A Wonderful, Wide-ranging Interview. #ownvoices

Hi, guys:

Been doing all I can to promote Terrence. Gotta find those readers. You know how it is!

This is a truly great interview and a conversation I won’t soon forget.
https://www.cacampbellwriter.com/post/ownvoice-writing-characters-with-disabilities-with-derek-mcfadden

Read What Death Taught Terrence, now free for those with kindleunlimited! Now discounted at amazon. Once you read, please review!

Readers’ honest reviews mean everything to authors!

Enjoy the blog!

 

Derek

 

A Friend Said Something I’ll Never Forget

Writing a book is lonely.

Being creative is fun, and the creativity itself is its own reward. Or else no one would follow through on creative projects.

But writing a book can certainly be a lonely pursuit. Also, writing is hard.

Often, you are doing so on faith. In yourself, that you’ll get it done right and well, That you’ll say what you want and need to say. And in future readers, that they’ll see what you’ve done and appreciate and understand it.

There’s a reason people who don’t write–or follow other creative avenues–will say, to those who do, “You should get a real job.” It is because these people see art as something done to while away hours. To them, a good life is a life where one has enough money to provide for their loved ones, does their work, and comes home tired at the end of the day, knowing their paycheck is their good and just–if not always high-paying–reward.

Authors, artists, and actors, on the other hand: sure, we’d love to get paid for what we do. Because we, too, like to, and must, eat. Some get paid quite handsomely. Most… do not. But for us the bigger reward is in the work we’re doing, the messages we spread, the pages we gray, and in knowing that, in the world right now, someone is reading our words. Someone is watching our films. Someone is being ever-so-slightly changed by something we put into the universe that would not exist if we hadn’t first thought it into being.

This weekend, a surprise party was held at my favorite Mexican restaurant. I did not know the party was happening. Because the surprise party was for me, in celebration of the release of my long-in-the-works novel, What Death Taught Terrence. https://smile.amazon.com/Death-Taught-Terrence-Derek-McFadden/dp/1733396314/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Derek+McFadden&qid=1582546064&sr=8-1

A good friend of mine from back east, the author Bradley Harper, stayed with us for the weekend to attend what I thought was a business meeting for which he’d flown in. Again, surprise party. I had no idea.

But I got to show Brad around my neck of the woods. We ate more food this weekend than I’ve eaten in the last three weeks combined. And then, just before the “business meeting,” which was, of course, the surprise party, Brad said to me, “You know, you’re a very lucky man.”

I agreed, though I thought the comment a tad out of place. This was about his business meeting. Other than the fact that I was attending and deeply support his work, it was not about me.

As I walked into my surprise party, to find out it was all about me, filled with friends–some of whom I hadn’t seen in years–I was so glad Brad said what he did. Not just because he was right, not just because I needed to hear it, but frankly because it was what my grandfather, my Papa Dick, would have said to me, if he were still alive. Since he’s not, my Papa sent a trusted friend to speak those words in his place.

 

I thank them both.

And I thank you, dear reader. Authors would be nothing without the eyes and ears and touches (should you read in braille) that allow you to take in our words. And, for us, aside from the occasional surprise parties or, if we’re lucky, awards, your reading our work is the reward that follows the reward of pure creation which spurred us on.

 

 

Most Anticipated Books Of 2020

I am one of those people who not only writes but also can often be found searching the net for the most anticipated books of the coming year. Everyone makes their list of such books. From The New York Times to The Guardian to Entertainment Weekly, the lists go on and on and on, and they can get very specific.

-Best Sci-fi

-Best Romance

-Best YA

-Best books to read while eating popcorn in a movie theater.

Okay, so that last one… probably not. But the others I’ve seen for sure.

As an author with a book coming soon, I dream of my book one day appearing on such lists. I believe What Death Taught Terrence is more than worthy of the notice. Sure, I’m biassed, but I also know books.

I’ve read books critically for years, in hopes of helping to find the best ones for and with an extremely kind and very talented literary agent. I’ve edited those same books and others for years, too. Worked with authors who knew my value and appreciated my takes on their work.

Some of these authors have even been kind enough to read What Death Taught Terrence and then to offer me their honest and constructive thoughts. From these conversations, and several others I’ve had with other literary agents, I know my book is worth the time of many a reader, and that if a reader picked up my book, they would certainly not be disappointed.

The thing about being what nowadays is called an “Indie-author: the toughest thing to do is to get the word out about your book. There are so many books being published each day that a book is more likely to drown under the deluge of other literary hopefuls than it is to ever be noticed. So sometimes one has to be creative. Sometimes one has to advise all the readers out there that:

-The Most Anticipated Novel of 2020 is:

What Death Taught Terrence, by Derek McFadden and available 2/11/20 from Kenboski & Seidenverg Books!!!

