The Heart's Journey Home
by Nikki Jackson
It’s summer vacation, and all seventeen-year-old Tori Logan wants to do is hang out with her two best friends, practice her mixed martial arts and go to FBI spy camp. Summer means freedom (mostly from adults) and Tori plans to fill every spare moment of her last summer before graduating from High School with all the fun things she and her best pals can come up with.
Tori, whose mom died of breast cancer when she was young, has always relied on her own strength to get by - especially because her Archeologist father tends to leave her behind with his live-in girlfriend while he gallivants around the world on digs. Thankfully, Tori can take care of herself. She knows exactly who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Her Lakota Sioux grandfather, a former Navy SEAL, trained Tori in self-defense from a young age. Now, as a teenager, Tori excels at mixed martial arts and the use of various weapons. During the summer she will be attending an FBI sponsored Summer Camp which she hopes will lead to her dream job – becoming an FBI serial killer profiler.
With her two best friends at her side, Tori believes she can handle anything. And with summer vacation stretching before them, the trio plans to find plenty of adventure.
But while Tori is determined to be independent, life has other plans for this fierce young woman, and they include coming to grips with some hard - and surprising - truths about both her past and her future.
Kat leaned over to whisper to Tori, keeping an eye on the back of Guevara’s head.
“I remember seeing a movie once where a bunch’cha teens went off to what they thought was summer camp and it was really some kinda alien invasion where they took over everybody’s mind.”
Tori chuckled quietly.
“I take it you haven’t had much exposure to the military.”
“My grandparents were pot smoking, free loving hippies who ran off to Canada when my grandpa got drafted. My mom was born in a commune and they named her Karma and her brother, Echo.” Tori muffled a laugh.
“Then what are you doing here?” Tori asked. Kat leaned even closer.
“I ran slightly afoul of the law so to speak and it was either spend a week here or a week cleaning up trash along the freeway.”
“What did you do, shoplift?”
“Sorta hacked into a bank and gave myself a bogus ATM card.”
“How much did you get before you got busted?”
“About twelve grand.”
“Shut up!” Tori whispered loudly.
“For real.” Kat said. “My stupid kid brother found my stash and the ATM card and decided to make his own withdrawal. An 11 year old kid on a bike pulling 400 bucks out of an ATM just didn’t seem quite right. He got nabbed and ratted me out.”
Research: A Necessary Part of the Process
There is absolutely no way to get out of doing research for your book. It’s simply not an option. The choice you do have as a writer is to determine the method of research you use. Do you go to the library? Use the internet? Chat up folks you know and/or interview professionals? Sure, you’re a writer and a big part of writing fiction is making stuff up but there are certain things you can’t just make up. As a writer you need to decide your book’s setting; the country or state, city, urban or rural. What year is the story taking place? What type of house do your characters live in? The year/make/model of the car they drive, the style of clothes they wear, the fast-food they eat. What model phone do they have? What programs do your characters watch on TV? What movies are they going to? What music do they listen to? And on and on.
Book one of The Heart’s Journey Home takes place during summer vacation, 2009. That meant I couldn’t incorporate anything into the story that occurred after that timing. No post-2009 phones, iPod, tablets, computers, TVs, cars, movies, music or TV shows. Because the book ends around August, AJ can’t see the movie Avatar until December, which will be in book two. As a writer you owe it to your characters to fully develop them. The main character Tori is part Lakota which means her Tribe has a specific Reservation, where? Since I don’t speak Lakota and she does I had to research a few words and phrases. Her father is part Norse so his Viking background had to be researched. The live-in girlfriend is Jewish, my roots are Black Baptist so that had to be researched. AJ lost a leg to juvenile cancer so that had to be researched. Yes, as a writer I’m taking the reader on a make-believe journey but for the story to be real to the reader I had to incorporate some real, factual details – things the reader knows and is familiar with. Things the reader will catch if you’re sloppy and don’t want to do the research.
Bing defines continuity as - the maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a movie or broadcast. I’d like to add – or book. For a writer continuity means consistent detail to the work as a whole. You owe it to the reader to do the proper research but you also owe it to the work itself, and to the craft. Why are you a writer in the first place? I hope it’s for the same reason I write – I straight up love it. I’m possessed by writing. I don’t want to do anything else with my life. Writing is the dream of my dreams. Then don’t I owe something to that? Don’t I owe the best of me to that? To my dream?
The last thing you as a writer should want is for the reader to catch a slip – something out of time or sequence. That’s distracting enough to yank the reader right out of the land of the story and plant them right back home in the present, the very place they were using your book to escape from for a few hours.
Research doesn’t have to be boring or tedious, it can actually be fun. And it’s the greatest muse because it puts your writer head further into the story. Test it for yourself. You’ve run into writer’s block? Pick something in the story to research and see if that doesn’t get your juices flowing again.
Invest in the book. Invest in the reader. Do the research.
Nikki Jackson will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ever since she was young, Nikki Jackson has loved reading and the way that books allow you to journey on wonderful adventures without ever leaving the comfort of home. She decided at a young age that she wanted to become a writer to enable others to experience the magic of books—and The Heart’s Journey Home is the result.
In addition to writing, Nikki Jackson is a contract worker for General Motors. She and her husband currently live in the Detroit metropolitan area.
The Heart’s Journey Home Blog is currently under construction and will be online soon.
Twitter - https://twitter.com/journey4home