Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cold in the Light

Above is the banner that my girlfriend helped me develop to advertise my novel, Cold in the Light. I thought it had a nice catch phrase, "learn what it means to fear the dark, and the light." It took me four years from start to finish to complete that novel. I didn't work on it every day. I'm a full-time college teacher and researcher so there were often days or weeks when I could not get to it. There were also a lot of days where I could do only a paragraph or two. I deliberately chose to write the book in relatively short scenes because I could often finish a scene in a few days of writing and then I didn't get lost if I had to take a break to grade tests. Even so, I did multiple rewrites to try and get it where I wanted it.

I remember when I finished Cold in the Light. I was happy, and I was proud of it. I thought it was a pretty damn good book. It took me a while to sell it, though, and I finally went with a relatively small press. The three agents who looked at the work first didn't understand it. Two of them thought it had too much Science Fiction in it for them. The third thought my violent scenes were gratuitous. The science fiction elements are actually pretty minimal; the book is a horror/thriller. And as for the violence, well 1) horror has violence in it, and 2) I was writing in part about a group of beings for whom the ability to deal violence is the main focus of their lives. I still think I succeeded, and those who have read the book have largely agreed. You can find their comments around the net, such as at Amazon,at the publisher's site, (Invisible College Press), and other places. The problem is, not enough folks have read it.

Writers often speak of their books as if they were their children. I think of Cold in the Light as my underachieving son. I thought I'd given him all the preparation I could before I turned him loose in the world, but the world didn't appreciate him like I did. The world didn't recognize his talent. But I love him anyway and I still think he has what it takes to succeed. I just think he needs to catch a break.

Or maybe I'm just fooling myself.


Bret Funk said...

If you need an endorsement, Charles, you have mine. Yours was the first book I read from a unknown small press author (like me!), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also know what you mean about writers considering their work as children, though in my case, Path of Glory was the frightened young boy I pushed into the world a little too early. At the time I was too excited by the thrill of having completed a book that I failed to see how a little more nurturing could have made it a lot better. Now, with the wisdom of an extra half decade writing, the flaws flash from the pages like strobe lights.

The take home lesson for new writers: Once you're convinced your writing is good, never look at it again. If you do, you'll probably be disappointed.

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks for the support, Bret.