Paperback Writer–When Will Your Next Book Be Finished?

Now that I have let it be known that I’m working on my third novel, two questions are often asked:
• When Will Your New Book Be Done?
• What Is It About?
I have now completed the manuscript for my third novel “The Illusion of Certainty”. Complete is relative term. That depends on what you mean by complete. I will now go through a few weeks of editing, polishing and double checking facts. I use real locations in my novels and want to make sure I get it right.
As an example, part of my new novel takes place in London. I have a British friend who is reviewing the chapters that take place in England to make sure I haven’t made any mistakes that would be spotted by Brits. It is really helpful to have her review my descriptions and the accuracy of how I describe life in London.
At some point by the end of April, it will be time to move on. I heard a speakers at a writer’s conference here in Seattle say that “the perfect book” has never been published. I recognize that my book will never be perfect but I sure want it to be close.
I can still tell you the page numbers of the typos in my first two novels. I still hope for a mistake-free novel this time.
Continuity is always a challenge. “The Illusion of Certainty” takes place over a three-year period beginning in 2007. The main characters have teenaged children who are nearing the end of high school and preparing for college. I’ve had to make myself a charter about when the teen characters graduate.
There are a million small details like that. I know what was in my head when I wrote the novel but sometimes it doesn’t make it all the way to the paper. On a re-read I was amazed to find that a main female character had black hair in Chapter 3 and blonde hair in all of the remaining chapters. I recognize that women can change the color of their hair but this is a case of the character evolving. I probably wrote Chapter 3 sometime last November. Things have changed since then as I completed the book. This female character started out as a kind of generic best friend but as I got further into the story, the best friend developed into a main character.
However, as the story evolved, the “best friend” became a much more important character than I originally envisioned. That is part of the fun of writing. As you get deeply into the plot, the story begins writing itself.
Explaining what your beloved book is about is a real challenge for any author. I have been at book signings and book shows when you quickly develop a good 30 second speech to answer that question.
My new book, “The Illusion of Certainty” is two parallel stories which eventually come together. There is Alex, (short for Alexandra), a bright young woman who is a lawyer in Portland, Oregon. She falls in love with a young policeman that she meets during an emergency in her neighborhood.
The second storyline involves Marc, a man who seems to have everything. He lives in an affluent neighborhood,has a beautiful wife, Aimee, and two great kids who are headed to college. Marc is the CFO of an athletic shoe company and Aimee is a nurse. But there is something wrong.
Marc is deeply troubled as the story begins in the summer of 2007 at the strange behavior of his wife, who is suddenly very disconnected from him.
Both Marc and Alex deal with significant obstacles and they deal with the uncertainty which is always present in our lives. I would describe this book and my other two as “love stories.” I try to make that distinction when I have people say, “So you write romance novels.” With all due respect to romance novelists, that is not what I do.
My stories are romantic but they are love stories. I find the struggle of two people finding one another and falling in love, to be one of life’s greatest and most interesting challenges.
My publisher and I have tentatively set the launch date for “The Illusion of Certainty” for July 1. On that day it will be available at all retail outlets, and in IPad, Nook and Kindle format. Stay tuned. There is always the element of uncertainty to deal with…even in publishing a novel about coping with life’s uncertainties.


About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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