A friend asked, “What took so long to get the second Wade Stuart novel out?” and the answer is that it wasn’t intended that way. I started writing A Simple Murder almost as soon as I finished Enemy Within, which coincided with me leaving the Marine Corps. So, that would be 1996-97. At least that’s when I tried to start it — had to start over a couple of times.
But it took about two years to write. I found I had to do more research than anticipated, I moved from Mississippi to Virginia, had a busy job, small kids, etc. But I managed to finish it up around 1999, about the same time Enemy Within was actually published. And when I did finish, I felt like I had a pretty solid story, one that might grab the attention of an agent in New York. So, rather than pitch the manuscript to Salvo Press (publisher of Enemy Within), I decided to make another run at New York. In early 2001, after countless rejections, one agent called me and asked to see the entire manuscipt. She and I worked together on it over the next few months, refining, correcting, etc.
Then Sept. 11 came. The agent, whose office was in Mid-town, naturally was off the net for a few weeks following the attacks. And, neither of us was really concentrating too much on a novel manuscript. When we finally reestablished contact, we talked through the manuscript again, but this time she felt she would have a very difficult time selling it — there is a scene in the book that, as she said at the time, would be “too much for people digest anymore.” I countered — though, honestly, without too much conviction — that the scene wasn’t the same thing plus I’d actually conceived of it two years prior — but she politely (and, truth be known, understandably at the time) decided to drop the project.
I made a few more attempts at agents, but decided to let the story sit for a while. I had recently spent a lot of time studying the craft of writing rather than writing, and I was ready to try something different. So, for the next couple of years, I focused more on learning than writing.
Eventually, I started another story, and let A Simple Murder sit. And sit. Meanwhile, I finished a third manuscript. I was exclusively focused on that until a good friend (and writer) told me that he, after years of being published by big-name New York houses (yet growing frustrated with the continuing demise of the industry of publishing), decided to put his newest novel out via Kindle.
I was of course familiar with Kindle — I’d heard of it anyway, but hadn’t really taken a look at the ins and outs of it. And I agreed that the state of publishing today, especially for “new” fiction writers, is dismal. That’s when it occurred to me that I had a completed manuscript ready to go — all I needed was an outlet.
After several discussions with my friend and the publishers at Salvo Press (which has made its own endroads into e-book publishing), I decided to give it a shot.
That shot starts Monday. Hope you enjoy it.