I had a conversation with someone recently and they mentioned that much of my writing in Hanging Upside Down has a comic book feel to it. There are many cliff hangers from one chapter to the next. I kinda envisioned someone reading this book on their way to work while riding some sort of mass transit so that the end of some chapters would allow people to take break. Anyway, there is a big reason why I wrote this book the way I did.
First, let’s be real, this novel was not the first story I’ve written. It is, however, the first story I finished. There are several short stories that I’ve worked on with complex characters (one of those short stories appears in the book, Chapter Twenty One) and one longer story that I had originally thought would be my first novel.
The Angel of Death was something I was toying with for a few years on and off until I scraped the project and posted what I did have on Goodreads. One of the main characters in that story is in Hanging Upside Down. It has always been my goal to write books in which the characters are interchangeable. Everything I write, at the moment, is all in the same reality. While this may not be a relatively new concept to some authors, this is some what of a big deal to me. This isn’t just about Louis Ortiz and writing several books about him even if the I’m currently writing a follow up novel. This is about the world that surrounds him.
Hanging Upside Down contains a variety of characters I can go back to. I can either use them in a brief appearance or simply have them as the protagonist if I want. To me this provides history I don’t have to make up on the spot. I will always have something to reference to or more importantly, I can go deeper into minor characters that have also appeared in any of the books. I think after book two (which is currently titled The Book of Isabel) there will be a wide variety of characters and different plot options that I will have in my arsenal.
It is, of course, easy for me to think about everything I plan to write in the grand scheme because it’s all in my head. I do think it’s a totally different thing to try to execute this plan. I believe what draws people to read book are characters and themes that are relatable but I also think that if I put in a extra layer of depth that explains how one character acts in one story by explaining it in another story is a very interesting challenge.
This is a comic book way of looking at things. Why is it that Hal Jordan does not appear in Crisis on Infinite Earths? The answer is very simple if you read what happened to Green Lantern prior to that Maxi-Series hitting the shelves. That is what I want to get into in my novel world, a sense of history that goes beyond that current story. There are a lot of names in the current novel and I guarantee that some of these names will come up again.