May I Tell You a Story?
Sam Golding, a young archaeologist heading a dig in Egypt, was perplexed. Strange things were being unearthed at the Tel El-Balamun site; objects from a different place and time period. His associate and friend Ibrahim invited him to go into town for the evening, but Sam demurred.
As he sat, puzzling over how to report what they were finding, a comet with a huge tail appeared in the Eastern sky. But instead of burning out, it grew larger. And closer. And hit the Earth a quarter mile from their dig.
Soon there was more large, fiery hail raining down on them. Ibrahim and another worker jumped into the old station wagon that served as their transport. It was hit.
The camp was destroyed.
Sam Golding had no way to know this was only the beginning.
This is how Plagues of Eden, our new thriller, opens. (Well, in a very condensed version.) After more than a year of work, the book comes out in two weeks, and I’ve been asked to blog about how writers feel during this time leading up to the publication of a new book.
That’s my word. I’d love to know how other authors would describe it.
The conceiving, writing, and editing of the book are in the past. The hoopla over the release is two weeks away. Print and blog interviews we’ve done and reviews we know are coming haven’t arrived yet. Radio interviews are scheduled, and B.K. and I love doing them, so that’s something to look forward to. So we’re stuck between past and future.
I love hanging out with my co-author, I love talking and discussing the books with readers. (See my recent blog post about the Writer/Reader Mind-Meld.)
The thing is, I’m a storyteller, a writer. A marketer, not so much. Many writers are in this camp, I know. But if I don’t help sell the book, readers won’t know it’s there, and they won’t buy it.
So, sometimes, I feel like I’m standing there, hat in hand, saying, “May I tell you a story? An exciting one? About a female Army chaplain who saves the world from a madman?”
Really, it seems that the point is to let readers know what the book’s about, and, if it’s up your alley, you take a chance and buy it.
So, here’s what the book’s about:
Another challenge with marketing is that I have the world’s coolest co-author. But writing thrillers with someone who’s active-duty military is kind of like writing with someone in Fight Club: the first rule of writing with active-duty military is you can’t talk about being active-duty military. That’s their main job. Writing is their stay-sane hobby. Hands off. And I truly understand. But part of the problem is, that means there’s LOTS of cool stuff I can’t tell you. But, buy the book. You’ll see. (Not a publicist’s favorite slogan.)
Having a book come out is a little bit like going to watch your kid in a school play or in a horse show. You’ve done all you can, and now there’s nothing more you can do but stand back and let them do their thing. The book is done. It’s printed. The story is told. The characters are crazy, or sexy, or interesting, or psychopathic. But they are what they are. They’re telling a story.
It’s about satellite-crashing and Red Tide and hitmen (and women) but it’s also about wine growing and relationships and Italy and China and France and Argentina and West Point. It’s about autism and Army chaplains and West Point cadets and people who are fascinated by chaos theory. It’s about what it means to be married to an secret agent.
Right now, I’m looking out the window at a doe and spotted fawns, at a sky of Simpsons-blue, trees and lawns so green it’s as if we live in the shire. My book, the book that I have written and tended, the story I’ve loved, is about to be released to take its own path into the world.
Join us on that path, if you’re so inclined. I’d love it if you did.
In other words, Psst…wanna buy a book?