Gastien Beauchamp and I (The Story of How I Wrote Gastien) by Caddy Rowland
I have read all kinds of blogs and stories about how people get their story ideas and how they develop their characters. Many are very disciplined, using story boards and writing out every detail of each major character before they even start to write the first page. Some are more seat of the pants. There is no “right” way. An author writes a story in whatever way works for them.
I have a secret to tell you about Gastien Beauchamp, though. I did not choose him. He chose me. He also wrote the story; I was just the conduit. Sound strange? Yeah. Well, I have been called worse. Here is how Gastien happened:
In March of 2010 I found out I had breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation. Chemo was not needed. I was very lucky, in that it was a Stage 0 cancer. It is completely gone and my doctor says to plan on eventually dying from something other than breast cancer.
Being told you have cancer is awful. It does, however, teach you to live in “now” and for that I am very grateful. Life is a lot more precious when you live in the “now”. Until you come face to face with possibly dying, I don’t think you fully understand that “now” is all any of us have. Even after having cancer, I sometimes have to remind myself.
Another thing it did was make me question life after death. I always had spirituality in my life, but it now became even more important. I had done a past life regression several years ago, so I definitely believed that we don’t just live once and then die, or live once and then “go to heaven” or “hell”. Still, facing cancer makes you think about the afterlife and what it means.
I read a book that July or August called Journey of Souls by Michel Newton PhD. In it he talks about cases of taking people back to the place we go between lives here…where we eventually will stay once we have become as advanced as we as an individual can. It fascinated me. I searched online to find his institute and then looked for a past life regressionist who had taken his courses.
I found a well-qualified psychologist who had several years experience and went to do a life between lives regression. In order to get to the life between lives you must first be regressed into some past life and then be taken to that life’s death, so that you can see what it is like when you leave this world and go there. It is done through hypnosis.
When I went back to a past life, the first thing I saw was a candle burning on a table. Then I saw a very handsome man with long, dark hair past his shoulders. He was leaning against a table with paints on it, and he had on a satin shirt. The shirt was cream colored and had full, billowing sleeves with large cuffs. He was looking at someone and smiling.
That was the first time I met Gastien Beauchamp.
Now, I am not going to say if I think I was Gastien, or if I think creative possibilities were opened to me that day. That is for me alone to cherish. What I will say is that for several weeks afterwards I would get “downloads” of information about this man. When I would check online to see if the things I was told could have happened in the time period I would find that, yes; indeed they could. The downloads became stronger and more frequent. Finally, I called the psychologist and made an appointment to just do a more in depth regression to Gastien.
We did a couple of two hour sessions. From this, the story of Gastien was born. It took four months to write over 1,000 pages. I decided to divide it into two books. I set aside part two and edited part one for four and ½ months. From that Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream was born. It came out in August of 2011. Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny then took another four and ½ months to edit. It was released in mid-December o 2011. There will be another two or three books in the series.
When I decided to write this story, I only had the “downloads” I had been given in my head. I did not know a lot of what I would write. So, I simply committed to writing one hour a day, five days a week. No excuses. The first day, I sat down, put my hands on the keyboard and asked Gastien to tell me. Really, I just asked him to tell me his story. Either how it was or, if it was way too dark, how he wished it could have been….without taking away the gist of his life.
Boy, did he tell it. Some days I could not type fast enough. Most days I did not know what I would be typing until I started. The writing was easy. The research after typing was harder. Since the story takes place in the nineteenth century, I had to make sure that the things Gastien said happened could be true for that era. I also had to make sure that I called items their correct names. For instance, men did not call pants by that name yet. They were trousers. Those little things that make it nineteenth century needed to be there.
I also used some French words and phrases and I don’t speak French at all. I wanted them in there to give readers a feel for him as a French man. So, I had to look those phrases up and I had to ask people from France how to use a word, because the conjugations of a word are very difficult in French. One word has so many spellings for first, second or third person and for past, present or future.
But it was fun! I was surprised many times by what I wrote. I loved the humor between Mic and Gastien. It was definitely a type of humor between two males; as a female it was very interesting to see it coming from my fingers! It was also a blast writing from male point of view.
The story is very dark, no question. It is also hilarious at times and gut wrenching. Just like life. Various books in the series are coming of age, drama, romance and historical. The first book, while it does have graphic sex, does not have a major romance. I needed to get a romance audience; however, because the second book is the love story. If readers were not romance readers they would be confused! It is not a typical romance, but then Gastien was anything but typical. He was a nonconformist through and through. An artist with a dream with a women who loved him, in spite of his terms.
To me, Gastien was real and continues to be. I have a deep love for him. It is my hope that you will take the time to read his story; that he will find a home in your heart, too. He is not always what you would like him to be, but he is always true to himself. That is all we can each hope for and what each of us should strive for in every life.
Now I must go. Book three is waiting to be finished in time for a spring 2012 release. Au revoir.
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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