Monday, November 28, 2011

C.L.Kraemer's Shattered Tomorrows

Lucy Daniels has a secret--a deeply guarded secret.

Her life was going along just fine until she accompanied her best friend, Cassie, to her attorney’s suite on top of the Equitable Building in downtown Salem, Oregon.

Once inside the lawyer’s office, the world turned upside down and Lucy was forced to face a demon from her past. Thirty years previously, life had been different. Lucy had discovered Prince Charming and was headed to her happily ever after.

That’s when the devil intervened and because of her brush with the devil, innocent people died.

[Author’s note: This fictional account was loosely based on the incident of May 7, 1981 at 10:20 pm in the Oregon Museum Tavern, Salem, Oregon. A lone gunman entered the tavern,took out his Browning 9mm and emptied the clip into the crowd of Ladies’ Night revelers. He stepped outside to reload, entering again and shooting indiscriminately at the patrons inside the bar. Several young men tackled him, ending his killing spree. At the end of the 15 minutes of shooting, four were killed and twenty wounded.

This writer had been inside the tavern fifteen minutes prior to the incident, opting to leave with a friend to visit other nightspots.]

Intrigued? Well, stay with us while I interview C.L.
Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.

Once upon a time… I was a model. Difficult to believe when one views my “fluffy” appearance now.

How many books have you written?

I’m currently working on books thirteen and fourteen.

Tell us about your latest release, _Shattered Tomorrows.

Shattered Tomorrows was born of my own survivor’s guilt. On May 7, 1981, a lone gunman opened the front door of the Oregon Museum Tavern in Salem, Oregon at 10:20 pm and pulled out a Browning 9mm weapon. He proceeded to empty the clip into the crowd of Ladies’ Night revelers. Stepping outside, he released the empty clip and reloaded. Inside the door again, he started to fire indiscriminately into the remaining stunned patrons. Several young men shook off their shock and tackled him, dislodging the gun and slamming him to the ground. Three were dead; a fourth dying on the way to the hospital, and twenty were wounded.

Less than fifteen minutes prior, my friend and I had stood at the end of the bar nearest the door deciding whether to stay or leave. We opted to leave and heard the news on the radio as we pulled into another nightclub in town less than two miles away.

I’ve been haunted by the incident for years and opted to put my confusion and guilt into the pages of a novel. My main character Lucy Daniels has spent thirty years successfully blocking out the night her life changed forever, but a visit with her best friend to a location that played an important part in her younger years stirs up the memory pot and she realizes she must face her demons and conquer them.

In 1981 solving problems with a gun was not common and the event completely changed the way an entire generation thought about going out on the town. We begin to look over our shoulders and keep our backs to the wall. For some, it was a revisit to Vietnam. Our bubble of immortality had been broken. To this day if someone brings up the subject at a gathering, it is amazing the amount of people affected by incident.

Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others?

My first book was probably the most difficult as I had so little experience writing beyond 3,000 words. I had the story and knew I wanted to expand on the bare bones but didn’t have all the knowledge to move forward quickly. Once I joined RWA in my hometown, I met with my current critique partners and my writing smoothed out with their help and the information provided by picking up several writing oriented magazines. I began to purchase books and study the craft I wanted to pursue. By allowing those characters in my head to have their own way, my writing soon became a matter of keeping up with the story and not a matter of where was it going.

What are some of the problems you faced while plotting a series with ongoing characters?

When I first started my Dragon series [Dragons Among Us], I realized after the first four chapters I was going to have to create lists for characters, their traits, their countries and towns, and a little back history to give them more depth. Up to that point I was pretty much a panster writer. I quickly changed. I’ve actually begun to create outlines for my stories when I begin and find I’m thankful I did. My series is currently nine stories [I’m writing the third, Dragons Among the Ice] and may expand. I’m not sure yet how far I want to pursue the story.

How do you develop characters?

All right, I’m going to give you a writer answer. My characters seem to appear to me fully developed and it’s up to me to woo the details from them—similar to dating. I’ve traveled extensively in my life and met many different types of people. That helps wonderfully in character building. I can take one trait from someone I recall and add it to my character then borrow another trait from a separate person. There is a little bit of everyone I meet in my stories. I tell my friends I love being a writer because I can commit murder and never go to jail. I warn my husband if he isn’t nice to me I’ll kill him in my next book. Somehow, he doesn’t seem worried.

How do you choose your setting?

Setting for me truly depends on the story. As much of my writing is fantasy, I can create my own world as I see fit. For my story, Shattered Tomorrows, the setting was defined by the story itself. Since the story was loosely based on an actual incident, I opted to keep the setting local and change names and some details of places to avoid any legal issues.

Can you tell us about current or future projects?

As I mentioned, I’m currently in the midst of writing a Dragon series. I have completed Dragons Among Us for the base book and Dragons Among the Eagles as the second in the series. I’m starting to write Dragons Among the Ice. I’ll be completing Dragons Among the Bamboo, Dragons Among the Deserts, Dragons Among the Heather, Dragons Among the Stars, Dragons Among the Rains Forests and Quest for the Amber Ruby [a prequel]. Those are certain to be written. I’m thinking of Dragons Among the Roos, Dragons Among the Iguanas and possibly Dragons Among the Savannahs. This all depends on my ability to manage my time.

I’m also writing a mystery about a motorcycle poker run called Joker’s Wild. It’s a motorcycle run where those unfortunate enough to pull the Joker card have some pretty awful things happen to them. This will be completed in March 2012. My other passion is the Fae. I started writing about them in a couple anthologies and they have been trying to get their own series ever since. We’ll see.

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C.L., it been a pleasure to learn more about you. Have a wonderful Christmas.

tThanks, Susan.

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