Book you could have written so much better
The first book of the fantasy series, The Spaces Between. While it’s gotten some great reviews and has been through many rounds of editing, polishing, fixing, it’s the one where I look back and realize I may have pulled the trigger too early. Ah, the perils of self-publishing: It’s become too easy to hit “publish.” I feel that the more I read, and the more I write, the better the craft gets; but if I repackage the trilogy, the first book will get another treatment to make it shine.
Was there a scene that you didn’t add or you removed?
Prologues and epilogues. There was a scene that featured the so-called Hill of Vaws, where the three kings later built a chapel (according to the ancient text Historia Trium Regum.) While interesting, beta readers were confused by both of these scenes, and so I cut them. However, this hill will appear in the follow up to the story.
As a reader, I’m not always a big fan of prologues, but for some reason I’m tempted to write them into my books. If they are short enough (not the 100-page prologues of Robert Jordan!) and set up the book well, I think they can be effective. Although, as a writer, it is important to answer any questions from the epilogue, or provide details to whatever teaser you left there.
Do you already know what to write next?
The next projects include stories about Zacchaeus, perhaps tales from the shepherds’ point of view during the Nativity. I also have a series of silly fiction that revolve around the French philosopher Voltaire. There will be at least one more book planned in this world. However, I have so many ideas for short stories and poetry, that I am constantly working on something, and sending out to various online/print magazines.
What was the hardest part for you when working on your book?
It was hard to keep the book within a certain length. There is so much that could have been told about the wise men, so much more detail on the landscape (think of Zane Grey’s multiple-page narrative descriptions of terrain), and even more details about Jerusalem and Herod. However, I wanted to create a work that could be read during the Christmas/Advent season and not consume half a year.
Another “feature” was the text of the printed version. It is larger type face, which as has received the praises of many readers, and the disdain of others. For those who prefer smaller font, I understand the frustration, but this book is targeted to such a large general audience that I wanted to be fair to everyone.
Movie you would like to see remade?
I thoroughly enjoyed Gerard Depardieu in The Count of Monte Cristo (all 7 hours!), and it is by far the best adaptation. That said, I did not like the ending, since it did not match the book. Turning a 1300-page book into a movie is a monstrous task, if you want to be remotely true to the original story. However, I would to see the attempt made. I’d sit through 14 hours if the story could be thoughtfully retold on the screen. Since it is by far my favorite book of all time, it would be a thrill to see it fully fleshed out.
Are you an island unto yourself in your writing, or does the input of critique partners push you along?
I used to write in a vacuum and produced stuff that wasn’t that good, to be honest. Before it went to my editor, The Spaces Between was one of many stories that never saw another set of eyes. As much as I’d like to think that I can create masterpieces without critique or feedback, that isn’t reality. Now, especially with Following Yonder Starand its follow-up, The Legacy of the Fourth King, I share the first drafts with others; otherwise, there are so many little things (or major plot holes!) that are missed. And, as mentioned before, it’s too easy to hit “publish” these days, and send garbage out into the ether.
What was the best advice you were given…
“Don’t quit your day job!”