Not too long ago, many of us enjoyed a weekly escape into the real-time adventures of Jack Bauer vs. the terrorists. The series was 24, and the gimmick of telling a single 24-hour story in real time over as many episodes provided a level of intensity, suspense, and countless cliffhangers that was sorely missing on prime-time television.
Around 2005 (or about the fourth season of 24), I decided to draft a ticking-clock novel, but taking it into science fiction action-adventure, with protagonists who could appeal to both adult and teen audiences. For reasons I cannot explain, I dropped the story into a sleepy Alabama town where nothing ever happened (except for that shocking double-murder that took away the main character's parents a couple years earlier - police-blotter silliness like that).
Then I went about writing based on a high concept that left my 17-year-old hero with no chance to survive. That's right - he's going to die in eight hours, no matter what. After all, if he lives, he'll morph into something monstrous and threaten mankind itself; if he dies sooner, the rest of us are saved. Talk about a rock and a hard place. The character's name was July Jackson - alliterative but ultimately unsatisfying. After many rewrites over the past dozen years, July morphed into Jamie Sheridan, and the mythology behind who he really is and what he might become evolved to form the basis for a four-book series.
That series goes live on Amazon this Friday, Nov. 23, with The Last Everything, Book One of The Impossible Future series. Why did I choose Black Friday? For reasons that are no more clear than the choice of that Alabama town. But I think you'll have a fun, suspenseful ride with a healthy dose of twists and turns, suitable for a wide range of audiences, the kind of story a reader might power through on a chilly night, sipping hot chocolate. And then ... ask when the second book arrives. (Let's go with 2019, and leave it at that for now!)
For a mere $3.99, you can pre-order on Amazon now, and your e-reader will make you happy on one of the most stressful days of the year. (Kindle Unlimited readers, indulge for free. What a deal.) If you read, please post a brief review on Amazon (those comments are greatly valued). And feel free to touch base with me on Facebook or through email. I'd love to know your thoughts!
Most writers I know (especially those of the indie variety) will agree that the most aggravating part of this whole gig is post-production. Of course, there's the endless revision and editing. You know, the one where you surgically polish the text so often that by the time you're finished, most of your excitement about the story has waned (like drinking Coke without the carbonation). But I find that cover design is the real nail-biter in the process.
I've been narrowing down the final design for The Last Everything, which will publish this month, and it has been a bear. For indie novelists working to build an audience, cover design is pivotal to help us find visibility amid the literary clutter (the millions of titles on Amazon grow daily). Yet it's hardly the only factor (decent writing, a hoot of a story, and a great online blurb are somewhat helpful).
For this novel, I ran these designs past multiple closed groups of writers online as well as seeking out Facebook friends, who would tend to examine books as consumers and not as marketers. Take a gander at these three. I could go with any of them, but ultimately decided the second option fits the book thematically, peers back at the reader's soul with those piercing eyes, and ... drumroll, please ... it contains rules above and below the title to add focus to the center. It's subtle, of course. About three-fourths of commenters preferred this one. Thus, the tyranny of the majority has won! Yee-haw.
Now, time to finish the publishing process and start writing its sequel. A four-book series demands I cannot leave my vast army (???) of readers in the lurch for long.