Summoning The Demons Of Fear And Other Pitfalls Of Writing

Layout 1 by Frank Beddor

While most would probably assume Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan is the only one having adventures, the fact is that writing the books can also lead to some mind bending events.

To be clear, this is what I love about writing. For me, the point of writing is channeling the characters and experiencing the adventure I am creating. To be inside the story with all the characters talking to you like you were together in another realm is a bigger thrill than just about anything except having someone ask you to sign a well read volume of Hatter M or the Looking Glass Wars that they have been carrying around in a backpack for a couple years.

Layout 1That’s a peak moment and it doesn’t happen too often. But, if you’re lucky you can write everyday and hang out with your invisible friends.

So once you’ve spent a big part of your life shut in a room talking to invisible characters and acting out paranormal events it should not be too surprising that as a writer your mind may be more open to the ‘unseen’ than maybe someone driving a bus. Unless the person driving the bus is out of their mind on pain pills and Red Bullcinnos and weaving behind your car in Los Angeles traffic on Christmas day, but that’s another horror story for another day.

Right now gather round the campfire and let me tell you how my friend and co-writer of the Hatter M series Liz Cavalier managed to summon the demons of fear at a deserted 17th century monastery high atop Mt. Haku in Japan.

Layout 1A year earlier while working on Zen of Wonder we had moved the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel into the monastery so we could have everyone together in Japan translating Hatter’s journal and assembling the reams of research. When we were ready to start writing I left the monastery to return to Los Angeles. I encouraged Liz to leave with me but she, despite her numerous complaints abut cold temperatures and rice, did not want to leave the monastery for the stresses of the world (aka paying rent and wearing make-up). The other members of the Institute, our cartographers, historians and geo-theorists had already departed to begin traveling and researching Love of Wonder, the fifth and final volume in the Hatter series. I had been back in Los Angeles for a few weeks when the first email arrived.

SOS!! I have entrusted this message to be hand delivered by a passing beggar to the Internet café at the base of Mt. Haku while I remain barricaded inside my room at the monastery. Somehow I have managed to summon the Demons of Fear! Liz

Layout 1I immediately responded with a concerned missive:

Stop drinking Kirins with the cook. I’ve finished chapter two – what have you done?

A few days passed and this ominous email arrived:

The cook left on a Carnival Cruise to the Philippines. I’m all alone here. I was watching a DVD of The Shining and screaming and the demons showed up. Now what?

Finally, my brow furrowed with concern. I wrote back:

Calm down. You know from Hatter’s journal what to do. So do it.

Layout 1And then I waited. A week passed. And a second week. Finally a letter arrived. But not by mail. It was delivered by a skinny girl in a mini-kimono and big floppy sandals.

She was giggling when she handed it to me and it wasn’t until I had closed the door that I realized…. this was Hatter’s Zen master in Volume 4! Nekko!! We had been writing her together right before I left and Sami had started to do some sketches of her character. This was her. IN the flesh!

With shaking hands, I opened the letter and began to read.

Frank. Nekko arrived just in time and together we vanquished the demons of fear. Chapter 3 is written. How far are you on 4?

MonastaryThen I heard a giggle and the sound of footsteps on my roof. Looking out the window I saw Nekko leap across the sky to my neighbor’s roof. And then a figure in a long blue coat and top hat followed her. Both were laughing. I laughed too. The writing had gone very well that day but now it was time to leave my room and go out for a walk in the real world. I opened the door and looked outside at the rooftops, hoping to catch sight of Nekko and Hatter as they leapt across time and space. For a moment I was certain I saw a flash of a blue Hat! I made a mental note to describe that fleeting visual to Sami – it might be a very good panel. If you love what you’re writing it doesn’t stop when you leave the closed room, like Zen, you take it with you wherever you go.

ZEN OF WONDER is Volume 4 in the Hatter M series, written by Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier. It will publish in May, but is now available on Kickstarter till Friday March 22.

Literary sleuth and world creator Frank Beddor dared to expose the true story of Wonderland in his novels The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Redd, and Arch Enemy. To satisfy the awakened curiosity of his readers he continues to tell the parallel adventures of Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan’s search for the lost princess in the graphic novel series Hatter M.

For more information, visit frankbeddor.com.

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