Beechwood Author’s Notes – Chapter 3 – Cat and Mouse

* Beechwood is an ongoing, character-driven serialized fiction drama on the brand new Kindle Vella platform. The first three chapters in every Vella story are free to read! Updates are posted every SATURDAY along with author’s notes posted here on my blog 🙂

Premise: A small, controlled prison disguised as a town in the near future hides away victims of genetic experimentation. The experiments have caused a multitude of mental anomalies and the government continues to use the victims as lab rats. The story of Beechwood begins with a murder that no one is able to solve. As the layers of perplexity unfold, secrets beyond what goes on in The Tower begin to reveal themselves. In Beechwood, everyone has something to hide, and everyone is a suspect.

The second chapter of Beechwood introduces Greer Jeffries. This handsome but dark man is a scientist that has been assigned to study Eden and Eloise “Ellie” Atkins for the last eight years. I’ll be honest with you all, this guy is a garbage can. He’s a true narcissist, and possibly even a sociopath. While we still know nothing about his past, we know that he’s married but he doesn’t seem to care for his wife. (His wife is a scientist but does not directly interacted with the residents of Beechwood.) Not only is he using Eden and Ellie Atkins as lab rats, but also for his personal pleasure and amusement. Writing a character this arrogant wasn’t the easiest task because I wanted to punch him in the face every time I finished a sentence, but at the same time, I felt like having a character to passionately hate was important to my chosen approach of storytelling.

The catch – I wouldn’t exactly call the Atkins twins protagonists, though they are far easier to find empathy for than Greer. After all, It’s not their fault that they’re somewhat disturbed young adults. We can attribute some of their behaviors to the fact that their brains were altered in utero, but some of their fractured nature is also due to how they have been raised, manipulated, and treated as subhuman by the scientific community for their entire lives.

Beechwood takes place in a dystopian setting, but the story isn’t about the setting or the science fiction. At its core, it’s about the characters. It’s about human nature. It’s about who we are at the end of the day when you strip away society as we know it. That may not be a new concept to explore (ie Lord of the Flies, or the very recent Yellowjackets on Showtime) but exploring the depths of the human heart and mind is something that has always been fascinating to me. While my other “traditionally written” Dark World Series centers around a girl fighting against the tyranny of her dystopian world, Beechwood focuses on the character interactions of this fractured world and how they all weave together.

I’m a panster, not a planner. I have no idea if Greer will continue to be a clear-cut antagonist, or if events will unfold in a way that will cause him to second-guess who he is and make some changes. My characters are as unpredictable as real people. When I’m writing, I’m just the scribe. I’m simply along for the ride. If Beechwood ends up being a wild roller coater of a read, I’ve achieved my goal. 🙂

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