Cal into another world, where his chances of survival are slim. Finally coming to terms with her feelings for Cal, Camm desperately seeks help where she can, even from the dead, but can a rogue agent and other peculiar misfits help her uncover the long-lost secrets she needs to rescue Cal and stop the inter-dimensional

The destiny of her own world may lie in Camm's young hands. Writing the second book was a completely different experience for us as co-authors, than was the first book. The first book was based on a childhood story that we had been telling for years, and the basic plot elements already existed. The second book is a brand new story that has never existed before, and as co-authors, we had to agree on a whole new plot.

In both books, we were under pressure to maintain the suspense and mystery as we moved the story along as fast as possible. While we don't think in terms of one story being better than the other, we are definitely excited with the Mojave Green story. Our fans can expect a faster moving, broader ranging story in the second book, which introduces new characters and covers more territory, both in terms of geography as well as emotions. Some of our favorite scenes in book two take place as Camm and Cal confront the new predators spawned by the collapse of the guardian systems that were originally built into the old mansion.

Though both authors grew up in Trona, and knew it well, we return there on occasion to make sure our descriptions of the local geography are correct. In addition, we have researched basic principles of astro-physics, so that Mojave Green can answer many of the questions raised in the first book. But remember, this is not science fiction. It is fast-paced horror, suspense and mystery based on pseudo-science rather than magic and mysticism, so in the end, everything we do must have a plausible explanation of some kind.

In all ways, the second book was more difficult to write with the underlying story expanding in many new directions. But at the same time, expanding the original story has been a very satisfying experience.

A. L. Washburn and B. W. Washburn are brothers, licensed lawyers and full time writers, residing in Colorado and southern Utah. Growing up in a large family in Trona, California, a small mining community not far from Death Valley, they spent many happy days in their youth roaming the wastelands of the Mojave Desert. After living in South America at different times, each came back to finish graduate school and start separate careers. Living thousands of miles apart, they worked in different areas of the law, while raising their own large families. 
Each has authored legal materials and professional articles, but after years of wandering in the wastelands of the law, their lifelong love of fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction and horror, brought them back together to write a new young adult horror series, beginning with Pitch Green and later Mojave Green. They have found there yet remain many untold wonders to be discovered in the unbounded realms of the imagination, especially as those realms unfold in the perilous wastelands of the Dimensions in Death.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrosWashburn
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBrothersWashburn
Blog: http://www.thebrotherswashburn.blogspot.com
Goodreads: Berk Washburn, Andy Washburn


other kid in Trona will go near the creepy old Searles Mansion, but Camm Smith is obsessed with the need to get inside. Seven years earlier, as she herded a pack of little trick-or-treaters past the mansion, her young neighbor, Hugh, disappeared, becoming just one of many children who have vanished from Trona over the years without a trace. Now a senior in high school, Camm is still haunted by the old tragedy and is sure the answer to the mysterious disappearances lies hidden somewhere in the decaying mansion. Joining forces with her best friend, Cal, who also happens to be Hugh’s older brother, Camm naively begins a perilous search for the truth.

As things spiral quickly out of control, and others die, Camm and Cal discover it will take all their combined ingenuity to stay alive. The unseen creature, lurking deep within the bowels of the mansion, seems to have supernatural powers and is now hunting them. Making matters worse, they become entangled with hostile federal agents, who care only about keeping old secrets permanently hidden. Left to their own devices, they know they are running out of time. Unless they can make sense out of the few pieces of the puzzle they manage to unearth, the monster will certainly destroy them, and like so many others before them, they will be gone without a trace.

Do you plan to read Mojave Green?

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