While a lot of authors say they’re not in the book they’ve written—and they’re not lying—I’m going to own up to something here. The teacher character in my novel Witness to Death is me.
Well, at least one version of me.
You see, one of the moments in my life that helped move Witness to Death along was a break-up. One of those out-of-nowhere, soul destroying, maybe-I-should-take-a-Valium-or-at-least-drink-more-beer break-ups. I was down and out, didn’t want to write, didn’t know what to write about. You know the feeling. Everyone does.
At the time, I was probably five or six chapters into the first draft of Witness. And the book just stalled out. The original concept for the novel was the same, but the tone I’d envisioned was different. Witness was supposed to be a lighthearted spy romp like pretty much any movie starring Cary Grant. There was going to be explosions, action, and lots of jokes.
But after said break-up, my head and heart weren’t in that type of mood.
So I wrote in a break-up, and the book took a turn. I wrote in a personal tragedy or two and the book got even darker. And soon enough, I had a completely different beast on my hands. I was tapping parts of my brain that I hadn’t worked with in a long time. Reliving memories that scratched at my soul and flew from my fingers on to the page. Part of myself is in this book.
The old me.
Because a funny thing happened. As I was finishing up the first draft, I met the woman who’d become my wife. I was happy again… really happy. But it was time to revise.
And my soul didn’t want to revise it the same way. It wanted to get the book back to its fun-loving beginnings. But that couldn’t happen. I had to stay dark. So be warned. This book is my darkest yet. There’s explosions, torture, and fist fights. At the same time there’s angst and desperation. There are people trying to find happiness and success, but just missing out by a hair.
It’s a tragedy.
But at the same time, seeing that part of my soul helped me gain perspective. It helped me appreciate my happy, joking side. It helped me get past the break-up and allowed me to meet my wife.
I think I owe this book more than I give it credit for. Writing is my therapy. And this book helped me a ton. Out of fictional tragedy came personal happiness.
I like that…
I’ll be reviewing Witness to Death tomorrow, but in the meantime be sure to pick up a copy for only $0.99. Also check out Dave’s previous guest post, It’s No Sin to Love a Kindle.