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In the Light of the Eclipse
by Bryan Caron
Virtual Tour Dates: 12/2/13 – 12/16/13
Genres:Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/In-Light-Eclipse-Bryan-Caron/dp/0988944324
Where God so loved the world, Heather (or as few have dared to dub her “the goddess of condemnation”) holds a much crueler hand over her inhabitants. Every seventeen years, under her ever-watchful eye, an eclipse renders her land dark, taking the soul of everyone over the age of seventeen to the land of the unknown nothing. In its wake, Heather bestows the gift of a child upon the land. Some believe this child has special powers; others believe she inhabits the souls taken by the eclipse. But no matter the belief, one thing is certain—without the child, the land would crumble.
Most accept the eclipse and live every breath with a love unmatched by any other. This is especially true of Zoe, whose seventeenth year of breath nears ever so close. Born under the eclipse, Zoe understands her life is a gift and that she will return that gift in kind—whenever that day may be (that is until she falls in love and discovers the dark secrets hidden in the heart of Heather).
Still others yearn for a longer life and curse Heather’s name. One such person was branded the name Kayla on her day of breath eighteen years ago. Unable to comprehend the meaning of such viciousness, Kayla believes such a sacrifice is unnecessary, even for the worst of mankind. Little does she know that a mysterious traveler may hold the key to ending the eclipse forever.
Zoe and Kayla are best friends.
This is their story.
How I Found My Voice
In my experience, finding your voice as an author can be a daunting task. There are so many influences in the world (from the multitude of authors, television shows, movies, self-help books and countless others) in which we absorb so many different types of writing styles and techniques, that sifting through all of the noise to discover your own unique voice can, if you’re not careful, cause you to duplicate someone else’s.
So, how do we know which voice is true and which is false? The answer will be different for everyone, but one thing is certain—it can only be found when you’re ready to accept who you are and are willing to share your self with the world.
For some, doing so comes quite easily, without even the slightest bit of embarrassment or shame. For me, it has been a much harder journey. I’ve never felt completely comfortable exposing who I am, so when it comes to my writing, I’ve found myself relying too heavily on the styles and visions of others (most notably, Stephen King) to create my voice, ignoring and refusing to let the one screaming to get out to be presented.
Was it because I was afraid no one would like what I had to say? Was it because my voice was weak compared to others who have come before me? Was it because I was afraid of how readers would judge me and my work if they knew the real me? Whatever the reason, I hid the truth behind the emulation of others.
The problem is, most people, whether subconscious or not, can see the disingenuous nature of a writer’s voice. I hadn’t realized they could until a friend of mine told me there was something missing that distanced me from my work. She said that she thought that my time in college (or learning what was “best” in building my writing skills) had stolen something from me. It wasn’t clear what that something might be, but until I found it, there would always be a disconnect affecting my work.
Some time later, she discovered what that something might be.
After writing a rather long email about nothing in particular, she responded saying that she wished she could see the passion that was so evident in my emails come across in my novels. That really got me thinking about how my emails (which are basically trivial letters) could come across with so much more passion than my serious writing (which I take a lot of care and pride in).
Then it occurred to me: the reason my emails were so much more engaging was because I didn’t care about what she thought about them (or about me, for that matter) when I wrote them. I was simply speaking my mind; I was being natural. The technical aspects of the email weren’t a concern, neither was the subject matter. I was simply talking to a friend without the worry of creating something based on what I thought others would want.
That was what was missing from my work—me.
Believing I needed to craft my work so that the readers would ‘like’ it better was what blocked my connection to it. Essentially, I was writing to the imaginary consumer rather than writing for me. In so doing, I was covering up my true voice in order to write with that of a doppelganger, causing the work to come off bland and insincere. My voice was being restricted because I wasn’t allowing myself to open up.
So when I chose to write In the Light of the Eclipse, I wanted to utilize that natural flow. I made it a point to write as if I was writing an email (albeit, an extremely long email) to a good friend. I didn’t worry about the technical aspects, or what others would say, or how I might come off—I simply let myself go, relied on my instincts in how I interact with my friends, and allowed the words to flow conversationally and without worry.
I’m not sure if it worked, or if doing so will mean anything in the long run, but I do feel the book represents me as a person and as a writer a lot more than my previous works. After taking a step back from it all, there may be moments in the book where I do fall back on my old habits and try a little too hard, but for the most part, I do believe that my true voice is finally starting to break through (and not just in my novels).
It gives me hope that in the future, as I continue to let it breath, my voice will scream loud and clear in the words I place on the page and there will be no doubt who they are coming from.
On the morning that marked the beginning of Kayla’s eighteenth year of breath, Zoe got up an hour before the rooster’s crow and headed into Industry Quarters. She had never walked the streets at night before so it was a bit scary, but also quite amazing. The smell of baking bread was at its strongest and the bright glow of the full moon turned the artwork all around her into a fluorescent wonderland. It made it all the more brilliant to lie back in the shadows and watch a couple of kids turn paint into such beautiful pictures. She almost wanted to join them in taking brush in hand but she had something much more pressing to do, and time was of the essence.
