An author knows more about their characters than he or she ever provides. Whether we realize it at the time of composition, or much later when we’re revising, we have at our disposal tons of background knowledge that helps to inform us–and our readers–as to the lives of those we create.
A beta-reader said of Terrence McDonald, the main character for my upcoming novel, What Death Taught Terrence:
“To me, Terrence felt real, and I truly came to love Terrence as a person, not just as a character.”
An author could not hope for a better assessment, and this one spurred me on. This book I love so much, filled with these characters I love so much… this book for which I spent my whole life researching and the better part of eleven years writing and editing… it is coming!
In the book, though no date is ever specifically put forth, it is inferred that our main character, Terrence, celebrates his birthday in the waning winters of February. Therefor, it is my intent to publish What Death Taught Terrence first as a kindle e-book, followed by a paperback edition, in February of 2020, with the big day tentatively set to arrive February 11th. An audio-book edition will follow months later. The book should be available for pre-order on Kindle within months, and I will update you when the ability to pre-order this edition goes live on Amazon.
If you love It’s A Wonderful Life, if you’re taken to someplace fantastic every time you watch Field Of Dreams, then What Death Taught Terrence is for you. If you think it’s time that handicapped characters in literature accurately reflect the lives of the handicapped, rather than being used by authors as saintly devices whose only purpose in a story is to teach able-bodied characters how to live, then What Death Taught Terrence is for you. If you read books like The Five People You Meet In Heaven and, while you enjoy the story, you think there could–and maybe should–be more substance in such books, I agree with you, and I aim to provide both good story and substance you can discuss later in Terrence. If you’re part of a book club, Terrence is for you. In fact, he’s eager to meet you!
When I began writing my novel, I did so at the urging of friends and family. You’re such a good writer, they said, either in not so many words, or sometimes in those exact words. Which always made me feel a little bit abashed. I appreciated the sentiment, but I was never really sure how I should respond. Thank you just didn’t seem like enough. You should write a memoir, these kind folks would tell me.
Twenty-six-year-old me scoffed at this memoir idea. What did I have to say at twenty-six? I sat with the idea for a couple days and decided my story wouldn’t be a memoir; it would be a novel.
“I think I can do this quick,” I remember saying. “I’ll make sure it’s done well, but I should have a book in two years.” That, my friends, is a writer unfamiliar with the process of writing for publication. I have since become intimately familiar with it.
Two years produced not a book but the first of many, many drafts. Only then did it become clear to me that seventy-five percent of writing is in the editing process.
More than eleven years will have passed between the first keystrokes of my novel and its worldly date of birth when I bring it to you beginning February 11th, 2020. In between the lines, so much hard work rests. I would be honored with your readership and humbled by your spending time with Terrence and his family.
Mark it on your calendars, folks. February 11th, 2020 you will meet Terrence and find out just what death taught him!