Pre-order your copy today! And please share your thoughts via Goodreads!

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48256568-what-death-taught-terrence

 

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-death-taught-terrence-derek-mcfadden/1133788175?ean=9781733396318

 

 

A New York Times Bestseller? Maybe!

What Death Taught Terrence, the best book you’ll read next year (Sure, I’m biassed, but it’s true.) is four months from release. As that date nears, my mind likes to work through and recall all the writing that led to this book. From the first time I dictated a Berenstain Bears fan-fic at seven years old (Yes, that did happen.) to a teacher’s aid who wrote it with a smile to the last edit of Terrence thirty years later.

I don’t remember everyone who loved my writing in that time. Which is unfortunate. But I remember each and every person who ever said to me, in not so many words, You’re not gonna make any money writing, and the like. I recall how angry this sentiment made me at first, before something my grandfather said to me when I was young resurfaced in my crowded mind: “If you write something, and you love it, and you do the best you can, that’s all you can do.”

As much as I’d like to make certain What Death Taught Terrence will be a New York Times Bestseller, there’s no way to do this.

All I can do is hope you, Dear Reader, will give me one chance to tell you a story that matters to me deeply.

What Death Taught Terrence is available February 11th, 2020. It is now available for pre-order on Kindle and in hardcover. You will not be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

 

Terrence Is On His Way!!!!

Hi, everybody:

For the last little bit, I’ve been semi-regularly crowing to anyone who’ll listen about my upcoming book, What  Death Taught Terrence. Twelve years of work spent creating the truest piece of fiction I could manage.  (A lifetime of research before that.)

As an author of fiction, I want to dabble in truth. Hopefully I manage to do more than simply dabble. Doing this makes stories more real. Makes them easier for readers to fall into and to fall in love with.

Well, after twelve years, I have something now with which I genuinely hope you’ll fall in love.

What Death Taught Terrence is available for pre-order on Kindle now! (It will also be available for pre-order in a handsome hardcover edition soon.) But if you read via kindle, and you want a book you’ll never forget, you can pre-order Terrence now. You’ll meet him on February 11th, 2020! Here’s the link!

Happy reading!

My Front Cover Is HERE!

You guys…. You GUYS….

I am so proud to announce that the front cover for my upcoming novel, What Death Taught Terrence, is HERE… and I happen to think it’s beautiful. I’d love to hear your thoughts, readers! We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but everyone does it. Does this coer say buy and read me???

Please like the book’s page at http://www.facebook.com/whatdeathtaught

You will receive updates about the book and be THE FIRST to know of its upcoming release, likely in 2020. Terrence CAN’T WAIT to meet all of you!

For now… here it is… THE COVER!!!

 

Why You Should Think Of My New Book As Our New Book!

The day is new and still dark. My favorite writing time. The house quiet, its dogs (they really do own the house) not yet awake and barking at everything, yet nothing in particular, at the same time. I think about how I came to be a writer while I sit at the appliance that allows me the vocation. It happened in my childhood, before I knew what my life would be.It gave me a freedom nothing else could match before I ever fathomed being or felt trapped in my body.

Before I wrote, I read. In this regard, I am my mother’s son. I freely admit I don’t read as widely as she, but it is from her I garnered a love of words. We particularly loved The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, which we read together, about the battle of Gettysburg. If you haven’t read it, you should. His use of internal dialogue showed me how it was done and would be a part of the road map for my own style. I enjoyed Hemingway (“The Sun Also Rises” perfectly captures that time, that place, those bulls, those people) but always thought him a tad too spare with his prose. Richard Paul Evans, best known as the author of a short story turned novel (you can do that, if you have a publisher willing to be liberal in their typesetting) called The Christmas Box showed me that anyone with something to say could write a book that could touch people’s lives. That’s what I want to do, I told myself.  Mitch Albom showed me an author could write about God and spirituality without openly bowing to God or religion. My friend Jenny Milchman–author of such wonderful books as Cover Of Snow, Ruin Falls, and As Night Falls, suspenseful stories all–showed me how I could engage readers by talking to them and being kind and real. I had been afraid that no reader would attend a “book signing” of mine in the future, since I can’t physically sign books. When I have my signings, I will talk to each and every reader. Everyone has a story, and I will be interested to learn what, in their story, brought them to my book(s).

A book takes a long time to gestate. Even longer when you type it using two fingers, my preferred method. I considered several titles. In the end, I happily settled on Even God Makes Mistakes. The title is not a comment on religion as much as it is a statement about the character of God that I created. Although religion and I have never quite seen eye to eye; I will admit that.

Seven years after its initial keystrokes, my book is ready. It’s ready to be read, seen, enjoyed, discussed, understood. And its main character has the same cerebral palsy I do, something of which I am immensely proud,  because, in all the books I read, for all the years I’ve been reading, I have not come across a character that I could look at and say, “That guy could be me.”

