Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blog Tour: The Burning Time by J.G. Faherty - Guest Post

ISBN: 9781936564637
Release Date: January 18, 2013
274 pages, Paperback
JournalStone Publishing

Wherever The Stranger goes, evil follows. Wild dogs roam the fields. Townspeople turn on each other in murderous fury. Innocent women throw themselves off bridges. Swimmers disappear, victims of a deadly beast that haunts their waters. And the worst is still yet to come. The Stranger plans to open a gateway to the nether realms and release the Elder Gods to bring forth Chaos on Earth.
Only one man knows the truth, a country mage whose family has fought TheStranger before. But can he defeat his ageless enemy before Hastings Mills is nothing but a smoking ruin and the townspeople become unwilling blood sacrifices to the Old Ones? With only the help of a young woman and her teenage son, he will have to use all of his arcane knowledge to thwart his adversary and prevent the final apocalypse.
In Hastings Mills, The Burning Time has arrived.

Voice and the Telling of the Tale

Does this sound familiar? You pick up a book, start reading, and pretty soon you're lost in it. You don't notice the point of view, you don't notice the way the characters speak. Everything seems so natural that you just find yourself immersed in the story.

If that's so, then the writer has done his job.

But has this ever happened to you? You read those first couple of pages, and you wonder why the writer chose his point of view (first person, third person, etc.) – or why there is more than one point of view. Every character seems to speak exactly the same way. Or worse, some of them have terribly pronounced accents that seem very out of place, and they pull you out of the story.

If that's the case, then the writer has made some basic mistakes with voice.

Voice can mean a lot of things when it comes to writing. There is the writer's voice, which is another way of saying the writer's style. Stephen King has a very different voice than Dean Koontz or Jonathan Maberry. They're all very good writers, but if they all wrote a book about vampires in the deep south, the prose in those three books would end up sounding very different, because each of them has their own style.

Voice can also refer to the voice of the story's narrator – is the book written in the first person or the third person (or, occasionally, the second person)? You might think this distinction isn't important, but changing the narrator's POV can completely change a story. Think of a classic private eye story. They are often told in the first person not only so you feel an immediate sense of being right there in the story. Compare these two versions of the same scene:
The moment I saw her, I knew she would be trouble. Her eyes seemed to peer into my brain, and the smell of her perfume wrapped itself around me like a lavender-scented python.

The moment Jake saw her, he knew she would be trouble. Her eyes seemed to peer into his brain, and the smell of her perfume wrapped itself around him like a lavender-scented python.

Only a couple of words are different, but the first version is much more personal.

Of course, if you are telling a mystery, it also helps to use the first person because then the reader gets the clues the same as the detective – there are no spoilers.

On the other hand, if you need to show how multiple characters are thinking or acting, then you can't use first person at all.

The third type of voice is the voices of the characters themselves. No two people sound alike when they talk; we all have little quirks or accents that set us apart. Maybe a person says 'Um' at the beginning of every sentence. Or they have a little bit of a southern drawl. Or they're from Brooklyn and pronounce three like tree. Having different voices helps the reader distinguish between characters when they're having conversations, and also helps make the character real in the story.

In my most recent novel, The Burning Time, I needed a way to set one of my main characters, John Root, apart from the others. John is from North Carolina, but he's now in a small town in upstate NY. He's the proverbial fish out of water, despite a shared small town background. His new friends, Danni and Mitch, speak faster and use more slang than he does. John forms his words carefully and precisely. But at the same time, I didn't want him to sound too old fashioned, so he's kept some of his southern drawl, which allows him to use contractions, giving him a gentlemanly, laid back tone.

In my book Carnival of Fear, I had an assortment of teenage characters with various backgrounds – educated, uneducated, jocks, stoners, street gang members. These all needed to have different voices, but at the same time I couldn't get bogged down with too much teen slang, because otherwise the characters would sound like caricatures instead of real people.

Voice is always a balancing act in a novel, but if you get it right, it can make a huge difference in how the reader experiences the story.

Author bio
JG Faherty grew up in the haunted Hudson Valley region of New York, and still resides there. Living in an area filled with Revolutionary War battle grounds, two-hundred year-old gravesites, ghosts, haunted roads, and tales of monsters in the woods has provided a rich background for his writing. A life-long fan of horror and dark fiction, JG enjoys reading, watching movies, golfing and hiking with his wife and dogs, volunteering as an exotic animal caretaker, and playing the guitar. His favorite holiday is Halloween (naturally), and as a child, one of his childhood playgrounds was an 18th century cemetery. 

JG’s first novel, CARNIVAL OF FEAR, was released in 2010. His next book, THE CEMETERY CLUB, came out in 2011, followed by GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY and THE COLD SPOT. His other credits include more than two dozen short stories in major genre magazines and anthologies. If you see him at a horror convention, feel free to buy him a Guinness.

You can find also him on FacebookTwitter, Goodreads, and LibraryThing. 

See all the stops on the tour here.  


  1. Great guest post! I have actually read a book once where it changed from first person to third and it was so weird and slightly confusing. I am not even sure the author knew they had done it. Those first couple of pages in a book are always so important. They set the tone for the whole book and you usually know then whether you are going to like it or not.

  2. Uber creepy cover and synopsis - I LOVE it!! Great guest post - very interesting about the voices!


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