An author only gets to call one day the release date of their very first novel. There are, however, a multitude of different channels that can be used to make that announcement.
As I just posted on Facebook and other vehicles, Will of The Hill is now available in both paperback and Kindle formats via the following link:
I think it makes sense to go a little bit deeper into that announcement via this post on my website—the beneficiary/punching bag of all that I have poured out over the past couple of years.
First, this novel started out as a short story. It needed help. Much of the early help came from a very smart young editor who I’ve never met in person, John K. Tiholiz. John normally works with non-fiction but he had any number of great insights. I fought him on every single on of them, until I eventually realized that only one of us actually knew what he was doing (hint: it wasn’t me).
This short story, which was inspired by the first school Things #1 and #2 attended here in Pura Vida, got a bit longer. Things #1 and #2 read the working draft and claimed to like it. There were no overt threats against their allotted video game time if they said otherwise, but I suspect that was part of the mix.
I soon hit a variety of road blocks on the narrative and decided to concentrate on the horror novel I had been wresting with for almost two years. Insomnia is a wonderful tool in that it gives you time you did not believe existed. Unfortunately, writing whatever occurs to your foggy brain at 3:00 a.m. produces a mountain of words. Some of these words make sense in regard to the plot, and smack of the English language, others not so much.
Feverish work on this front with the help of a professional editor, Bob Brashears, helped get the horror novel back on track. Mountains of edits later, I had even decided to move forward with the horror novel as my initial offering to the public.
In the meantime, my bride—who enjoys books like “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” and other fare dedicated to the art of grammar—attempted to explain to me what a comma is, and, more importantly, why anyone would care. This exercise took place for the benefit (or at the expense, dependent upon who is telling the story) of the working draft of Will of The Hill.
It should also be noted that I was infatuated with another title for the novel but my bride thought “Hill Bottom Blues” would remind everyone of a 1980’s cop show. I attempted to explain that the target audience, who was not born until well after this show’s reruns were stale, would have no such affiliation. In a reoccurring theme of my writing career, I lost the battle of the commas and the title. She is, of course, correct, but that doesn’t make me any happier about it.
Through all of the kerfuffle, I navigated my way through all of the writing blocks I had encountered and, after much pondering, decided that I would rather lead with Will of The Hill. Those who enjoy books written for people above the age of twelve can take solace in the fact that the horror novel will soon be out. It will be followed either by a story book for the very young OR the first installment of a fantasy series which is currently about 60% complete. I can justifiably called any number of things, but unproductive is probably not one of them.
I turned all efforts towards Will of The Hill, hoping that I could get it out quickly. I had not reckoned with the final edit process, nor had I fully come to terms with the fact that I can sketch but will never be considered an artist. With Bob, Tracey and others diving in to the commas once again (and also discarding all of my brilliant uses of “whilst” and “amongst” that I blame on an early infatuation with a number of British authors) I turned to a local artist, Edda Pachecho, to take my sketch and make it palatable. The formatting of the title, my name and the entire back cover came via a great resource who does this kind of thing for lots of writers: Calvin Cahail
Somewhere in the mix our community received the unwelcome visit of Hurricane Nate (at least the winds and rain inspired by naughty Nate). The lack of roads, electricity, and water set the schedule back once again. I also dove head-first into my Jimmy Olsen impersonation through articles I penned for The Tico Times which took up all meager writing and photography resources.
At long last, the day has come. The novel is out and I can only hope that this other child of mine can also avoid teen pregnancy, drugs, piercings and anything to do with the Kardashians as it makes its way in the world—hopefully finding a home on a bookshelf or two.
I do not know what comes next. For my writing career to be considered a success on any level I will, at some point, have to find a literary agent willing to speak to me. Perhaps Will of the Hill will inspire one of these folks to unblock my e-mails. Perhaps not. Either way I have very much enjoyed the ride and I thank each and every one of you for coming along.
P.S. In an effort to repair my misguided belief that I know something about karate, the little finger of my right hand will be rebroken and have pins and screws inserted early tomorrow morning. This may hinder my correspondence and my future writing timelines a wee bit. Not everything I do is perfect.