Yes, it took me seven years to write my first book. Don’t mock me. I plotted it in fine detail, then promptly let it take a different course because I didn’t know any better. Then I began writing my second novel, thinking how cool it would be to move quicker…
because of how smart I was now.
I figured one year was enough to capture what was to be a linear, straightforward fantasy thriller. I suppose now that it’s two and a half years later, I’m learning that just isn’t how my mind works. It’s a much more exciting story now, peopled with characters I want to hang out with (or smack in the face), that twists in sizzling ways I’d not originally considered. Tough love, I suppose.
To the folks who’ve been asking – look, I’m sharpening this badboy up for you so that you’ll get stung by it. I promise. Just hang with me a little longer.
You might remember seeing Christians in orange jump suits getting beheaded on a beach a few years ago by Isis. It blindsided me, the notion of everyday people trying to stand up to terrible evil with precious little hope of winning. Around the same time, I was watching the anime series, ‘Attack On Titan’. Hajime Isayama is the guy who wrote and illustrated the manga that series was based on; and he makes a very twisty, turning story with holy-crap moments on every other page. I knew I wanted that too, to have every chapter end on a cliffhanger. I decided on 3,000 word chapters to keep it tight and moving quickly.
Somewhere in the gargantuan Time-Life book on World War Two in my study is a picture of marines on a landing craft in foaming waters headed for the hail of gunfire on the beach. The couple of faces you can see aren’t panicking or crying. In fact, one guy is half-smiling. I knew I wanted that.
Same book, different page, is the picture of Neville Chamberlain holding up the peace treaty signed by Hitler promising no more aggression. That was the other side of dealing with bullies. I wanted that too.
I dug for a long time to find a pair of representative quotes with which to open the novel. I needed two that resonated together, and said something important about facing blood-chilling fear, about what history demands of you when you’re staring down something merciless and wicked and hungry. I hope you like them.
See you soon.