Meaning no disrespect to Peter, Paul, and the other wordsmiths of their time but my bible has come in at a back-breaking 856 pages. This kettle drum of mystery and intrigue is the longest and most detailed book I’ve ever written. It’s an around-the-world suspense thriller that took a year to write and kept me guessing as to its outcome until the very last page.
For several years now this edifice to an imagination run amok was lost in a pile of completed manuscripts desperately in need of some very good editing. Other writing projects such as my ‘Apache Death Wind’ trilogy and then the ‘Debris’ trilogy overshadowed its completion. Just about the time I thought I could venture back into that morass of foreign languages, country details, and a subliminal love story ‘Riot at Sage Corner’ captured my imagination. So, off I went in yet another direction; playwriting.
The solution to dealing with that heavy weight orphan came last fall when I submitted it as an unpublished manuscript to the Minneapolis Star Tribune for their serialized novel competition. It wasn’t chosen (for many reasons) not the least of which was that it wasn’t just based in Minnesota. While the story line starts in Saint Paul, it quickly leaves town and travels around the world. Two locations; Macchu Picchu and Angor Watt play prominent roles in the storyline.
It was Vida, my insightful editor, who suggested that she tackle the herculean task of reading, organizing, and then editing this momentous project. I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve long felt, as has my wife, that ‘Follow the Cobbler’ was one of my best works thus far. It certainly was a labor of love. I have a stack of reference files that if piled up could easily measure eleven inches in height.
For this mystery travelogue, I had to research old Saint Paul, Custer’s Last Stand, the San Francisco Bay area, Macchu Picchu, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Angor Watt, Rome, the Roman Coliseum, and Bethlehem.
In addition, I had to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the origins of the birth of Christ in addition to a hundred-thousand (a bit exaggerated) facts and details of my protagonists travels. I had to familiarize myself with Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Street view, various country maps, the Celtic religion, and its ancient texts.
My nebulous character called ‘the cobbler’ was a mystery right from the start. Even as its creator I wasn’t sure what it was that my protagonists were chasing around the world. I knew this thing; icon, person or spirit possessed magical powers and had a sinister intent. Was he the son of God, his half-brother or second cousin? I really didn’t know what it/he was until the very end of the story. Even I was surprised at my ending.
It’s also really two stories in one. First it is a suspense thriller that takes my readers around the world. It’s also a love affair between two totally opposite individuals who find commonality in their shared passion for finding the Cobbler and gradually for each other. Their love story as well as their pursuit of the Cobbler unfolded in front of me every time I opened their computer file.
Right now, editing is an ongoing pursuit with Vida pouring her energies into making sense of the trials and challenges facing my protagonists. Once that hurtle is passed then book design and printing will rear its dominant head. After that, marketing will once again present a formidable challenge for me.
Marketing aside, upon completion this literary colossus must compete for space inside my head alongside Club 210 and marketing my other products. It’s like a freight train a-comin’ round the proverbial bend and I can’t stop it.
Then what do I do?