I just signed a three-book deal to write original novels based on the show Burn Notice for Penguin. How this came about is how many things come about when you're not expecting them -- your brother calls you from a scratchy phone in Germany and says, "Hey, do you like the show Burn Notice?" You reply, "Yeah, I love it. It's like an Elmore Leonard novel crossed with Steven Soderbergh's direction and a dash of Albert Brooks' mother issues for good measure. Why?" And then twenty minutes later you're on the phone with your agent, 36 hours later you're making demands of the publisher, 72 hours later you're sitting down with Matt Nix, who is your oldest and dearest friend's fraternity big brother, and who grew up down the street from you in Palm Springs and who has several of the same childhood friends as you, and also wonders how that very quiet, but very large, kid brother of Jason Homme became Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and who you've known via emails for years, but never really in person, and you're discussing the show he created, Burn Notice, and then, about 100 hours later, you're figuring out just how on Earth you're going to meet your first deadline -- February -- without getting hooked on crank (again).
It's a unique opportunity for me sales-wise. When you write literary fiction, as I sort of do, it's not unusual to count sales in 4 digits as a success. And while I've earned a good reputation critically (I mean, you know, after Fake Liar Cheat...) for my work, I've never been a huge seller and this series of books will open me up to an audience that, heretofore, did not exist to me. I've always straddled the line between crime fiction and literary fiction, the result being that no one is quite sure where to shelve my books. Now I'll have these crime novels and the literary fiction, too. Plus, I love the show, it's fun to be working with Matt, and I now have a good (tax deductible) reason to go to Miami.
The second thing, and equally exciting thing, is that I finished my new short story collection this week (which I think will be called Where You Lived...but it could be called The Salt...or...The Models...or, well, I have 12 choices) and, after Thanksgiving, it will go out into the world to find a happy home. I think I know where I'd like that home to be, but it should be interesting to see where it all ends up. All I know for certain is that by the end of 2009, I'll have four new books out...which makes me a little sick to my stomach...
From Kevin J. Anderson, on the exciting life of a tie-in writer... ---------------- Climbing out of the black hole and seeing light and catching my breath again.
At the end of July I was in San Diego for Comic Con International to ramp up for the release of THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON. On August 3, I left for three weeks of book signings for SANDWORMS OF DUNE. Starting in Seattle, Brian Herbert and I went to Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Livermore, Half Moon Bay, Pasadena, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The book debuted at #4 on the New York Times, selling 20% better than any of our previous Dune novels. One morning Brian and I got up at 4 AM and we each did 15 call-in radio interviews on drive-time programs by 7 AM. Another day, we got to our hotel at 9:30 PM. I went to bed, and got up again at 1:30 AM to make it to an LA television studio by 3:00 AM to do 18 satellite TV interviews by 8:30 AM, got back to the hotel for a one-hour nap before leaving for a booksellers¹ lunch, after which we drove 3 hours down to San Diego, grabbed a quick dinner, did a nighttime signing which ended at 9 PM, then we drove back to our hotel in LA and arrived by 11:30 PM.
Brian took a train back home to Seattle the next morning, while Rebecca and I stayed in LA to help teach the Writers of the Future workshop and present the awards. We came home, had a few days to do laundry, then we were off to DragonCon in Atlanta for Labor Day weekend. Afterward we had three days at home before leaving for a month in Australia and New Zealand to tour for METAL SWARM. We did signings and interviews in Christchurch and Auckland, NZ, then flew to Brisbane, Australia, to be guests at the Brisbane Writers Festival, then flew to Perth for school talks, library talks, and book signings, then more signings in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and then to Canberra for the ConFlux science fiction convention. The last few days I came down with a terrible cold and full-blown laryngitis, so Rebecca had to do most of my panels and workshops with me gasping a few comments from the sidelines. It was a lot of work, but while I was there METAL SWARM was the #1 bestselling SF/F book in Australia and SANDWORMS was #5.
I tried to recover from the cold/flu for two weeks at home, before HarperCollins sent me out for eleven days to promote THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON -- Denver, Salt Lake City/Provo, then Reno (to be guest speaker at the National School Librarians¹ Conference), then Phoenix, Madison, Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Every day, my basic routine was to get up at 6 AM, get to the airport, fly somewhere, land at around 11:00 AM, get my luggage, meet the driver/escort, grab lunch (usually a Subway sandwich or something equally fast), go around to 8-13 bookstores to do drop-by signings, get to my hotel at about 4, check e-mail, take a shower, change clothes, get picked up at 6 for my 7 PM signing, go out to dinner afterward at around 8:30, get back to the hotel room again by about 10 and go to sleep, then get up the next morning and start it all over again.
And throughout all this I was doing a full-fledged rewrite on my 750-page final Seven Suns novel, which I delivered four days ago.
Now, I sold a lot of books, met a lot of fans, got a lot of media coverage. But this was completely exhausting, and I have not yet fully recovered from the cold/flu I got in Australia six weeks ago. The only thing worse than having a frantic book-signing tour is NOT having any tour, so I¹m not complaining. I missed seeing a lot of friends as I raced through town on overdrive, but I just didn¹t have any time or opportunity for socializing. And I thought writers were supposed to be reclusive...