Island of Fog Book 7: Valley of Monsters

Posted on August 13, 2013 (Subscribe to Blog)

It's about time I had the word "monsters" in the title of one of these Island of Fog books! Even though the shapeshifters would argue that they're not monsters at all, it's worth remembering that a significant portion of this new installment is about Chase and his time in Happy Valley Ridge where Miss Simone and her classmates grew up. Put simply, Chase was pretty freaked out by the whole experience. The valley was, in his own words, full of monsters.

And so here we are with Book 7 of the series. I won't specify who or what adorns the cover this time around, but those who have read Book 6 should understand immediately. Still, that's just a third of the story. Another third is about Chase as he tells his tale, and the remaining third is... well, you'll see.

I'm about 45% through this book already. My rapid progress has surprised me! It's just the first draft, but at this rate I think I can get this book out before Christmas.

I take delight in trying different things. That said, I wouldn't dream of changing the format and style too much. I wouldn't, for instance, suddenly write one of these Fog books from another's point of view. The series takes place in Hal's head and could be seen as his own complete, unbroken story. If all the books were jammed together into one volume, there would be no discernible break in style.

But Chase's story is special in that it's very long. So either he spouts endless dialog, or I use scene and chapter breaks to switch into his point of view. I opted for the latter. It's really the same thing – endless dialog! – only without a million quotation marks and interruptions about what everybody else is doing while he's talking.

His first segment is a full chapter, but after that he gets scenes within chapters. For example, we're in Hal's head as usual up until the end of Chapter 7, at which point Chase clears his throat and begins his story. Chapter 8 is entirely his, told in first person as if he's sitting there around a campfire. Then we return to Hal's head at the start of Chapter 9 and stay there until a scene break, at which point Chase takes over again. And so on.

Here's a snippet from Chase. Bear in mind that this is very rough, not edited at all. So please don't bother mentioning typos and poor grammar, etc...

From the forthcoming VALLEY OF MONSTERS (very rough cut):

Where one twin went, the other followed, and I found that Astrid always took the lead and Bo tagged along. Bo was nice enough but had half the personality of his sister.
      All the kids were great, and I think they saw me like an uncle or something. I got to go on field trips with them, and I ended up helping out a lot—keeping them in check, that sort of thing. They took my mind off my mom, that's for sure. I liked Charlie a lot; he was the loudmouth, always goofing around. Orson was a bookworm. So was Molly, actually. Canaan and Ellie were always arguing about something. Riley was a grumpy little thing and just wanted to be left alone to tinker with mechanical stuff. Lucas was tough, kind of hard on Blair, who was a bit of a crybaby if you ask me. And Simone... well, she was quiet and hardworking, very serious. Hardly ever smiled, unlike her brother Felipe, who took nothing at all seriously.
      But Bo and Astrid were my little pals, especially Astrid.
      Things were pretty normal for six months. The kids lived on the property in those cabins on the hill with their parents. I saw the adults fairly often, but they came and went as they pleased. Some of them had jobs to go to, but most didn't. They just sort of hung about. I asked my dad about that one day, and he told me they didn't need to work, that everything was paid for.
      "They're guests," he said mysteriously, then clammed up like he'd said too much. He tried again. "They don"t need to work, but some like to. Those twelve families are guests here at Happy Valley Ridge. I gave them the cabins, and I pay them a monthly allowance."
      "But why?" I asked.
      "Because their children are very special."
      And my dad wouldn't say anymore. I begged him for more information, and he kept saying he'd tell me one day, but... well, it was frustrating.
      It took me weeks to realize there were no other brothers or sisters, just these twelve eight-year-olds. Not only that but their birthdays were all in the same month. Pretty strange, huh?

This method of telling somebody else's personal story is the best of both worlds – literally – and so far it's been interesting switching characters and trying to speak as 14-year-old Chase rather than 12-year-old Hal.

Also, it may be a little early to mention this, but the very first hints of ideas are beginning to worm their way into my head for Book 8...

Comment by CATHIE on Tuesday, August 13, 2013...

OOOOHHHH I Cant wait i know what i want for christmas :)

Comment by REBECCA YORK on Tuesday, August 13, 2013...

I am 3/4 the way through book six and I am on the edge of my seat for the ending. I am so happy book 7 will be coming out so soon. Keep them coming!

Comment by PATCHES on Wednesday, August 14, 2013...

love love love these books great series and now I know what I want for Christmas also happy reading

Comment by ANONYMOUS on Thursday, August 15, 2013...

Love your books!Can't wait for the next one!

Comment by ANONYMOUS on Saturday, August 17, 2013...

Write faster!!!!

Comment by KAREN BYNOE on Monday, August 19, 2013...

brilliant news, can't wait

Comment by JORDAN on Wednesday, September 11, 2013...

You are my favorite author I read the first book and after the first two chapters I could not get away from these amazing series I hope that there will be more than nine of these books I really love your books and I think that they should be in every library and store I also hope there will be a movie about these books I would like to talk to you sometime bye.

Comment by SHANNON on Tuesday, October 1, 2013...

I am very excited for this book to come out! I love your writing! 😄

Comment by MEGAN on Wednesday, October 16, 2013...

Oh my God! I have been waiting since August and finally book 7. I am so happy! I am so asking for it for Christmas! I hope that it is just as good as the others.

Comment by JORDAN on Sunday, October 20, 2013...

Hope!!! there's no need it is going to be the best.

Comment by MEGAN8 on Monday, December 16, 2013...

O my goodness! I've been waiting for the longest time. I started reading these last year and I have been waiting like 6 months now!! Thank you Keith!!!! Now we just need a movie. Well, can't wait until Christmas Day!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Monday, December 16, 2013...

Thank you, Megan, and to everyone else who posted here too! :-)

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