Spending your day coming up with ideas for new novels, it’s too easy to run away with yourself. That’s my excuse for having to put two projects that I’d spent months developing, and to which I had attached such high hopes, on hold.
Although the motive of a ‘diversification away from personal journeys’ that was the theme of my first four novels, seemed reasonable enough in theory, the crime series surrounding an untypical undercover detective with film star looks and expensive tastes to match, who had more in common with the dysfunctional nature of his adversaries than was good for him, was probably a step too far.
The reason now seems obvious as often happens after the horse has bolted.
The main character, let’s for the sake of argument call him Jake, which actually happens to be his name, is a construct, in so far as he’s not based on anyone whom I’ve known, or portrays any characteristics to which I can necessarily relate to, personally.
Consequently, I found I had concentrated more on the first intricate plot surrounding a femme fatale with two distinctive personas, who gave the run around to those trying to identify the true culprit, at the expense of the main character. Not the recipe for success you may say, when Jake was supposed to the focal point of several future episodes?
The other magnum opus was of a different ilk entirely, but no less challenging. After a lifetime of writing, or more accurately writing that changed my life, I thought it was time to introduce ‘Norman’ and to share his experience of tracing his ancestors in order to establish whether there was a genetic predisposition to his underachievement. Rather more to it than the thin illustrated book, I had envisaged, it now seems that a much more substantial work is warranted to do Norman the full justice he deserves.
So, with half the year already gone but still with the aim of having a new work see the light of day before the end 2021, I decided to revert to the relative safety of a sequel to my second novel, Blue Skies Over Berlin, which had been on the blocks for a while. A different story surrounding a strong protagonist, again female, seemed familiar territory, what could possibly go amiss? I asked myself until I belatedly realised that there has to be a third book to bring the series to a conclusion, which involved a completely new ending and quite a bit of extra character development. Knocked off course again, perhaps, but matched with a stubborn resolve to keep at it.
On reflection, maybe I’m more like Norman than I’d anticipated.
John Steinberg ©2021