This Writer’s Life by Jeffrey Perren
Up before dawn — tea for me, coffee for the wife, pet the dog. Check emails, correspondence with beta readers, and miscellaneous.
So far, that doesn’t sound very exciting. But that’s the business side of things. I leave as much of that as I can to my publicist — remembering how blessed I am to have one who loves my work.
Later, write or edit the latest story. It will be a re-telling of the William Tell legend and later a trilogy set in the Age of Discovery.
But whatever the subject matter, the process is similar: research everything you can about the history, technology, and general society and daily lives of the period and people. Then, weave a plot within and around all that, one filled with drama, romance, and ideas to enrapture the reader for every single page until the end.
Tall orders, any one of them. Taken together, near-impossible. But that’s what makes the writer’s life a glorious adventure all on its own. Visit places I’ve never been but want to see. Be people I’ve never been but strive to become and sometimes get inspired by real people, like Breutier the hero in my historical novel “Cossacks In Paris”. The germ came from a contemporary news clipping about the Battle of Paris in March, 1814. Breutier, was a soldier who participated in the conflict that actually led to Napoleon’s abdication, long before Waterloo.
According to the news story:
“As he was about to be taken over, this young man, keeping a cool head, jumps into a ditch filled with water, crosses it with his musket held high above, leans against a tree, ten paces from the Cossacks and, there, calmly loading his weapon several times, kills four of those savages.
The musketry from the battalion having obliged the enemy to retreat, this brave and dashing young man runs back to take his rank with his comrades who had just admired his courage.”
Like life, the effort is three-parts tedium to one-part heart-pounding excitement. And you’re continuously trying to shift the ratio, despite the never-ending resistance of the universe to move it in the undesired direction. Still, you have to try — and try and try again. To give up is to decay, to die a little on your way to complete dissolution. No profit in that.
It isn’t for everyone, for sure. It’s cerebral and emotionally taxing. It’s isolated and isolating, and it takes far more self-discipline than most people — me included — can manage on a regular basis.
No one orders you to write all day, every day. But if you don’t the page doesn’t get filled. You feel guilty when you slack off, and rightly so. You realize that no one, yourself included, is paying you to not write — neither in coin nor in praise. So, you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and plunge in again.
Then, you find you’re enjoying the process so much you wonder why you procrastinated so long.
That’s one writer’s life, anyway. Your mileage will no doubt vary.
COSSACKS IN PARIS
Genre: Historical Fiction
On the eve of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign a conscripted engineer gets swept up in events that will forever alter his life and all Europe.
HOW FAR WILL ONE MAN GO FOR LOVE AND FREEDOM?
Rebellious engineer Breutier Armande is drafted into the Grande Armeé on the eve of Napoleon’s 1812 Russian war campaign. On a spying mission to St. Petersburg he meets Kaarina, daughter of the counselor to Tsar Alexander I.
The pair soon fall in love — but Kaarina is betrothed to Agripin, a brooding Cossack and a favorite of the Tsar. When she refuses him, Agripin kidnaps her, sowing a showdown to the death between the two young men.
Risking a firing squad, Breutier deserts Napoleon’s army during the war. Dodging the vengeance of the world’s most powerful rulers catapults him onto a perilous quest to hunt down his greatest enemy.
Interweaving the characters’ personal dramas with the battles in Europe forms the core of the story. The conflict peaks at the moment when, for the first time in 400 years, foreign armies invaded France, leaving behind Cossacks in Paris.
Jeffrey Perren wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at age 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand.
His debut novel was “Cossacks In Paris,” an historical adventure set in Napoleonic Europe, inspired by a real soldier of the Battle of Paris in 1814. His second, “Death is Overrated,” a romantic mystery, is the story of a scientist who must prove he didn’t kill himself. His third is “Clonmac’s Bridge,” an archaeological thriller and historical mystery set in contemporary and 9th century Ireland. His latest “The Lighthouse Pylon,” a novel of romantic suspense about a lonely lighthouse keeper who discovers at last his ideal woman — and finds her a very dark lady indeed.