Sunday, June 27, 2010

Editing Chris Newman is Exciting!

Return to Albrecht Manor is the sixth book in Christopher Newman's Noah Ravenswood Series-- about a paranormal investigator and practicing Wiccan who defends Ohio, and the planet, from otherworldly invasion, finding and losing love along the way.

His apprentice, Dr. Sarah Bookings, Phd, shoulders her share of the supernatural adventures and has an equally complicated love life.

Hey, sex happens, and that means plenty of scope in the human heart and libido for interference by the forces of the uncanny, for good or ill.

Noah and Sarah have different hookups in every installment. The plots feature plenty of secondary pairings, both heterosexual and unusual, human and inhuman as well. Plenty of horror and suspense round out the mix until I could easily imagine Chris writing for one of the darker graphic novel series out there.

In this one, Noah's just finished clearing out a flesh-eating ghoul from a small town cemetery when he gets a call from hereditary 'baron' Marcus Albrecht, for aid in laying to rest the unquiet spirit of his recently deceased father, at the palatial estate where Dr. Sarah had some very dangerous erotic adventures with an entity claiming to be the older man. She hates going back, but the situation calls for her research expertise. Local elementals predating the founding of the state of Ohio have been disturbed. Pretty soon it's demigod against demigod, and the corpses of human casualties begin to pile up in the secret passages within the walls...

In any other hands the pulp-style sex and violence could strain our suspension of disbelief. Chris keeps the most outrageous narrative ingredients both credible and suspenseful. My main task as editor is to make sure the narrative flows once it has been set down whole from the mind of Chris, full-grown, like Athena from Jupiter's forehead. I move paragraphs around in a way that makes them easier for the human brain to assimilate smoothly, eliminating choppy transitions and making the descriptive passages easier to visualize. I rarely need to actually cut anything. It all belongs somewhere.

Sometimes it's like he's actually taking dictation from the muse and he'll use a word that's really close to the one obviously meant but it merely sounds similar; it didn't annoy the spellchecker but it makes no sense in context. His lucky editor then gets the happy task of translating into English idiom. Or Italian, French, or German. Chris loves to throw in exotic quotes that take me back to grad school days. 98 percent of the time I guess right!

It's a roller-coaster ride to read Chris' work, and just as much of a thrill to whip it into shape for you to read. He's one of our most prolific authors and also supplies work to at least two other presses besides Dark Roast. His imagination never seems to stop.

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