Thursday, July 31, 2014

Trust the Maze by Christa Allan

Sometimes writing is like spending months studying Italian only to discover, when your plane lands, that you're in Greece. Eventually, you drink some ouzo (which is capable of rendering you nearly comatose), visit a few islands, and come to embrace this new territory. It may not be where you wanted to go, but you discover that it's exactly where you needed to be.

Until I wrote my first novel, I had not walked through what we're calling this cycle the "corn maze" of writing. In fact, I attended conferences and would overhear published authors saying to one another, "My character just refused to do what I needed him to do," or "I had no idea where this character came from." I'd tiptoe to the nearest corner and wonder how it was I came to be with this strange group of adults who must have missed their imaginary friend stage as children.

And then I started Walking on Broken Glass. My protagonist's husband, Carl, suddenly had a brother.  I never intended for him to have a sibling. He just appeared straight from my fingertips and onto my screen. I still remember looking at my monitor and saying, "What the hell...?" This brother, it turned out, influenced decisions Carl's parents made that ultimately determined what motivated some of Carl's actions in the novel.

In Threads of Hope, an elderly couple came out of nowhere and met my protagonist at the airport where she was waiting to board a plane to take her to her new life. They shared their lives with her, and Italy became Greece.

Then in my first (and only!) historical, Love Finds You in New Orleans, a minor character became a major player in turning the plot into an unexpected direction.

I just started my next project, An Unexpected Christmas, a novella that's going to be my first-ever self-published ebook (insert excitement here!).  Pulling it together was like trying to shove an octopus into a box. Then Seymour came along.

Seymour is an actual rescue dog, and my husband's vet clinic is trying to find him a forever home. He's as impish as he is adorable, and he's exactly what my protagonist needs to shake up her life.

Sometimes it really is all about walking through the corn maze long enough to find your way out.

Christa Allan's newest novel, Test of Faith, released in March. You can find her atwww.christaallan.comFacebook, and Twitter. She and her husband live in New Orleans with their three neurotic cats and new dog, Herman. You can find her other novels here.


  1. That's really so true. I share your amazement.

    1. Glad to share a-mazing opportunities with friends!

  2. I truly love this post, Christa! SO true. I hadn't thought of it in terms of an actual destination before (i.e., Italy turns into Greece), but that's definitely what it feels like! You prep/plot for one "trip" and, suddenly, you find yourself somewhere else... ;)

    1. Thanks, Marilyn. Of course, there are those times when I DON"T end up where I want to be. Sometimes not even in the same universe.

  3. OMG, i want the dog! But please do not allow this to detract from your post, Christa, which was oh-so-relatable. I love it when people and places turn up unexpectedly, and then afterward you find yourself saying, "Well, of course that's how it's supposed to go!"