This week’s blog is by Gin Price, author of On Edge, a young adult mystery released last month. Gin talks about her discovery of parkour. Intriguing characters, a different take on an urban landscape, and the element of mystery will captivate readers.” (Kirkus Reviews)
One good thing about being an unknown or debut author is that nothing I tell you about me will surprise you. You don’t feel like you know me already, because you know next to nothing about me other than I wrote a book. An awesome, action-adventure book of graffiti and parkour goodness. J
But let me be a little candid with you for a moment. This book that I wrote is special to me. It’s a symbol of rising above some very real pain and facing the beginnings of success. You see, I suffered from chronic migraines brought on by what is believed to be Fibromyalgia. Yikes. What does this have to do with this book?
Well, what does a writer do when they can’t open their eyes to write? They plot. And they plot some more. Books upon books run over each other and never quite separate. My imagination lacks structure, I suppose, but I consider that a good thing. I take it as a sign that I will never run out of ideas. I just have to farm them from the wild-growing fields of my brain.
On Edge became one of the stories I harvested. I knew what I wanted to do, but the specifics of the book, weren’t exact. I was still trying to hone my craft, figure out what my writing process was, or if I had a process. I had just finished my second full-length manuscript (which would never see the shelf of a store) and I was looking for another idea to get out on paper.
I still had headaches, but they were tolerable since I’d started eating better and looking into fitness on YouTube. One day, a friend of mine sent me a link of a few guys doing something called, Parkour because he thought I might find it as cool as he did.
Cool? Cool doesn’t begin to describe what I felt watching the videos.
When I hit play I saw physical freedom, a flow of movement that had me mesmerized and abusing the search engine. I had to find more, see more! What was this?!
I won’t lie and say I wasn’t feeling a big chunk of jealousy over what these athletes could do, but for the most part, I felt inspired. As I watched these young men and women own their surroundings, maneuver around any obstacle they came across in a physical improvisation, I felt…better. Looking at what the human body could accomplish with discipline made me push through my own pain and take a chance on ambition. Parkour/freerunning became my power source. J
Which is why it is odd for me to admit now that, sitting at a light in Chandler Arizona, and seeing a spot of graffiti, freerunning didn’t even come to mind as the plot for On Edge unfolded. I knew what I wanted to do, what I wanted to see happen, but parkour wasn’t part of the original book.
Weird right? The name of the book is On Edge: A Freerunner Mystery. It seems as if everything else came after the thought of writing about freerunning.
While writing the first few chapters of my book, I was On Edge myself. (See what I did there? –nudgenudge- ) I felt like something was missing. I wanted more action. No, I needed more action, and when I was ready to bang my head against the wall my friend said…what if one side was graffiti, but the other was parkour.
Bells, whistles, a worldwide parade…all went through my head. Yes! YES! Only one problem. I was a fangirl. Not an expert.
I did the only thing one can do when writing about something they have little knowledge of. I researched until my brain melted. I watched EVERYTHING there was on YouTube from amateur vids to pro. I visited websites, joined parkour groups, even read extensively on forums all about the debate between parkour and freerunning. And that debate is a furious one on some fronts, my friends. Phew! Luckily, I kept my mouth shut on my opinions for once and just focused on learning.
There are still plenty of people who lack knowledge on what parkour/freerunning is and I will provide some fun links for you to check out at the end of this article. What I find interesting though, is the public’s perception of freerunning. I think many people think it’s awesome, until a freerunner brushes past them or collides with them when they fail out.
The authorities don’t really know how to punish practitioners and often times use other time-honored tickets to attempt to mend the shortcomings of the law. You will see loitering tickets and trespassing tickets doled out like broth at a soup kitchen and sometimes, these tickets can add up to some serious charges filed.
As a fan of parkour, I always frown when I hear of someone getting another ticket or receiving probation for expressing themselves. On the other hand, I also understand parkour falls under that “with great power comes great responsibility” schtick. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should without care. So to the guys and gals out there who go where the flow takes them…do so wisely and safely.