Friday, August 3, 2018

Guest Post by Katherine Prairie

The Blank Page

Katherine Prairie

I’ve had the privilege of meeting many emerging writers over the past few years, and often they ask about my routine, or whether I’ve experience writer’s block. I understand these questions; I had them myself.
Every author has faced a blank page, struggling to find words. For me, it often happens after several days away from the keyboard, which means that taking the weekend off can make Monday a challenge. So I try to do a little writing — even a paragraph or two — every day of the week. That routine, something that can take as little as fifteen minutes, somehow makes the blank page less intimidating.
It doesn’t always work. Right now, while I’m busy promoting BLUE FIRE, it’s easy to make my to-do list a priority or to focus on research for my next Alex Graham thriller, instead of writing. But those tasks can easily fill a day or a week, leaving me to face the dreaded blank page again the next day! So I start my day writing, and push other tasks to mid-morning with the intent of restarting my afternoon with more writing. Even if my to-do list takes over, I’ll manage to put in at least a few of hours of writing time during my most creative time of day.  And I turn to music to get me started.
I’ve created several playlists, everything from dark and moody, to soft and reflective, that serve to narrow my focus and set the tone. Because I write in multiple perspectives, I select the music that fits the character telling the story in the scene I’m working on. Alex Graham’s music tends to be mostly rock, which seems fitting for the risk-taker and adventurer that she is. Dr. Eric Keenan’s songs, on the other hand, are energetic,  the music of a man racing to save lives in the emergency room!
As you would expect, ominous music fills my office when I’m writing from the perspective of my villain, but what I find interesting is that there’s always a one song that becomes a signature for that character. That was certainly true for Shen Li. His signature song, Ed Sheeran’s Make It Rain from the Sons of Anarchy series, makes me I feel as though I’ve dropped into the mind of this complex foe, and I often start my day with it.
Every writer develops their own strategies, but perhaps there’s an idea here that will work for you!    



Tanzanite, a rare blue gem born in fire and revealed by lightning, is found only in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania. But now the death of a gem smuggler points to another possibility. A South American mine owned by Tabitha Metals may hold the find of a century. But why is it kept hidden from the world? Geologist Brian Graham can draw only one conclusion: the mine’s untraceable wealth is used to fund terrorism. And he must reveal the truth.

Brian heads to Colombia to check out mines there while his geologist daughter Alex and Tanzanian miner Mosi Ongeti start in Brazil. But their daring plan ends with a gunshot, and they are now pursued by the henchmen of a sinister, powerful arms dealer.

In a high-stakes race across two continents, Alex fights to expose the mine before the man behind Tabitha Metals can stop her.


A daring act reveals an incredible secret deep in a Brazilian mine, and catapults geologist Alex Graham into the world of a powerful arms dealer. She heads to Tanzania, to her father whose cryptic message started her quest. But her enemy is closing in.


Katherine Prairie brings her own experience as an international geologist to the Alex Graham thriller series. Her debut novel THIRST was shortlisted for the 2017 Whistler Independent Book Awards. She served as the founding president of Sisters in Crime - Canada West, and she is a 2018-19 Crime Writers of Canada director.


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