The Muse by Iris March – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Iris March will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Muse

Hello! It’s an honor to be featured on Long and Short Reviews! Thank you so much for having me! Today, let’s talk about the muse.

My most recent novel, The Story That Made Us Stronger, was released in late September, just a few weeks ago. It’s the story of Connor, a nurse training for a half marathon who becomes obsessed with a tiny, abandoned building on his regular running route. He shares his obsession with one of his patients in the stem cell replacement ward. That patient and other people in his life help him research the building and encourage his half marathon training.

This book was the first one I wrote and the first time I felt the tug of the so-called novel writing muse. I’ve since authored a second book (although it was published first) and have more writing projects on the horizon. I have always wanted to write a book, always knew I had at least one in me. I was an English (and Biology) major and have always done a lot of writing for my career. But I never thought I could write so much and stay committed to one storyline and set of characters to complete a full novel.

But the muse struck me and hasn’t left me since.

That first inspiration was in the form of dealing with the anxiety of my sister having cancer with being pregnant with twins. I needed more than just journaling to work through the worry. And so I started writing about Connor and wrote my sister’s story within his. Her character is that encouraging stem cell replacement patient. I found that I could in fact write so much that it was an entire book’s wroth of a story, could commit to a set of characters. It was the characters that kept me going. I had to figure out how to get them to the end of the book: make the discoveries about the building, run the half marathon, finish the stem cell replacement therapy. It was my sister’s story and I had to finish it. I carved out time to write and really just felt obsessed with the story and the people in it as I wrote.

A new set of characters and a setting kept coming to me while I ran on my own regular running route. When I set out to write another book, the muse remained with me. This time, I found that keeping a log of how many words I wrote daily helped me stay committed. And I was equally obsessed. But the story didn’t do what I wanted. The characters kept reacting a bit differently than I thought they would when I put them in situations. That kept me wondering what would happen. It was like I was reading the story half the time, not writing it.

So I consider my muse to be the characters in my books. I feel committed to them and finding out what happens. In both my novels, I knew how they would end but I needed my characters to get there. I couldn’t leave them hanging!

Learn more about me and my books at my website.

An abandoned building. A motivated runner. A Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer survivor.

Connor Jackson has been training for a half marathon for the past six weeks. Katie Brandt has been training to beat cancer for the past 50. When Connor discovers an intriguing secret in a tiny, abandoned building on his running route, Katie finds that the mystery is what she needs to help her get through her three-week stem cell replacement procedure. Together, Conner and Katie must find the strength to achieve their personal goals and, in the meantime, expose the many past lives that the tiny building led.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The Runner
Connor Jackson

I’d run past it probably a thousand times.

An especially windy thunderstorm had covered my regular paved running trail with slippery leaves, twigs, and a few larger limbs on a late August afternoon. As I was running the trail, avoiding the more slippery sections, a door that I’d never noticed before was ever-so-slightly crooked, leaving it ajar. Mind you, I was running when I caught this dark shadow next to the door in the corner of my eye, and I almost tripped. Instead of hitting the ground, I sidestepped and took that moment to stop, pretend to tie my shoe and adjust my socks, and push my sweaty brown hair out of my eyes. I refused to be one of those guys with a man bun, but maybe I just needed to get a new haircut.

As I was messing with my shoes, I looked up at the building. It was small, probably only ten feet long by ten feet wide, a red-brick structure with a huge pole an inch away from it that was taller and thicker than any nearby telephone poles. At the tip of the pole was a piece of metal, strapped on and reaching even farther into the sky. There was a rusted chain-link fence around the building, with a few small trees and weeds within it. You could tell at one point that green plastic had been wrapped around the links, but it was long gone. The building was about fifty feet away from the trail, with plenty of trees between it and me, including a huge tulip poplar that I often noticed while running, and a bunch of maples. Breaking up the brick on the west side of the building, facing up the trail, was a wooden door with no window, adorned only by a worn doorknob. And now the hinges seemed to have broken a bit, the wood warped and pulling away from the frame about half an inch.

I was kneeling and staring for too long. A woman wearing blue sunglasses and walking a dog that looked like Lassie gave me a bit of a sideways look. I adjusted my shorts and stood up to continue running, with a lot more on my mind.

About the Author:Iris March grew up the oldest of three sisters whose names all began with the same letter. Her sisters are still her best friends. March works in the sustainability field and also writes cozy mysteries in the Succulent Sleuth Series. She lives in Ohio with her husband, young son, and three cats.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Sounds like a really good book.

  3. Bea LaRocca says

    Thank you for sharing your guest post, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading your story

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