Talking or writing about your new book is always unnerving for an author. Well, for this author, anyway. I can’t really speak for anyone else.

Back in November, fellow author Jay Lemming conducted an author interview with me for about 45 minutes. We spoke about a variety of topics, and it wasn’t until late in the interview that he asked about Whizzers, my next book.

It’s a funny thing: the more I talk (or write) about this project, the worse I feel about doing so. I’m not sure if that’s about “giving away my fire,” as they say. It could be that I feel better working on the book than discussing it.

There’s another possibility, though: this novel is so close to my heart, so emotional for me, that I feel unusually vulnerable discussing it. I think that would explain the feeling.

 

I Heard It Call My Name

 

The genesis of Whizzers actually goes all the way back to about the year 2000. I can’t say for sure, because I saved multiple copies as new documents. I knew it was going to be more than a short story—I had 20-30 pages—but that was it. I only had those 20-30 pages.

So it went for the next 15, 16 years. I had a writing career, and anyway, I also had another novel to complete: Miles of Files, which was about 2/3 finished. Unfortunately, I got hung up on a plot point with Miles, and kept going back through it over a period of years. And I mean years!

When I finally finished Miles of Files, I was so focused on putting out all three of my completed novels, I back-burnered Whizzers even more firmly. After all, I had maybe 60 pages by then, but no end game in sight. All I knew was that I had a publishing company to run, and Whizzers would have to wait.

 

It’s Not Just Business; It’s Personal

 

Naturally, there came a point where I had to get back to writing the novel. And though I already knew it was the most personal work I’ve ever done, I was surprised by how it evolved as I progressed from 30 pages to 130 pages.

I got sober in 1989, almost exactly 30 years ago. This novel delves into that in some fashion, as a fictional version of the author travels in time back to various eras, mainly to give comfort to others – who also happen to be alcoholics or addicts.

When I started writing the book, years ago, I had only a hazy idea of what this project entailed. Now that I’m right in the middle of it—and I mean fully in it, so that the world around me does not completely engage me like it normally would—I’m discovering a world within a world in my own psyche.

It’s semi-autobiographical, but more importantly, I think it’s the best work I’ve ever done. It’s spiritual, it’s emotional, it’s dramatic—and at times it’s terrifying. But no matter how it turns out, it’s still fiction in the end. I won’t die from writing it. And I’m excited to finish and publish it this year. I’m truly looking forward to sharing this story with the world.

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