How have you been? I know, I’ve been gone (again) a LONG time. But this time, I bring back good news.
My Urban Fantasy novel, Lost Wings, is about to arrive next month, via Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. It’ll be out as both an E-Book, and a Print On Demand (P.O.D.).
The story: “When derelict Iraq War vet Richard Eastman comes home to find a wingless angel in his bathtub, he realizes that there is only one option: help her to reclaim her wings, or die trying. It’s a mission that will take Richard from San Francisco’s Tenderloin district all the way down to the lowest levels of Hell.”
Here is the finalized cover:
I wrote this novel over ten years ago, tried and tried to find an agent or publisher, but no go. Every so often I would take it out and rewrite it to the level of my writing abilities at that time. I just couldn’t give up on it (obviously, lol).
If you’re wondering about the “Don M. Vail”, my agent told me that since it is in a genre SOOOO far from my usual one (Mystery/Thriller) that I should take a pen name and do the, “Robert K. Lewis writing as Don M. Vail” thing.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. It’s been SUCH a long road. I’ll show you the back cover copy when it’s finalized.
Like I said, been a long time coming.
Finally finished this first draft, and this one nearly killed my liver. It’s a mess of a book, but just about all first drafts are messes. They’re supposed to be. The book is made in the editing phase. Now I go (after a couple days of rest) and break it down by chapter, tracking what happens where, what characters fall out of the book, etc…
… the fun part.
It’s a friggin’ joy to show you this, as it reinforces in my mind that the first draft is actually, finally done:
And in other news, that Suspense Magazine radio interview is quickly approaching, mid-April. April 18th, I believe.
I’ve also been invited to blog here, which is like a hub for a couple other awesome blogs. This will also happen in April.
And in other exciting news, I’ll have a blog post on a new crime fiction fan site. I can’t tell you which one yet, as it hasn’t gone live, but will in April. This post will show up in early May.
Also in May, May 5th actually, I’ll be giving a reading of Innocent Damage at the new Books, Inc. in Berkeley. On upper Shattuck, just a few doors up from Saul’s restaurant. (They’re moving from their old spot on 4th street in April)
And of course, Innocent Damage is only three weeks away.
So, I got “tagged” by the greatness that is The Next Big Thing. I definitely have to thank Jayne Denker for giving me the opportunity to answer these questions and then tag a friend.
1- What is the working title of your book?
The title is Untold Damage.
2- Where did the idea come from for the book?
It came from a deep well of desperation, actually. My previous novel had bombed out with my agent. She just didn’t dig it, and I see now that she was right. The protagonist was all wrong, but I DID feel that the story had something. Something strong. The protagonist for Untold Damage, Mark Mallen, had existed in a previous book I’d written and that had been shopped to publishers unsuccessfully. I was struck with the idea of combining the story from the one and the protag from the other, and voila!
3- What genre does your book fall under?
4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hahaha… good question! Well, I saw Clive Owen as Mallen, Morgan Freeman as Oberon the homicide detective, and I’m not sure about who would play Mallen’s sidekick, Gato.
5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It never really had a one-sentence synopsis actually, as I sent it to my agent rather than having to query it. This is what’s on the book’s Amazon page: “Estranged from his wife and daughter, former undercover cop Mark Mallen has spent the last four years in a haze of heroin. When his best friend from the academy, Eric Russ, is murdered, an address found in his pocket points to Mallen as the prime suspect.“
6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The publisher of Untold Damage is Midnight Ink Books. I’m represented by the greatest agent in the world: Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency. She’s like Wolverine and Bukowski all rolled up into one.
7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, I had to go all the way back to square one once I began to combine the story from one book with the protagonist from another. But for all that, the first draft flowed out of me pretty quickly. I’d say eight weeks or so.
8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Anything that is dark and hard boiled, with a broken protagonist on a road to redemption.
9- Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Well, first there’s my love of 1970’s New York films. Films like The French Connection, The Seven Ups, Panic in Needle Park, Taxi Driver, etc. Also, I lived many years in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, where the book is mainly situated. You see a lot in that hood, trust me.
10- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, if you love gritty, hard-boiled stories and gritty, hard-boiled characters, you’ll be interested in Untold Damage.
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Tagged for next week (Week 29) is one of my very talented writer friends, Calista Taylor. Check out her blog next Wednesday, December 19th, when it’s her turn to post answers to these same questions about her own works-in-progress.