Thursday, April 20, 2023

A Hiatus (Of Sorts)


The new Nick Forte novel, Off the Books, is finished, which is good because April is a busy month.

·       The 13th was Noir at the Bar at Yonder in Hillsborough NC.

·       Jury duty on the 17th.

·       My first Noir at the Bar at Shade in NYC is this Sunday.

·       Next weekend The Beloved Spouse™ and I will be at Malice Domestic.

·       May 2 (might as well be April) I have oral surgery.


May and June are lightly scheduled, but I have a larger dilemma: what to write next? The contenders are:

·       Another Forte novel (or two).

·       A Western. (Seriously. I mean it this time.)

·       A comic novel with three new characters I want to try out.

·       The three-book arc to conclude the Penns River series.


All will take research and what movie people call “development.” I had a great time a few years ago dedicating the summer to Western research in multiple forms, and this spring and summer I intend to do the same, but for all of the above books. The one for which a well-formed outline comes together quickest will be the first I write.


It will not be a Penns River book. Those three deal with elements I’ve not done much with in the series; significant research is required if I am to do them justice. I also plan to outline the arc of all three together, then flesh out each book as its time comes.


Each of the other three (four if both Forte ideas come together) has elements that will be at least somewhat new to me.


·       Forte continues to be more willing to find his own forms of justice, as will be seen in Off the Books. He won’t have as much of a support group and his attitude will be more Ray Donovan than Philip Marlowe.

·       The Western will be a novel in stories, positioned as the lost “notes” from a frontiersman’s memoir, “as told to” a writer. Much of it will be historically based, albeit loosely, and I need not only to dig deeper into the relevant history to get it right, but also to see which parts fit what I want Walter Ferguson to do.

·       The comic effort draws inspiration from Terriers, Shane Black and Guy Ritchie films, and Hap and Leonard, with a little Westlake and Butch Cassidy thrown in. Retired cop Pete and his old high school buddy and retired Marine Gunny will get into some serious shit with the girl of their pubescent dreams, Louise. I’ve always had humor in my books – I can’t help myself – but this will be the first time I set out to make humor the primary element.


Lots of reading and movie watching are in store, even more than the Summer of Western Research™, because, being retired now, I have a lot more time in which to indulge myself. I’m willing to wait until after the C3 conference in September before I resume actual writing, but that’s not set in stone. As I said above, if a story comes together sooner, I’ll jump right on it.


Life is good.

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