What published author can forget their debut year? I certainly can’t. It wasn’t that long ago after all. 2007. Same year as JT, Toni & Rob, and only the year after Allison, Alex, & Cornelia. I remember the excitement I felt as the year switched from 2006 to 2007. Even though it would still be nearly six months before my book hit the stores, I felt amazing. And those six months? They went by so fast I’m still wondering what happened to them.
It’s true. There is no year like your debut year. You’re full of hopes and possibilities and dreams. That said the second year wasn’t so bad either. And this year, the year my third novel will be coming out, will be just as good. But that anticipation of…well…the unknown that you feel in your debut year can not be repeated.
So like any year, this year they’ll be a whole new crop of debut authors. And also like any year, some will do better than other, but as the year begins they are all gripped with the knowledge that they will soon achieve a dream that so many of us have had, and many still have. That of being a debut novelist. You’ll start hearing about these new books in all the usual places: on blogs, at conferences, in bookstores, from friends. And hopefully many will grab your attention.
My problem is my schedule has been pretty tight these days. I’m deep into writing my fourth book. Have been putting the finishing touches to SHADOW OF BETRAYAL (which is book 3 and – side note – will be titled THE UNWANTED in the UK and Australia.) Have been working on a project with ITW. And have been working on, when I can, my “secret” project that I have alluded to elsewhere, but am still not ready to share (sorry.) So my reading time has been severely hampered. I’ve sadly had to decline requests from a couple of people I had been hoping I could read and give them a blurb (sorry to them if their reading this.) Debut authors, mainly. But recently I found I had an unanticipated block of time open up. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to squeeze in an advanced copy of a book I had just received. One that I knew I had to read for reasons I'll explained in a moment.
The book is entitle BOULEVARD by Stephen Jay Schwartz, and won’t be out until September. Other than the fact I knew I really needed to read it, I had no idea if I would enjoy it. But let me just say this, BOULEVARD is a book you’re going to want to be looking for when it comes out. If you like well written stories, with deeply troubled anti-heroes, then you will love this book. It's dark, and very character driven. And it’s also a very unique take on the police drama. I can honestly say, it's a book that will haunt me for weeks to come…wait…that almost sounds like a blurb. I might have to copy that down and send it to him. But I don’t mean it as a blurb. I mean it as a sincere endorsement.
Okay, now of the part that’s going to answer the ‘why this book’ question, and probably will cause a few of you to take my endorsement with a grain of salt. I hope that last part isn’t true. I give my opinion freely without any bias.
See there could be bias….
Talk about a small world. The first I heard from Stephen that he had a book come out was about three weeks ago via an email he sent to me. The last time I heard from him before that was nearly 25 years ago. That’s right, we know each other. The funny thing is neither of us knew we both had dreams of one day being novelists. In fact, Stephen hadn’t even known that I’d been published until he was cruising around JT’s website and saw my name.
Stephen and I went to college together. We lived in the same dorm. We had the same major. We graduated the same year. We took classes together, went to the same parties, had the same circle of friends. And we were friends. Good friends. And then after college, like a lot of people do, we lost track of each other. I did try to find him once or twice…but you try to google Stephen Schwartz and see how many different people you come up with!
But the world of fiction, specifically the world of crime and thriller fiction has brought us back together. So not only is BOULEVARD his debut, it is also the vehicle that reconnect us. What a weird and incredible world this is. And I’m happy to say – because you’re always worried when you read a friend's book that it might suck and you’ll have to lie to them – that I don’t have to lie about Stephen’s work. It is first rate, and truly a surprise for a debut novel. Hopefully we’ll have him as a guest blogger here when we get closer to his release date, so you can all meet him then. In any case, keep an eye out for him. You won't be disappointed.
That’s my bizzaro story for this week. No music video today, due to issues beyond my control.
So what kind of weird reconnections have you experienced? Has the internet blown you mind that way? (I mean, I actually found the guy who was my best friend in kindergarden!)