I'm such a reluctant blogger. The timing to write one seems appropos, though, because my latest novel, a medical thriller called The Jigaw Man, has just been released. The Jigsaw Man was also the first novel I wrote. It was actually completed about 27 years ago and just sat. Talk about letting it cool off before you start editing! I had to work out how long it had been lying dormant but I remember talking about the novel I was writing to my daughter's kindergarten teacher, with whom I used to golf. And that was nearly three decades ago.
I completed The Jigsaw Man while taking the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Program and Advanced Novel Writing Program. It got very good reception with agents and editors, spending six months with Denise Little at Zebra/Kensington before I asked for it back. The problem was mostly that it was too short for its genre (at 50,000 words). In the last five rewrites I just did I built in another subplot and added 25,000 words.
Like most of my writing it was inspired by a true event, in this case a Canadian TV program called W5 where they interviewed people with disfiguring conditions, such as neurofibromatas (Elephant Man syndrome). The strange thing was, most of these people lived with a condition that made them practically social outcasts, were generally very grounded and accepting of their condition. What was telling was that their friends who, after the patient had surgery to correct their condition, shunned them once they looked normal again. I decided to put a twist on it with the question: What if you woke up from surgery with a perfect face, but it changed your personality? Kind of a twist on Frankenstein's Monster, I suppose, but that is only a small part of the novel.
Of course, in writing something that far back, there were a lot of changes and updates that needed to be made. Back then most doctors didn't own cell phones and most used beepers. The cell phones that were available were heavy, clunky things shaped like a brick and had a battery life of less than four hours. Scarcely time to complete 18 holes of golf.
Another major plot adjustment was that when I wrote The Jigsaw Man, there had never been a face transplant attempted, nor was there artificial skin, or the use of the patient's skin cells to culture it, nor 3D printers. Those were all from my imagination. It's too bad that I didn't publish it way back when or I would have been one of those writers who write cutting edge, prophetic fiction, like Michael Crichton or Ray Bradbury. C'est la vie!
Suffice it to say, I'm pleased with the novel and hope those who purchase a copy enjoy reading it. I've got several events booked in Washington and Oregon over the next few months, including a launch party at Vintage Books in Vancouver, WA, Saturday, January 16th at 1:00 p.m.. Check out my Events page (updates are coming) and if there's one taking place near you, drop in and say hello!