The Clarion West Write-a-thon, which always runs concurrently with the Clarion West Workshop, starts next week. While I’ll still be working on the same project (yes, the one I was sure I’d finish drafting last year!), I’m excited and confident that I really will get this manuscript completed soon. (My only excuse is that becoming one of the owners and editors of a small press last year took up a fair amount of time and creative energy. At least it’s writing-related, right?) 😛
The other exciting incentive for reaching my goal this year is that in August, shortly after the end of the Write-a-thon, I’m finally going to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park to do research for this book. This is a trip I’ve been thinking about for years. (I won’t say how many — I don’t want to give away just how long ago I got the idea for this book!) The original plan had also included taking a glacier-climbing course on Mount Shasta on the same trip, but for a number of reasons that’s not going to happen; in any case, I’m just thrilled to finally make it to Lassen.
The region that the young hero in the story travels to has lots of volcanic ‘stuff’ (how’s that for scientific terminology?) similar to the features at Lassen. And the name in the title, Elebfar, refers to the mountain (an active volcano) that’s central both in regards to the location of the latter half of the novel and to the source of the main conflict in the story. (You can see a little more about the book here.)
Since I’m so obsessed with realism, getting to experience that setting (or re-experience it, since I did visit Lassen with my family once, although I was only about seven) is important to making it all come alive in the book through vivid (and sometimes disturbing!) details. (And it also has to do with a certain word I like.) 🙂 In any case, I think it’s always great for an author to visit either the actual setting of a story or something similar if the real location is either too impractical or simply impossible to visit. (And for some reason locations on imaginary planets generally fall into the latter category.) 😉