I haven't discussed this book, my third, much because frankly it always seemed so far off. I'd spent so much time on THE GUILTY--writing the book, going over proofs, preparing for publication--that until recently it seemed strange that I was in the midst of writing book #3. This book was a challenge to write, mainly because I was working a full time job while being contracted for two books per year. I'd figured out the plots for my first two books--THE MARK and THE GUILTY--before I'd even sold one. So in a way this was the first totally fresh book I've written under contract. In order to meet my August publication date for this book, I've been pulling some major late nights and writing 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, and even 5,000 words a day. And these words had to fit into a tight story structure, since I wanted the pacing and feel for this book to be a little different. Fast paced, yet taking a little longer to develop, so the end, I felt, had more of an emotional impact.
Well, as of this morning THE STOLEN is with my editor and my agent. It's an odd feeling, since in a few weeks the whole process will start anew. Going over edits, page proofs, galleys, the whole deal. And much of that will likely take place before THE GUILTY even hits stores. I'll be working on promoting THE GUILTY while my mind is on the nuts and bolts of THE STOLEN, not to mention working on the manuscript for my fourth book.
I'm extremely pleased with how THE GUILTY turned out. I honestly feel it's a better book than THE MARK. While I wrote THE GUILTY, there was one phrase I literally on just about every page: KSM. Or: Keep Sh*t Moving.
While I love THE MARK, I'm aware that it takes a little while to warm up the engine. Mainly because I wanted the reader to care about Henry. If he was thrust into the action on page one, the reader would be rooting for a cartoon character. I didn't want that. I felt the build up was worth it come pay off. In THE GUILTY, I was able to build upon what we know of Henry and the other characters in his world, embellishing their stories while wrapping them in a much bigger and more intricate story. And I was able to put things in motion right off the bat.
I've always been intrigued by the "what if" storyline. Where the plot is set in motion by two seemingly unrelated events thrust into conflict. What if this happened here...THE GUILTY has one of those "What if" storylines, and I think it's excited as hell.
Now my first two books I consider to be thrillers with mystery aspects. THE STOLEN I consider to be more of a mystery with thriller aspects. That may sound like splitting hairs, but I could feel the difference while I was writing it. I think fans of the first two will enjoy it, but it feels fresh too. There's more actual 'mystery' than in the first two books, yet I also feel it might be the best-paced story of the three.
In the meantime, just 78 days remain until THE GUILTY hits stores everywhere. I can't wait. And then things began anew. There's always work to be done.