When I tell people about my novel The Grandfather Clock, I usually describe it as my “first novel,” for lack of a better description and because it’s a lot more brief than explaining that my real “first novel” is on my shelf unpublished. As I near the completion of the sequel to The Grandfather Clock, I’m reminded of the lesson I learned writing that first novel. See, I’m supposed to be done with the new book. It’s should be with my editor. I should be thinking about, if not writing, book three in the series. Endings are hard.
I began writing my first novel in 2012. I’ll call it The Golden Parachute, since I never found a better name. It was a thriller, with a main character who had some similarities and some differences from Michael Chance in The Grandfather Clock. They both had some girl trouble in the opening of the story, but the character in that book (Andy) was a Wall Streeter without the career troubles of Michael. I wrote it in 3rd person limited. The reader was presented Andy’s story, and only the events that Andy could observe. I decided that it needed a little more insight into Andy’s psyche. So… I rewrote the entire thing in the 1st person, with Andy telling the story.
If that wasn’t enough of a change. The 70,000 word story needed a new ending, so I decided to rewrite the entire last 3rd of the book. The result was a total of 125,000 words. In case you aren’t keeping score:
125,000 words, half of which were originally written in 3rd person, changed to first person, and THEN I lopped off the end and added 50,000 more words. A mess. I finished and I honestly wasn’t sure what had happened in the story and what got cut. At the heart it was a really good tale. But I’ve described it as a car – sitting on blocks in the driveway – with some parts Ford, some Mercedes, and some hand smelted in my own cauldron. After a year – a very serious year, I decided it was time to call The Golden Parachute what it was – a great learning experience. I needed a fresh start and that was The Grandfather Clock.
Now I’m finishing the second book. I haven’t touched it in 10 days because I’m in this key moment, and I’ve been letting it germinate until – in my mind – it became what I wanted it to be. Now, I have the hardest 15 – 20,000 words to write. But I firmly believe this book is better than The Grandfather Clock (4.6/5.0 stars on Amazon – not one single review from a family member.)
And the new book has a name. After finding a family heirloom with mysterious connections to Napoleon and Nazis, and retrieving it from thieves, Michael doesn’t get to enjoy his new life in Paris for very long. In the next book, Michael’s amazing adventure and the newfound notoriety of Napoleon’s gun, makes it a target for bigger sharks. I had hoped to have this book out by the end of this month, but that isn’t happening. You’ll have to settle for the title: The Napoleon Bloom. If it isn’t out by Thanksgiving, I’ll cease shaving until it’s done. I don’t want people calling me Santa Claus at Christmas.
A little housekeeping:
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And buy my book! It’s $2.99 for Kindle. If you hate it, you can be the first really nasty review. If you think you need a Kindle to read it, you don’t. You can read my book on the same device you are holding right now. Need help? Email me.
If you’re in the St. Pete area, I’ve been invited to be the guest author for the Friends of Mirror Lake Library in downtown St. Pete on Oct. 5 at 7:00 (I think.) If you’ve never visited the Mirror Lake Library, it’s a beautiful example of a Carnegie library. And it’s full of books, so what could go wrong?
Thanks for reading!