Zoe inched her way through the slightly wilted bushes surrounding Kayla’s house and pressed her hands firmly on the glass of her bedroom window. Kayla never locked her window so it was quite easy to open and crawl in without rousing her, though she hoped the change in noise level from the roar of the machines didn’t do it for her. Thankfully, Kayla was still asleep when the room returned to silence. Zoe snuck up to Kayla’s bureau and shoveled her swimming suit, towel and a change of clothes into her pack, a task that took longer than expected (it couldn’t just be any old clothes; it had to at least look good together). When she was happy with what she had chosen, Zoe tiptoed back to Kayla’s bed and kissed her cheek.
“Wake up, sleepy,” she whispered into Kayla’s ear.
Kayla groaned and rolled over. “Go away.”
“Kayla, wake up,” Zoe said, shaking her shoulder.
When Kayla finally realized who it was, she sat up quickly and looked around as if her caretakers were hiding in the walls, waiting for just the right reason to take her to Quorum Circle for punishment. “Zoe,” she whispered. “What in Heather’s name are you doing here? What time is it?”
“It’s time to give you my gift.”
Each year, to mark the day of a person’s first breath, caretakers and friends would do something special for that person, from taking over that day’s chores to whisking them off to Serenity Lake for a grand snorkel, so long as it was something that was unique to the presenter of the gift. For this, the last gift Zoe would ever give Kayla, she wanted to do something more amazing than life. She pulled Kayla out of bed.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s a secret. Come on.”
Kayla felt a little blushed walking the streets of Industry Quarters in her sleeping gown, especially when they passed Henry (who had a not-so-secret crush on Kayla) sweeping flour out of his caretaker’s factory.
“Where are you two lovely ladies headed off to so early?” Henry said.
“No time to chat,” Zoe said, keeping from making eye contact. If she had, she would have felt obligated to stop, and Zoe was in far too much a hurry to do that. Henry did it for her.
“Just wait, I’ll come with.” Henry set the broom against the inside of the door and jogged after them. “Wait up.”
Now Zoe had to stop. “You can’t come, Henry.” Her hand was outstretched, keeping him from coming any closer. Kayla was pulled in behind her.
“Why? What’s the big deal?”
“I’m giving Kayla her gift. This is for her and I alone. So if you don’t mind…”
“Her gift? What could you possibly be giving her this early?”
“None of your business,” Kayla interjected. She stepped around Zoe, who felt a little honored and shocked (though she didn’t know why). “Now be a good little boy and get back to work. Go on.” She waved her hand. How Kayla could get away with that was beyond Zoe, even if Henry was a year younger than her (and no more than a couple of months older than Zoe, for that matter). Maybe she was using his infatuation against him.
Then again, maybe not.
“No. I want to see what this is.”
“We aren’t moving until you leave,” Kayla said.
“That’s fine. I have all day.”
“We don’t,” Zoe whispered to Kayla. She acknowledged her, but with only the slightest turn of her head so that Henry might not notice.
“I don’t want to have to get physical,” Kayla said. Her voice was strong, commanding. “But I will if I have to.”
“Do you promise?” Henry said, which disgusted Kayla to no end.
“Just leave us alone.”
“Tell me where you’re off to and maybe I will.”
Henry shrugged. Zoe grew ever more irritated. The sun would be up soon; once it was, her gift would be ruined. If she weren’t such a lady (or had been taught to be such by her caretakers), she probably would have popped him one (or urged Kayla to, in the very least) just to make her point. Luckily, she didn’t have to.
About the Author:
Bryan Caron is a multi-talented, award-winning artist with works in several mediums, including print, film and design. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and an associate’s degree in computer graphic design, Bryan studied filmmaking and film editing while working at a performing arts studio in San Diego, California. He took this knowledge to write, direct and edit films under his banner, Divine Trinity Films. Soon after, he would team up with the Fallbrook Film Factory, a non-profit film consortium, to continue his growth in the areas of writing, directing and editing, all the while fleshing out his talents in fiction writing (publishing Year of the Songbird and Jaxxa Rakala: The Search in 2013), working as a graphic designer, and beginning his first blog: Chaos breeds Chaos.
His works as writer and director include the short films My Necklace, Myself (Best Screenplay, Short Film, 2009 Treasure Coast International Film Festival) and 12, the feature film Secrets of the Desert Nymph, and the commercial Charlie’s Ticket, which ran on dozens of television stations and in movie theaters in San Diego County to advertise the Fallbrook International Film Festival. Works as editor include the short film Puzzle Box and No Books, the first of several episodes he has edited for the online sketch-series, Treelore Theatre.
Bryan currently resides in Riverside County.