Over the Edge

by Andrea Graham

Writer's Style. When a reader picks up any given novel by a particular author, they pick it up, trusting they're getting a story that, while in some way unique from all the other titles this author's put out, but also will feature the familiar as well, even if it's not a series.

If a reader picks up a novel with "Adam Graham" on the cover, you can expect an action-driven story, and a quirky sense of humor to provide some laughs, regardless what the genre of the week this versatile writer is trying his hands at.

And if my name is on the title, you can expect to find a character-driven story, where the plot turns at least in part around internal or relational conflict of some kind, and maybe a twin or two. You can also expect that sooner or later the Kingdom of Heaven will break in, usually on our world or one all too similar, in some small, major, and sometimes fantastic way. The plot or setting will probably be founded upon a what-if, and you'll find Light at the edge of darkness, and not just so I can work in a plug for our anthology. ;) What I mean is my work usually reveals some truth about God and His love, as well as the gritty reality of sin.

And if a reader picks up a book with both our names on the cover, expect that literary child to have recognizable features inherited from both it's Mommy and it's Daddy. When we work together, rather than a watered down half and half of each, or an ugly, awkward hodgepodge, the result is the best of both our strengths.

As long as we've worked together, we've always had a gritty edge to our work, sometimes we quivered at the edge, but we never tumbled into the abyss of horror and nightmares.

Until now.

Last weekend, Adam and I finished writing a novella on the edge of novelhood at 43,000 words as of this writing. Genesis of Judgment is to date our darkest work and the hardest we've ever had to write. Though Adam had to write the dark, scary sequences, so the hardest scene I've personally written is still a tie between the scenes in Heaven's Mark where the heroine is nearly raped "on stage", and the scene that shows her being seduced by a much older man.

Genesis of Judgment is different. None of the primary or secondary characters are sexually assaulted in the course of the story, no. It's darker in the same sense that constant murky-gray bordering on navy is more frightening over all than a brief flash of total darkness at dawn. Instead we have a twenty-seven year old Christian, living in the shadow of a foreign dictator's rule, seeking his license to practice medicine, and determined to pay any price. And with licensing requirements that would make Hitler envious, it could cost him his family, his soul, and his sanity. This frightening descent into madness and a personal Hell is the closest we've ever come to Horror.

Yet despite the elements that set it apart from previous works, it still has our hallmarks: Adam’s plot-driven focus; my relational conflict exerting it’s influence; a pair of fraternal twins.

Chief of all, his sense of humor shines through the murk. Though, the laughs only make the darkness of the characters’ sin seem even darker.

In May, Genesis of Judgment will be (or part of if I finish the braided novel it will be featured in) the Novel of the Month at Daniel I. Weaver's critique group, Christian Fiction Writers, Readers, Etc.,, and available for free in manuscript form. The only requirements to read a Novel of the Month are joining the critique group, also free, not violating the author’s copyrights, and providing reader feedback/critique on the manuscript.

Also, we’re looking for six Novels of the Month for our summer and fall quarters, so if you have, or will have, a completed novel manuscript of approximately 40-100,000 words, you’re welcome to join us and add your manuscript to our schedule. Note Novel of the Month writers are required to critique each other. If you are not willing to critique others, please hire an editorial service instead of seeking a critique of your work.

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