About a year ago, I sat down at the computer with the idea to write another novel. Winter was coming on and I needed a project to keep me busy when it was too cold to get out. Today, 89,284 words later, I clicked on the little Amazon button that read Publish. Yes!
Many would say that a year is a long time to work on a novel no longer than that and I suppose that’s true. Some writers can put out a book of that size in a month or so. Not me. I work about three hours a day, just about every day. But beyond that, my eyes cross and my brain turns to mush. Long about noon, my thoughts run more along the lines of a light snack and a nap than continuing to pound away on a keyboard with these old, arthritic fingers.
Truth is, there are some days when the words and ideas flow better than others. I don’t know why. It could have something to do with my subject matter. My protagonist, Sheriff Lester P. Morrison, lives and works in a very small town making it a little difficult to come up with fresh and interesting story ideas. Many novels dealing with private investigators, detectives, street cops, or most any form of law enforcement takes place in a major metropolis of some kind. They cover every form of criminal there is; murderers, thieves, dope dealers, gangs, you name it. Poor old Lester has to make do with petty theft, speeders, and domestic squabbles unless I can dream up crimes that challenge him and his uncanny ability to handle the bad guys, no matter how sly or devious.
The idea for the new novel, El Fuegos, came to me one day when I was driving the countryside and spotted a huge—and somewhat creepy—stone building standing in the middle of open ground with nothing around but a few cows. Later, I learned it was a convent, a community of women devoted to religious worship. What would happen, I thought, if a group of men, possibly a military extremist group, were to use such a building as a base to train and recruit? But that wouldn’t work. Nothing illegal there. Okay, what about a smaller group, three or four men, Iraq or Afghanistan vets? Suppose those guys had an agenda of some kind. Suppose one of the men, the leader, was a big time racist that hated Hispanics and viewed the immigration numbers as a threat to America and vowed to do something about it. Yeah, that might work. Lester would have his hands full with a situation like that.
Twelve months later—Publish.