So…Chasing Your Heroes
I was 13 years old, cruising through the library on a boring summer day when I picked up a book and read this opening line: “She came running through the rain shoeless, neon signs and traffic signals splintering in the liquid reflection beneath her flying feet.” The hook was set, so I read on: “She fled like misjoined Siamese twins, feet touching mirrored feet on the slick black asphalt, puddles of red and green, orange and blue splashing up tintlessly to stain her legs with the gutter filth of the city. She was bleeding.” The book was Blood Relatives , an 87th Precinct novel, by Ed McBain. I sat down in the aisle and read through lunch and until the library closed that night. It never occurred to me to check it out and take it home because that would've meant that I would've had to stop reading.
Once I was done with the 87th Precinct Series I discovered A Catskill Eagle, one of the Spenser Novels by Robert B. Parker. Another series that read like the wind. Where McBain focused on an ensemble cast of detectives operating within a precinct, Parker made it personal. One man, a P.I., and his friends (most notably Hawk) on both sides of the law, all working for the same thing in one way or another: justice. Parker’s hero was funny, complex, an incredible chef and an ex-boxer. As a character, Spenser beat his way into my heart. Thanks to him, the first time I visited Boston? I knew the layout of the city. Yes, I walked The Freedom Trail and did the usual touristy stuff…but I also made it a point to stop off at the corner of Boylston & Berkeley, the fictitious site of Spenser’s office. I stood there a long time.
Writers are only as good as the writers who have taught them, and every book is a seminar on the craft. There is pacing, nuance, story arc, character development, and theme, to name a few. But if I’m honest, I never really valued the study of such things. For me, it was all about the story: what it did to my head and to my soul…and why. The technique is nothing without passion and relentlessness. From there, you have to find your heroes. Then chase them. Not to try and catch them (that'd be ego) but to learn from the pace which they have set, even long after they're gone (as these two legends sadly are).
Today my editor in the U.K. received the revisions for my fifth novel, “Another One”, Book 1 of what has now become the second trilogy of The Millionth Series. That's right. I'm writing a series. This should surprise no one. Lol. My Advance Reader Team all received copies yesterday. My cover designer will begin work on designs next week and my book formatter two weeks after that. Another One will be on pre-sale on all platforms (Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo and Google+) in mid-August and publish in mid-September, just in time for my one-year anniversary as an author. After that? Who knows. I’m chasing my heroes, yes. But more importantly? I’m chasing my stories.
Thanks, as always, for cheering me on as I do so.
The audiobooks for One In A Million, A Million to One and One Plus One are available on downpour.com. Click the link to check them out (it’ll go straight to my page there). One In A Million is available now, with A Million to One releasing on 8/1 (TOMORROW). One Plus One will be available on September 5th (Labor Day Weekend). The narrator, Peter Berkrot, is phenomenal (I received early copies, so I know) and I will tell you that it is a complete trip to hear someone reading your books.
Paperback sales continue to be steady and both Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena and Flintridge Bookstore in La Canada have once again stepped up to support me by extending my consignment agreements through the end of the year and giving me solid floor placement and promotion. Local bookstores are crucial to any community and to every writer. I cannot express enough in words the appreciation I feel for them.