Wednesday, April 18, 2018

0 WoW: Diana Rodriguez Wallach on Developing a Cohesive Trilogy

Today on for Writers on Writing, we're thrilled to have Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, with some insight on developing the consistent elements that help bind a trilogy together. Stay tuned after the guest post for more info about Diana and her most recent book, LIES THAT BIND. Without further ado, here's Diana! 

The Super Glue that Holds a Trilogy Together
By Diana Rodriguez Wallach

A lot of glue goes into binding a trilogy. There are the giant globs, like theme and character, as well as the tiny drips applied with a toothpick, like inside jokes or literary references. For the Anastasia Phoenix series, the big smears of paste include espionage, travel, mystery and family, but one of my favorite drops of super glue is the incorporation of obscure holidays.

InProof of Lies, the book opens with Anastasia and her sister, Keira, celebrating Mother’s Day Eve. There’s no mimosa brunch, instead Keira, Anastasia’s legal guardian, throws herself a raging mother’s day eve bash full of a bit too many martinis. This celebration serves as the catalyst for the entire series—the event that leads to Keira’s disappearance.

So when writing the sequel, Lies that Bind, I again wanted to feature a holiday that most people don’t typically celebrate. I had the timeline for the event—the book had to begin in November; and a geographically huge location—it needed to be set in Europe; so I started Googling. That was when I landed on, “Remember, remember the fifth of November!”

This famous folk verse was written in honor of the day Guy Fawkes infamously tried to blow up Parliament, four hundred year ago, and was caught with a match in his hand before he could ever ignite those barrels full of gunpowder. The Brits call it Bonfire Night, and there are celebrations throughout the country honoring his capture, but there is none larger than in the tiny village of Lewes, England.

Every November 5th, locals march through the cobblestone streets past stone cottages and Tudor homes, dressed in elaborate costumes carrying torches, firecrackers, and flaming wheelbarrows. My husband and I traveled there last year, and I made it the opening scene for Lies that Bind

In these beginning pages, Anastasia is helping Marcus search for his brother, surrounded by flames.

There are vivid descriptions of parade goers enjoyinga bit (too much) alcohol and accidentally stepping on torches left lying unprotected in the road.

There are elaborate costumes.

There are culturally inappropriate themes.

And there’s even a depiction of a giant float carried through town portraying the American president riding a cactus while wearing a giant sombrero. (That float exploded intofireworks at midnight.)

It was an amazing experience that I shared through Anastasia’s point of view. It’s part of the glue that makes the trilogy feel cohesive, and of course, that means book three, End of the Lie, will feature its own obscure festival. Not to spoil too much, but I can reveal my passport will have stamps from Poland and Prague in the coming weeks…

About Lies that Bind

What do you do when you learn your entire childhood was a lie? 

Reeling from the truths uncovered while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. The only way to stop being a pawn in their game is to remove herself from the board. But before she can leave her parents’ crimes behind her, tragedy strikes. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists.

Now, with help from her friends, Anastasia embarks on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire. From a fire-filled festival in England to a lavish wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Anastasia is determined to confront the enemies who want to destroy her family. But even Marcus, the handsome bad boy who’s been there for her at every step, is connected to the deadly spy network. And the more she learns about Department D, the more she realizes the true danger might be coming from someone closer than she expects… 

About Diana Rodriguez Wallach: 
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, three young adult spy thrillers (Entangled Publishing, 2017, ’18, ‘19). The first book in the trilogy, Proof of Lies, was named by Paste Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Bustle also listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017.” Additionally, she is the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).

She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, a school-based Workshop Instructor for Mighty Writers in Philadelphia, and has been a Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.

For more about Diana, check out The Whole Story.

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