Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Fix: Behind the Music and an Excerpt

A month from now my first Burn Notice book, The Fix, will be released into the wide world. I'm already well into writing the second book and thinking about the third one, too. It has been an odd process for me for several reasons, not the least of which being that I am typically a pretty slow writer, tend to agonize over every word and have a micro manager's attention to detail as it relates to marketing, art and advertising. I've been spoiled in a way because with Simplify, for instance, my great publishers at OV Books actually listened to my rants and things worked really, really well. (And it should be noted: I am hoping to have good news shortly about my new collection of stories.) With The Fix, it was an entirely different experience. I wrote the book in about 70 days. I have no micromanaging tendencies concerning anything with the art or marketing, particularly since its hard to complain about television ads running on USA, a huge web presence on USA's site and assurances that the book will be in every store in the known universe. Unlike my previous books where I've toured the nation, I'm doing a limited amount of touring this time around -- I'll post the schedule shortly, but it's primarily in the west -- focusing mostly on mystery and crime book stores, which have always shown me a tremendous amount of support for my previous books, and festivals. The reality is that this book will probably sell itself. The other reality is that my ego won't allow me to stay home and hope that happens.

I would be lying if I said writing this book wasn't a challenge. It absolutely was. I've never written a traditional crime novel. Anyone who has read my work in the past will tell you that linear storytelling isn't exactly my calling card. Nor is having a narrator who is reliable. Of course I've written linear work in the past. And of course I've written reliable narrators in the past. But one thing I don't think I've ever written is a hero, even an ironic hero like Michael Westen. My characters tend to be pretty fucked up and of course Michael is fucked up in his own way, too, but not in the "he may have killed his wife and daughter" sort of way. The challenge for me was to convey him on the page in a way that made me enjoy writing him and also was true to Matt Nix's creation.

Which brings up another challenge: I had to remember to be funny. My tendency in writing fiction is the opposite of what I do here on this blog. And of course this blog isn't even really me -- it is some blog version of myself, some stylized version of my life and opinions (I don't say the word fucktard all that often, really) -- so if you pick up a book of mine looking for whatever is you find here, you're going to be disappointed. One of the more common things I hear when I meet people at book signings and such is, "I bought your book thinking it would be really funny. But this is really different. It's serious!" Which I guess is the hazard of keeping a blog. At any rate, I gave myself the freedom with The Fix to let go of some of my literary pretension, leaving that for the short fiction I wrote this year, and hopefully found a voice that would give readers what they want in terms of the humor of Burn Notice.

After the book comes out, I'll post some other interesting stuff about the book -- including a little bit about the Easter Eggs I put in the book, which will be part of a contest I'll run here for people who happen to be fans of the entire family of Goldberg siblings and can spot all of the allusions I've made to previous works by all of us -- including some stories about the actual writing of scenes and such (there is one notable scene that occurred while I was literally freezing to death in Vermont).

Until then, Penguin has posted a pretty extensive excerpt -- the entire first chapter -- here. The spacing is a little funky in places -- some of the dialog gets shoved together in odd ways -- but it will give you a nice flavor for the book.

(Crossposted from Tod's blog)

1 comment:

Maryelizabeth said...

Will you be revealing the Easter Eggs at your events, too?