When last we spoke
When last we spoke, I was deep in a writing cave, wrangling with the second round of edits from my new and brilliant team at Sourcebooks. Sometimes editors do this thing. Other writers have told me about it, and I also saw it with my (former but also pretty brilliant) editors at Ballantine. I'll think I'm just about done, at the very end of a dense editorial letter, or in round gazillion of revisions, and then the editor will say something like, "Oh, and one more thing that might be worth thinking about..."
And maybe because of where I am in the process, past ready and into desperate-if-not-dying-to-be-done, I'll optimistically imagine it's a trifle, a mere bagatelle, a throwaway to take care of in the last hours—no, minutes—before turning in the final manuscript.
Of course you know—due to my expert set-up here—that this is never what happens. But in some strange alchemy that is the editorial process, the change often winds up being one of the best, most important ones you make to the book ever. Which is suddenly incredibly relevant because in just a second I'm going to tell you how you can finally READ THAT BOOK. And I don't mean wait till May and buy it
Once Upon a Time
One of the highlights was Thrillerfest, a conference and five day party for the stars of the thriller world. And at ThrillerFest, everyone's a star. I loved this experience so much that I became Chair of the Debut Program, and am now a board member of International Thriller Writers. I count members of my Debut Class amongst my dearest writer friends, people I would be there for no matter what they needed or what our careers threw at us. I'm happy to report that many of them are doing well—grown from debut status to known favorite.
Speaking of ITW Debut Authors, one such was Barry Lancet, now established with his continent-spanning Jim Brodie series. The fourth and latest entry takes us to the strange borders of North Korea.
Author Spotlight: Barry Lancet
Here’s a golden tidbit of advice from a very successful book editor I know: “For starters, a writer must write something not eighty or ninety percent as good as what’s out there, or even equal to it. It’s got to be a hundred and ten percent of what’s come before. As a first step.” Consider that statement in all its implications.
That is what I aimed for with JAPANTOWN, which won the Barry Award for Best First Novel. For book #4, THE SPY ACROSS THE TABLE, I followed a variation of the same thought, always trying to top my previous effort. I asked myself what keeps me up at night? What keeps me in suspense? As an American expat living in Tokyo, I didn’t have far to look—I just thought about one of my neighbors: North Korea.
As a result, SPY deals with the dark secrets of North Korea, how its leader really thinks, China’s long-term strategy for domination of Asia (which is why NK doesn’t trust China), the down-and-dirty tricks of both countries, plus a very real weak link in American security operations. But the biggest surprise has only now surfaced: what I was writing about 18 months ago has come front and center, and current events have caught up with my story. Never in my wildest dreams did I think headlines would be trailing my plotline. Which makes the secrets in SPY all the more treacherous.
I can hardly believe what I’m about to share with you. You all know the twisty, winding path I walked, trying to find a new home for my next novel. Then revising it, thanks first to the inspired thoughts of one of today’s great masters of fiction, David Morrell, revising it again under the stewardship of my brilliant new editors, polishing it, polishing it some more, only to line edit it…And now I can finally show you the thing that above anything else, I think, makes a book real, about to be born.
Of course, Wicked River won’t be out for another ten whole months. But right now, thanks to the wildly creative marketing team at my new publisher, two very special groups can read the first ten chapters of the book and see its cover. If you’re at ThrillerFest this week, you can walk right down to the conference level and see a blown up poster on an easel. (I haven’t seen this yet myself and will probably faint when I do.) Or just walk up to me and get a postcard. But if you’re a newsletter reader, you don’t even have to go anywhere. From the comfort of your desk, or your car, or your couch you can see it right now.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
Ha, remember late night TV commercials for products you couldn’t buy anywhere else? Do we still even have those? #canceledcabletosavetimeandmoney
The Sourcebooks marketing team is not only letting you see the cover, they’re also sneak peeking the first ten chapters of the novel. You can read it free—but only if you’re a newsletter reader or ThrillerFest attendee. You guys are the first.
I don't want to do another wait-there’s-even-more, but there really is one more thing. A crazy fun contest from those same marketing geniuses. People who read the first ten chapters of Wicked River, a novel set in the wilds of the Adirondack wilderness, will be entered to win a meal-in-the-great-outdoors. It’s a picnic kit, a table in a bag, wine, some kind of crafty, handmade bracelet with a charm that represents the novel…I want to say it’s too cool for school, but that would only show how uncool I am.
Let me just let you enter the contest and I'll shut up already! Can you tell I’m excited?
I'm at Thrillerfest this week, and as always, it promises to be a party. Catching up with dear friends, seeing literary idols, and even some first-time extravaganzas like a dinner my publisher is hosting.
Later this month, I'll try to get out at least a brief newsletter with highlights and photos from the Grand Ole Hyatt in New York City. If you're at the conference, you'll have the time of your summer, I promise! And no matter what awesome panels and fun parties you go to, please come find me and say hello.
Love from the Hills of Wedeskyull Concrete Canyons of Manhattan,