Ten minutes ago—at eight minutes after midnight on January 21, 2013, the day on which Barack Obama will be inaugurated for the second time as President of the United States—I typed the words THE END on my Milan Jacovic manuscript, “Dead Money.”
It’s a moment of relief, of course. I began writing this book some time in March of 2012. I thought I’d finish it more quickly than I have, but many things got in the way, mostly positive. Life-changing, exhilarating, exciting, and of course time-consuming events and decisions shouldered their way into my world and slowed down my writing a bit. Now, though, I am DONE. Feels wonderful.
Not really done, to tell the truth. Much editing and changing a word or phrase awaits me, whether I like it or not. There is ONE character in the book whose name must be changed—and a contest is being run to decide what the name change will be. And by the way, the “character” is a DOG. In “Dead Money” I stuck him with a TERRIBLE dog’s name, and at the end of the book I’ll change it to something much nicer—and Milan will be keeping it! In the meantime I’m submitting the manuscript to Gray and Company Publishers with the words INSERT DOG NAME HERE wherever necessary. Work never ends….
I’d hope EVERYONE learns something new each day. What I’ve learned from my last three novels, “The Cleveland Creep,” “Whiskey Island,” and now “Dead Money,” is that I’ve drifted a little bit away from the classic Hammett-Chandler-Spillane-Parker private eye format, even without realizing it. My later books are now actually turning into NOVELS. Murder, rough guys, beautiful women, tougher than a ten-minute egg—sure, why not? That’s how I’ve made a living for the last quarter century. But I find myself writing more about the LIVES of Milan and those who surround him,too, even as I’m spooling out a murder mystery and hoping you’ll all wonder whodunnit, and to continue reading until the end so you can find out.
When I created my first book, “An Infinite Number of Monkeys,” back in 1987 and it won a major award, I foolishly believed that all I had to do was WRITE the damn things. I had no idea that publishing and marketing was half the battle. I’m still promoting my last book, “Whiskey Island,” and will continue to do so until “Dead Money” comes out; then I’ll be running all over the place promoting and marketing THAT. Thank heaven for the folks at Gray: David Gray (he’s the big shot, which is why it’s HIS name on the door), Jane Lassar, Chris Andrikanis and Rob Lucas, without whom I’d be stuck in the mud.
I’m not going to be able to take much time off, as I have the next book all written in my head. For those of you who read ”The Strange Death of Father Candy” in 2011, perhaps YOU were one of the more than fifty people who enjoyed the novel (NOT a Milan Jacovich mystery) and asked if I were going to bring the protagonist, Dominick Candiotti, back in another book. I’d written “Father Candy” as a stand-alone and had no plans to do a sequel—but after getting so many inquiries I started thinking about it and—I’m about to begin writing my next book (my TWENTY-NINTH! YIKES!) featuring Dominick, who is NOT a private eye like Milan, but a Vietnam vet, a guy who’s lived on revenge most of his life and here, with a new job, learns all about it. The tentative title: “SUBMARINE MAN.” Of course it’s a mystery/thriller, and no, it has nothing to do with the Navy. But I can barely WAIT to get started!
Wait with me, please. Enjoy “Dead Money” this spring and know that as you rad, I’m banging away on the next one. I love you all; it is you who’ve kept me bent over the keyboardall these years so I won’t have to go to work at Mickey D’s.