If we were having coffee today I’d tell you about the contract. You see, this week I signed a contract for Lucky Strike, my third published novel. It is a big moment for me because it has been a long time coming. The tentative release date is October 2019, which will make it three years since my last book.
It’s been a long two and a half years for me to get to this point. I started this one shortly after the publication of my second book, but I short-circuited my own progress by embarking on my cookbook project. It was a lot of fun and it showcased my novels very nicely but it took a lot longer than I realized and then I lapsed into aggressively marketing it and my other books. I did manage to finish the rough draft of the new novel in 2017, and I indeed started revision but got sidetracked again by a request to help my publisher with more marketing.
2018 was momentous for me. My wife’s cancer battle took up the first half, then my job took over. Well, it was more the confounding array of details I needed to deal with when my employer made me an offer. I found out that an unplanned departure from work and a sudden transition to retirement is indeed a lot of work in and of itself. It took me a while to complete that move; we’re talking physically, mentally, and psychologically. Finally, late in 2018 I dug in my heels and began a deep revision of Lucky Strike. Four months later, I have a contract.
You know what? Like they say, it’s better late than never, but it comes at a cost. When I re-started the revision, it really took me about half the novel to start feeling it again. Maybe “feeling” isn’t the right word. Thinking the novel, that’s it. It took me a while to get into “novel mode” again. I don’t know about other authors but for me, this is the point where I can’t get the story out of my head. When I drive to the store I have plot revisions percolating through my brain constantly. I imagine my characters shopping for groceries and run and rerun conversations through my head. Yes, even out loud sometimes. I think about it in the shower and while cutting the grass. I’m analyzing plot devices while I’m watching television or movies. It’s definitely an itch I have to scratch constantly.
Here’s what I learned: don’t lose your momentum. Oh, life intervenes, it always does. But that momentum is important. I spent three years revising my first novel, The Fever. I took short breaks but I never lost the momentum. In this case, most of that similar amount of time was involved with no momentum whatsoever. Like I said, there was a bit of time involved in regaining that momentum. But I did it, and I regained the passion for this novel. Passion? Heck, I’m stoked about it!!!
So, now I’m working corrections from my editor. I still have to come up with blurbs and cover ideas. It is all part of the business of being an author. Then the dreaded marketing push will start. Or, wait, has that begun already?
I’ll tell you this, the new novel has a very intricate plot with many complex developments. The mystery is complex as well. The reader knows more about it than any of the characters but the different components of it are a challenge to several layers of characters. Even the antagonist, who has a profound vendetta motive, is grasping at straws to find the answers he’s looking for. And the reader has only a general idea of what it is all about as the twists and turns converge to what I hope is a surprising ending. My beta readers and my publisher are all enthusiastic about it. The major characters are back, including the ghosts. There is a true villain too. It’s a wild ride
I better get back to the edits. More info to come.
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in NC. You can find out more about his other book at http://thefensk.com
It would be a good time to start catching up, as Lucky Strike is the third book in my Traces of Treasure series.