Friday, January 10, 2014

Guest Post: The Story Behind The Black Song Inside

I started out with the idea of writing a mystery and wrote one in first-person and finished it, but it wasn’t quite right. It was solid but nothing special. After reflection, I realized I had hampered myself by sticking to the restrictions of a first-person story and that I was more suited to writing a mystery thriller because it’s more fun to have multiple POVs to show “all sides of the story” and portray the good and bad characters on a collision course.

So then I needed some antagonists who were very compelling because for me the less a reader root for a character to succeed the more entertaining that character should because cookie cutter villains are snoozeville. So then I dreamed up, or rather nightmared up, The Priest. My wife, also an author, was a big help here because she slapped down any cliché aspect that appeared in his character keeping him fresh and frightening.

Finally, I had it all done and professionally edited  but I knew from previous experience that it takes years to get an agent and then years to sign with a big publishing house if that’s what you want to do. By then (October 2012) I had been studying the rise of self-publishing and the birth of Thomas & Mercer and I deduced that I would be better off going Indie since, not having an agent, I had no way to approach Thomas & Mercer. So in November I self-published to moderate success.

Then out of nowhere on May 31st I received an email from a senior editor for Thomas & Mercer stating that he’d read The Black Song Inside and that he loved it and wanted to re-publish it as a Thomas & Mercer title. Naturally, I was thrilled.

The fact that Thomas & Mercer paid travel, room, and board for every one of their authors who had a novel published in 2013 and who wanted to come to Seattle and participate in theOn The Lam conference for a weekend confirmed for me that I was with the right company. At the conference I got to meet people I’d been reading for years like Barry Eisler anddecades like Aaron Elkins who both said an all expenses event like On The Lam was unheard of.
I was unique as the only author at On The Lam who didn’t have either ridiculous self-pub success or an agent. How they found The Black Song Inside is, ironically, a mystery as they won’t reveal their trade secrets as they call them, but obviously I’m thrilled they did. Regardless I was, and still am, just some yahoo who chased a dream and had a bit of luck.

Thank you for hosting me!

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