Every story I’ve written has a story. I’m not talking about my writing process. You don’t want to hear about that. I’m talking about THE PLAN.
By the fall of 2010, I was ready to create my first novel after a couple of years of writing short fiction for publication. Winter Songs was going to be an artistic and commercial success. I knew the story that I wanted to tell, but it took a lot of planning and thinking about how I wanted to tell it. The desire to play it safe was something I fought. If you try to please everybody, you’ll please nobody, least of all yourself. I didn’t want to put my future readers to sleep, so I took a deep breath and started to write. My lead character, John Howard, was born. Howard was a strong, honorable, courageous, loving, humble, and flawed family man. I like my good guys to be flawed and my bad guys to be monsters that wear masks of respectability. I wrote about race, small town secrets, love, hate, and unabashed southern pride. I finished the book in July of 2011. It took me a year to find a publisher. I was and am pleased with the work. People bought it, although the overall commercial success of Winter Songs was, shall we say, muted.
In the fall of 2011, I began thinking about a new series, one that was more intense. I was trying to move from the mystery/family saga genre to mystery/suspense writing, something along the lines of a Lee Child or Harlan Coben. I wanted to keep my John Howard readers while attempting to reach a broader market for my fiction. I wanted to write a thriller, and so, Salem Matthews was born. I completed Deep Water in the summer of 2012. It was published in 2013.
I’ve written seven novels now. Each one has had their own plan, their own story behind the story. I’m still not rich or famous, but I’m proud of the work. I’ll keep going.