On November 8, 2018, Friesen Press asked me what my concept of success is. Here is how I answered:
"Whether or not it is a best seller does not necessarily define success, although that of course would be great. If that doesn't happen, having a niche of readers that enjoy my work would be fantastic. It would also be a great feeling to walk into my local bookstore and see my book on the shelf along with the great authors that I enjoy reading."
Goal accomplished! Recently seen at Calgary bookstores. Revoked is now available at 8 indigo and Chapters stores in the Calgary area.
Indigo - Cross Iron Mills
Chapters - Chinook Centre
One would think that picking names for your novel's characters is not a complicated process. You wing it, names coming out of your imagination or the top of your head in the moment. For my novel "Revoked" however a large number of my characters started life with different names;
Lily Maloney became Jasmine (Jazz) Breslow;
Zachary Daniels became Zac Warren;
Jacob Walsh became Jacob Cache;
Jessie McKenzie became Danny McKenzie;
And there were others. If I tried to explain why I changed some of the character names after the first two or three drafts, I couldn't do it. It just turned out that way. There is one prominent exception however; the main protagonist in "Revoked" was changed from Brandon Clay into Cam Clay for a very good reason.
Cam Clay, my tortured and flawed police detective was named after my nephew Cameron Pachan. Although there are very few similarities between the two Cam's, the name change was largely done as a tribute. During the early stages of writing and planning "Revoked", Cam Pachan was battling through a leukemia diagnosis as a very brave and courageous 17 year old man.
If "Revoked" becomes a series, I hope that Cam Clay become synonymous with bravery and courage much as Cam Pachan has done in his life; and takes his place among my all-time favorites like Harry Bosch (Connelly), Alan Banks (Robinson), Logan MacRae (MacBride), and John Rebus (Rankin).
For my first blog post I wanted to talk a little about the journey I have been on that culminated in achieving a life long goal of publishing my first novel "Revoked". The journey started one Christmas morning many years ago when I received my first typewriter.
In some ways, publishing a novel is like raising a child. You nurture, edit, re-write, love, and coddle as much as you can; but then the day comes when your novel/child is ready to get out there on his, her, or its own.
It really started in 2008 when I took a course entitled "Writing for Children and Teenagers" from the Institute of Children's Literature and this ultimately led me to take another course - "Shape, Write, and Sell Your Novel" from the LongRidge Writers Group. These courses taught me so much about the craft of writing. When I look back at where I started and where I am now, there is no comparison.
"Revoked" did not come easy however, and it was indeed a long journey. Chapter 1 was written in 2012 and and my final draft was completed in March, 2017. There were many stops and starts, difficult moments, almost ready to quit moments, but I persevered. It was in early 2016 when I finally told myself that I could do this, and the last year of the process was the most enjoyable. There were moments when I wrote a passage or paragraph that I particularly enjoyed, when my writing made me smile or laugh, or cringe... I knew I was on the right track.
When I saw my book cover in the publication cue at Friesen Press it was a great moment. On December 28, 2017 "Revoked" was published and sent out into the world. To see my book on bookstore websites like Friesen Press, Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, not to mention it being available on Kindle, Kobo, Itunes, and many others was a very satisfying moment. To know I have achieved a lifetime goal was exhilarating.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has purchased or plans to purchase and read "Revoked". Future blogs will discuss themes of the book, the writing process, and the occasional journey into public and private issues. Stay tuned.