Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Today, I'd like to welcome fellow Rave Review Book Club Member, John Howell. John is the author of My GRL. Please take a moment to read his informative interesting post.

John Howell

This is the ninth stop on what has been a fantastic tour as a Rave Reviews Spotlight Author. If you would like to be chosen for this honor you need to be a member. To find out how go to the website and read all about it. You can also see all my tour stops listed under Spotlight Authors.

The subject of this guest post is to continue some of the information that may be of interest. My book My GRL is written in the first person present tense. Some have wondered if I did this on purpose. Yes, of course, I did. I wanted my story to be told with the reader totally involved. Using present tense subtly adds a degree of tension to the action since it is happening right then. One of the problems in using the present tense you have very little opportunity to do a lot of character flashbacks. It is not that it can’t be done, but the whole value of the present tense is to keep it current and in front of the reader. Using flashbacks in the past defeats the impact of the present tense.

The first person point of view also serves to bring the reader into the head of the protagonist. All the action in the story is either done by the character or is observed by the character. Therefore, a lot of the description that could normally be done by a third party narrator is impossible. The character can only see what is in his sight. He can only interpret expressions to get to feelings and can only react to situations that are presented to him. One thing a first person character can do effectively is think to himself which allows him to have a dialog with the reader.

I have been told that the combination of first person present tense is one of the toughest ways to craft a story. I don’t happen to agree which probably means I am used to the POV and so it is a comfortable way to go. I do some stories in the third person past and I must say it opens many opportunities to build in some situations behind the main character’s back (so to speak) First person has to be all up front. There are situations created by backroom machinations, but the character and the reader are not aware of them until they happen. This adds an opportunity for more surprises because the reader accepts the fact that the narrator knows nothing other than what is seen or felt. Here is an excerpt from chapter one of MY GRL. I think you will get a sense of First person present form this.


Gerry and I finish our beers at the Sandbar and make a move to cross the crowds toward the front door. Before the karaoke noise starts, we agree to go to another place for some pizza. She directs something to me which I can’t understand, so I hold my hand to my ear and try hard to hear her. She looks a little upset. I signal we should wait until we get outside to talk.

She nods and I take the lead, reach back, grab her hand and act like a bulldozer while I separate the crowd as we pass through. It becomes harder since everyone has begun to pay attention to the drunken girl singing what sounds a little like a slurred Avril Lavigne song to the karaoke machine on the stage up front.

We make it to the door and go out into the humid night. I drop Gerry’s hand and notice there are two guys walking toward us. I tell her to stay close and figure the guys will eventually make way and go into the bar. I am about to ask her what she was trying to get me to understand in the bar, when I feel a rush of air behind me and hear what sounds like someone thumping a watermelon. That’s the last thing on my mind when the lights of the world go out.

My GRL can be found:
Martin Sisters Publishing
I can be reached:

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