Guest article by Camille Cabrera
Hues of psychedelic greens, blues, purples, oranges, and brown illuminate the screen. Hand-sketched with care and breathed into the youthful memory of an international audience. Scooby-Doo instantly captured my attention.
As a child, my father introduced me to an inquisitive group of gangly teenagers and their lovable constantly scared Great Dane. He frequently brought home VHS tapes of classic cartoons from the bygone flower power era. From my dad’s childhood to mine, I learned about the adventures of Johnny Quest and the curious combination of cowardice and courage in a fun-loving pooch named Scooby-Doo. I was obsessed with the latter.
If given the chance, we spent hours together watching the gang band together to overtake the villainous bandits and unnerving ghosts. We sat on the edge of the sofa as the gang worked together to find each new culprit. Usually, the monsters turned out to be people that the loyal buddies already knew—a lesson that still transcends the realm of television and speaks a gentle warning for reality.
I instantly adored the loyal pup named Scooby-Doo. The need to avoid danger and frights always drove him into Shaggy’s arms and in the opposite direction from harm. Risk averse. However, the nervous duo always ran to the rescue whenever their friends were in trouble.
On a budget, I learned from an early age that it was okay to feel scared. In fact, as a writer I am always nervous of how my words and actions may be interpreted by the greater public. The books I create contain little bits and pieces of my soul and even my deepest thoughts, if a reader looks close enough. That’s personal content that’s difficult to divulge on a third date, let alone in the span of a measly hour and a half read.
My fears are many, but so is my courage. I view myself as a courageous coward with my many strange neuroses like door handles and murky water. Over time, I learned to work with that fear to accomplish my many tasks, from writing books, to speaking in front of hundreds of people, and reaching out to publishing houses. I can’t banish that fear in the pit of my tummy like the mystery gang can banish a ghost, and that’s why I work each and every day to be a better person not in spite of my fear, but because of my fear. That nervous risk avoidance is always there to some tiny degree, but that doesn’t detract from my ability to create amazing stories.
Going back further, my aunt once phoned my mother about a week after my birth and declared that I would eventually grow into a fine detective. How did my sweet gorgeous Venezuelan aunt know something so profound about the untenable future? A reputable psychic.
Perhaps the breadcrumbs to my career as a mystery author span further and wider than I know. It’s possible that some of the crumbs were blown into the bushes by the shifting winds of memory and shuffled into the underbrush by my iconic clumsy fumbles.
I hadn’t always set myself to the role of writer, although at every given opportunity my nose was always in a book. It doesn’t really matter if the content is as dry as the Sahara. I once read the dictionary for fun so my palette for drought-ridden material knows no bounds. Each book is an imaginative adventure and every page is a new clue to be discovered and examined.
I like to start the writing process with a general idea or concept and then expand on it over the next few days. Oddly enough, a certain picture or random image usually inspires the plot of my books. I start with a single event or theme and then backtrack into creating characters and a plot outline. Usually, I spend the most time outlining my plot and understanding my characters. I like to physically write my first drafts by hand and then type them into a document. Writing by hand helps me feel more connected to my ideas. After a first draft, I like to read over the potential novel using a different document program. For example, I bring the document from Pages to Microsoft Word or Google Docs and see if the different programs notice more varied errors. It takes me several revisions with the help of my editors before finally bringing a book into the world.
I am most curious to monitor the progress of my upcoming novels as they were created using different publishing avenues. I am working with a publisher for my book titled, The Rule of Three, and it’s set to debut around September. I am also self-publishing a book called, The Mystery of Mistletoe Motel, and it’s slated for release in November. The different publication options taught me that both avenues are equally valid methods of publication.
Publication style really comes down to personal preference and individual goals. I can’t wait to compare the two books after they have been released to the public. Overall, this year of writing in a pandemic taught me that persistence and courage are two invaluable tools to achieve wonderful dreams.
All three of my novels are connected by a holiday theme. Each story revolves around a specific holiday in a different time and place from the other books. Overall, the novels vary in tone and pace to better represent specific genres. Each book emphasizes the importance of courage and points out that even the bravest protagonist has a plethora of valid and even slightly quirky fears.
Now, I take pride in creating wonderful little towns filled with mystery and lovely inquisitive characters. I examine each spiraling conundrum like a first-rate omniscient detective. Perhaps, in a way the psychic was right.
About the Author:
As a child, reading helped to shape Camille Cabrera’s perspective of the world. Eventually, that love grew into a career path with roots stretching over two decades. Ms. Cabrera has always enjoyed writing and has done so in varying capacities for The Odyssey, College Magazine, The Dollar Stretcher, PopSugar, Yahoo, and more.
She loves creating realities that run parallel to our modern world. Most of her stories include an edge of suspense or mystery. She enjoys writing stories set around various holidays (even the most mundane ones). Ms. Cabrera believes that it helps to create a familiar focal point that’s completely at odds with the rest of the unfamiliar in a heart pounding novel.
Check out her past interview with Waking Writer and her recent book, Catalina’s Tide, available at the following stores: