September 19, 2013

Old Flames, Burned Hands: a guest post by Tim McGregor

Tim McGregor has a new novel out now called Old Flames, Burned Hands. To help get the word out a little bit, Tim has stopped by the blog to offer up a little guest post. Enjoy.

Sometimes you get a second chance...
Two years ago, our book-loving host here at Wag the Fox, let me participate in his Monster Movie Marathon. I wrote about making movies and the changes that occur from script to screen. In particular, I kvetched about watching a vampire script I had written turn into a really bad movie. (You can read that post here)
I had a lot of fun writing that spec script, knowing it would make a tight little horror movie, only then to watch it devolve into a shitshow. What rankled was the wasted opportunity, in particular the vamp mythology that I came up with, all of which was cut from the final draft.
Well, turns out there was a sliver lining. I got a second chance by penning another vampire tale but this time, a novel. That means no producers, directors or marketing schmucks to fight against. (That also means that if it’s a failure, it’s my failure but I’ll take those odds). God bless self-publishing and the new world of ebooks.
Old Flames, Burned Hands is about a married woman whose life is suddenly complicated by the return of an old boyfriend, one who died almost twenty years ago. (Cue spooky music here...)
The core idea was the notion of the old flame; the girlfriend or boyfriend from the past that left their mark on us. I’m sure I’m not the first person to wonder whatever happened to this old girlfriend or that old flame and then look them up on Facebook. Or been contacted out of the blue by someone you dated a lifetime ago. Kurt Vonnegut once stated that his favourite hobby was ringing up old girlfriends after he’d had a few drinks. We’ve all done it.
But why we do that? Are we looking to settle some score? Is it some irrational need to show that person who broke your heart that you’re soooo much better off without them now?
A related story (names changed to protect the innocent). Two summers ago, my friend Jay passed away. I had known Jay since we were both 12 and he remained a dear (if sometimes mad) friend and I miss him terribly. Last fall, our mutual friend Cooper was contacted thru Facebook by an old girlfriend of Jay’s. Chloe was the girl that broke Jay’s heart back when we were 18. You remember what that was like, right? So Cooper and Chloe catch up (marriage, kids, career, etc) and then Chloe eventually asks how Jay is doing. Jay had never been on FB, nor did he have much of a web presence and thus was not easy to look up. Coop had the unenviable duty of telling the poor woman that Jay was gone. How hard that must have been for both of them; for Cooper to give that awful news and for Chloe to receive it.
That haunted me for a long time and, while none of those details are in the book, that awful circumstance informed the story more than anything. That’s not to say the book’s a downer. If anything, I think it’s got a pretty good premise...
Struggling to balance a career in music with her obligations as a wife and mom, Tilda Parish’s life becomes complicated by the return of an old boyfriend, one who died almost twenty years ago.

About Old Flames, Burned Hands: At 24, Tilda Parish had it all; her own band and a man she knew was 'the one' but fate had other plans. A fatal car crash took her boyfriend's life and sent Tilda into a spiral of grief.

Seventeen years later, Tilda is married with a 13-year old daughter but her career as a singer-songwriter has been turbulent and unstable. Unable to balance her volatile career with her obligations to her family, Tilda makes a life-changing decision to walk away from music forever. Yet, after burning her guitar in a ritual bonfire, Tilda discovers that the past isn't done with her. Hints of her old life pop up mysteriously and ghosts of her past haunt her present.

Alone one night, Tilda confronts an intruder she believes to be a stalker but the figure that steps from the shadows almost stops her heart. Her old beau appears, the one who died all those years ago.

He hasn't aged a day. He says that he never stopped loving her and that he wants her back. Despite his death and the intervening seventeen years, Tilda realizes that she never stopped loving him either.

And now Tilda Parish is caught between two worlds; the everyday world of her husband and family and this new spooky world of an old lover who has returned from the shadow of death to find her.

What's an ex-musician to do?

If you're interested in getting yourself a copy, you can visit Amazon by clicking here.

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