But please don’t think that means it’s a book solely for people with palsy. Even God Makes Mistakes is a book for everyone. If you’re a reader, I want you to read it. If you’ve never sat down to take in a novel before, I want this to be your first. A writer’s purpose for writing anything is to communicate. I want to communicate with you. I want to show you something you’ve never seen before. I want you to read and tell your friends about that novel in which God is imperfect and the afterlife is just as much a journey as the life preceding it. And I hope you’ll get lost in the characters.

Though it hasn’t been published yet–so some might say this particular blog post might have been composed a tad early–I believe in it with everything in me. I believe the god or gods governing words wanted me to write it, and I hope my fingers have done it justice.

And I believe it isn’t just my new book. It’s ours. Because once a writer has finished composing, editing, and putting the finishing touches on his work, there comes a point when it is no longer his, when it ceases to belong to any one person but can be shared by everyone.

Come visit me to learn more about my upcoming novel. http://www.facebook.com/evengodmakesmistakes. Tell anyone you think might be interested! We are going to change the world, one reader at a time!

All I’ve Ever Wanted…

…is to be a published writer. An author. (Sometimes, that word can sound so exotic.) To behold my words in print. To know–and, in some cases, to get to see first-hand how my articulated thoughts on a page affect readers in a real and tangible way.

A couple weekends ago, with this goal very much in mind, my dad and I attended our very first writers’ conference. Seattle is a great town, with a fantastic literacy rate, but we are not the hub of literature, despite Amazon starting in a nearby garage. Since I can’t drive–and, if I’m being honest, I’d fear flying on my own, so I can’t just go to New York and pound the pavement looking for an agent–and I know enough not to cold-call them, this conference would be the best chance I’ve ever had to get in the room with an agent and demonstrate the passion I possess for a seven-year project that has bled the words from my writing veins, made me a better writer, and a stronger person.

The night before my agent-interview, I could barely sleep. I assume this is how an athlete must feel the night before The Big Game.

Five minutes. That’s all the time I had to showcase the most meaningful thing I’ve ever scribed (Really, I had ten minutes, because my dad, already agented, gave up his time with the agent, which followed mine, but everyone else only had five minutes, and that’s all I needed, anyway; not the point of the story). That morning, I awoke early and practiced my pitch. Imagine being in an elevator with an editor at Penguin or Random House (Yes, imagine it. It sounds amazing.). You’ve got thirty seconds to make them care about this thing you care about more than you’re willing to admit. That’s the pitch. I decided my book would be best described, genre-wise, as “secular spiritualism”. What is that?  Think about the novels of Mitch Albom. His stories often mention God or Heaven, but his characters are never overtly one religion or another, meaning that he–the author–is never trying to convince you one religion is the right religion. Secular spiritualism. It should be a thing, yes?

I sat down in front of the agent. I think I was shaking, but she might have thought that was just the palsy. Fine with me. I launched into my pitch. It went off without a hitch. (A poet just stole my keyboard for a second; sorry about that.) Then she said, “Is your book complete?”

Is your book complete? Such a simple question, whose answer is so complex that only the simplest reply can accurately convey it.

“Yes,” I said.

After seven years, countless words written, deleted, re-written, and re-deleted, after receiving several rejections whose gist boiled down to: Obviously, you wrote this book for people with cerebral palsy (My book’s main character has cerebral palsy, because I’d always wanted to read a book about someone like ME, and I never had) when my book is for anyone and everyone who likes to read, wishes to read something a little different, a little quirky, that holds some meaning; after all of the struggles and doubts, and hours spent fussing over one passage or another, it was liberating to make that announcement, even if it was to an agent who’d never seen me before in her life. Yes, ma’am, my novel is done. Complete at eighty-four thousand words, the longest piece I’ve ever written.

No, this agent didn’t take me on as a client. In fact, she took only a few days before passing on the project. But, unlike the overwhelming majority of rejections I’ve received, this was not a form letter. An I have decided to pass or I didn’t connect with the story.

She told me she liked my writing, and that my story was merely outside of her expertise.

So this post is a thank-you of sorts. To that agent–and to agents everywhere–who take the time (I realize not every agent can do it, but if you can it really does assist us writers) to offer constructive advice. One or two sentences might be all it takes to send that future best-selling author off in the right direction.

And, okay, I’ll grant you that not all of us can be best-selling authors. There are 100 best-sellers per year, and there are so many books published annually that to read them all would be the height of insanity. But every author who has something to say should be able to say it to the widest audience possible. Agents serve as gate-keepers to this audience. But who says the key needs to be made of gold? Sometimes, it’s as simple as a few fleeting moments.