The most recent edition of my hero’s journey mountain adventure novel The Sun Singer came out in March 2010 in paperback and Kindle formats. I have been revisiting the novel during the last few months to make sure my Sarabande sequel is consistent with the large cast of characters and mysterious plot.
Many of my favorite characters from The Sun Singer are returning in Sarabande. I must be careful not to accidentally change the color of anyone’s hair, mix up who did what, or forget who the traitors and heroes were in the original story.
I Need a Sun Singer Encyclopedia!
I’m using the search feature in Microsoft Word a lot these days. When Gem or Dohver or Robert show up in Sarabande, I search for them in The Sun Singer. I’ve done the same thing for every character because I’m just not organized enough to have a “master notebook” with an alphabetized list of characters, traits, nastiness level, date of birth and eye color.
Searching for such details in The Sun Singer reminds me of bits and pieces of the story that I haven’t thought about for a long time. It’s been fun–as well as distracting. Here’s a scene I came across tonight in which young Robert Adams (aka Sonny Trout) meets Gem and her daughter Cinnabar on a mountain trail:
Gem and Cinnabar
Voices. Voices ahead of him on the trail, as yet indistinct. He crouched down and waited. If it were a search party, he’d just have to hang his head, like Arnold’s puppy when it was caught on the couch, and admit that he was wrong to hike alone and stay out so late. Yet, if he did step through a door into another world, what then? He hid his pack in the underbrush and crawled forward.
He found every dry twig in the forest, and every one of them cracked in two as though he were chopping firewood in front of a microphone. Where was brother owl’s hoooo hoo-oooo, hoo hoo and the wind and the rain when he needed some covering noise? The earth was cold to the touch.
An arm wrapped around his neck, choked him, and pulled him over onto his back. That dream! He knew what was next. The boot slammed into his stomach and the dirty rag shoved in his mouth blocked his weak protest. His hands and feet were bound with a heavy rope.
“Over here. Gem.” A woman’s voice—the word in his dream notebook was a name?—and obviously no one from the hotel out to rescue him.
“Gem, I’ve caught us a lousy spy.”
Sonny saw nothing. His captor had the eyes of a cat. Or, with the ability to operate so efficiently in the darkness, was a cat.
The night moved in front of him and four hands pulled him up on his feet, then hoisted him into a mid-air prone position. They carried him down the trail in the direction he had been heading. After taking a few steps, they were breathing heavily.
A spy? Spies were always stabbed at night or shot at dawn. Robert Adams said he heard a blue dove calling through a doorway. Yeah, for the hapless Sonny Trout.
In ten minutes, the night gave way to a small campfire. They set him down roughly, several feet away from it, and the heat felt good. The light transformed his captors from gasping apparitions into flesh and blood women. One wore a brown, leather dress. Her hair was black and twisted into long braids. The other was shorter, younger, and wore dark green trousers and a flannel shirt. She perspired heavily. Her shoulder-length hair was fiery red, tangled and matted to the sides of her face. She paced in front of the fire, catching her breath. Finally, she stooped down in front of Sonny, turning up her nose in disgust as though she were looking at a helpless bug lying on its back. Then she laughed.
“In the Guardian’s name. Gem, we’ve robbed the cradle with this one. He’s a mere child. Justine must be desperate.”
“Quiet, Cinnabar,” rasped Gem, “the forest can hear. There may be others.”
“If there are others,” said Cinnabar, “they’ll meet the same fate as this one.” She leered at Sonny. “There are numerous ways to die, little boy.”
Okay, I Better Get Back to Work
In the manuscript for my sequel, Robert Adams is talking to Sarabande some 1,600 miles away from the Lake Josephine Valley in Glacier National Park where this scene from The Sun Singer occurred. I found myself reading it to remind myself what Robert’s firrst reaction to a stressful situation was like. He’s in one right this minute in Sarabande, and I better get back to it before I forget the details I just read.