Thursday, October 22, 2015

The joys of risk

It can take years to finish writing a great book, and it can take years of training to build up the endurance to finish strong as a runner in an ultramarathon. I began writing my latest book, RAPTURED in 2011, the same year I attempted my first ultramarathon - The Burning Boot Ultra. The course was a challenge with 64kms of mountainous logging roads winding from Gold River to Tahsis B.C.. At around 21kms I twisted my knee bounding down a steep incline, and was forced to walk. The walk quickly turned into a limp. I eventually had to give-up due to the inflammation.

The next year, in 2013, I was determined to complete The Burning Boot. I found a 16 week ultramarathon training plan online and followed it as closely as I could. The diligence paid off later that year. I finished with the top 15 runners with a time of 7:35. Three months after this, in September, I entered the 56km Great Lake Ultra in Cowichan, and finished 11th overall. It took discipline. I had to push my body through pain, and keep track of my fluid and calorie intake. At times I questioned, "Why am I doing this?". I tried to think of a good excuse to give up, but I didn't find one that would stop me. I pressed on and finished just outside the top ten with a time of 6:03.

Since then I have gone on to complete three, 50 mile ultras (80kms). My best time was 9:13 at the Elk Beaver Ultra in 2014. I placed 2nd in the Men's Masters age category.

You try to minimize the risk as a runner by training properly and having sufficient calories and fluids at hand on long run days. But there's always this risk on the race days, partly because of the terrain, and partly because of the distance. I could break if I push myself too hard. Call me crazy, but I enjoy this.

I finished writing RAPTURED this summer. To complete it, I required a determination and resilience like that which I use to complete an ultramarathon. Risk plays an important part in the books that I've written. In each story I have at least one character under some threat. Either their life or their livelihood is at risk.

In LOST ARK FOUND five preteen boys head out on a two-week treasure hunt with a grandfather on Vancouver Island, facing all the dangers present in the wilderness. The opening sentence of the book sets up the risk at hand: "This story begins with the opening of a book, and ancient manuscript, found centuries ago on the dead body of a frozen traveler, high on the mountain glaciers of Vancouver Island."

Brad, an ambitious surveillance expert, one of the characters in, A SILENT VIOLENCE, risks loosing a lucrative contract with the CIA when he discovers why a world famous rock star has invited over a hundred of the richest and poorest people of the world to a secret meeting in Toronto.

In DANCE WITH ME Carl Guinness is left for dead, dumped in a river. The Fallen Angels gang attempted to kill him because he wanted to close the tavern they had helped to finance (without Carl's knowledge). Luckily, the bullet hit the Bible tucked into the breast pocket of Carl's leather jacket. After escaping the submerged tarp cocoon, he is forced to live as a fugitive, his life at risk, trying to figure out a way to bring justice to this powerful biker gang. But it seems impossible, until God intervenes.

RAPTURED: Angelic Army Conquests Books 1 & 2
Book 1
Fifteen-year-old Colin Duncan could soon be dead, if his broke, drug addicted father, follows through with a diabolical plan. But Rob Milne, a newly deceased Canadian soldier, joins a platoon of angels on a rescue mission to save him. Can Colin be reached in time, or will the demonic resistance take too long to overcome?

Book 2
After the rapture, the United Nations set up a secret death camp on a tropical island near Fiji to interrogate and annihilate new Christian believers. Rob, and the angelic platoon under his charge, is tasked with the mission of securing the nuptials of a TWA tennis pro to one of the wealthiest men in the world, Russ King. Somehow, this marriage could save millions of Christians from slaughter.

I've learned that risk can be exciting. It adds joy to life in the real world, and interest for the reader in the world of fiction. Don't let the fear of failure or the 'what if's' immobilize you. Take the first steps, lace up the running shoes and jog around the block. Put the pen to paper and write the first paragraph. Create an interesting character whose life is under risk. You'll be amazed how far you can go once you get started.

No comments: