This blog is devoted to remembrances and essays on general topics, including literature and writing. It has evolved over time, and some older posts on this site might reflect a different perspective and purpose.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

What the Future Holds for Quill Gordon

            Like the first blossoms that herald the advent of spring, signs are appearing that my mystery novel, The McHenry Inheritance, is gradually beginning to develop a readership beyond my circle of friends and acquaintances.
            This past Saturday I offered the book free as a promotion on Kindle, and it moved 18 percent more e-copies than were downloaded in my March Saturday promotion. Paid sales have increased every month this year, and as I write this, it appears that April will continue that trend. In the past three weeks, three fresh reviews were posted on Kindle, bringing the total number to ten, all legit. Seven of the reviews gave the book 5 stars, two gave it 4 stars, and one gave it 3 stars. And on top of all that, I just got a free plug from the alumni magazine at my alma mater, UC-Santa Cruz.
            Friday night, I finished the first draft of the first chapter of the next book, working title, Wash Her Guilt Away, which I hope to have published by the end of this year. It’s all beginning to prompt some thoughts about the future of Quill Gordon, my lead character.

The Perpetual Vacation

            When I wrote this book, I did it with a running series in mind, and without giving too much away, I can say that by the end of The McHenry Inheritance, Gordon has decided he’s made enough money in the stock market that he doesn’t need to keep his day job any more. That means he can go fly-fishing whenever he wants, and each fishing trip is an adventure (or mystery) waiting to happen.
            Quite a few people have asked if I’m working on a sequel. If you’ve read the first book, you’ll understand the question; if you haven’t, you will when you do read it. But a sequel generally suggests the same characters in the same place or places, and that’s not happening in the second book.
            In the next book, the fishing trip is to a place a couple of hundred miles away from the setting of The McHenry Inheritance. It’s a different location, with a different feel, a different type of story, and different characters. Gordon is the only repeat personality; he even has a different, and more edgy, fishing buddy than in the first book, and my plan is to switch off the two sidekicks in future novels, depending on which one suits the tone of the particular book.

Fly-Fishing in San Francisco?

            From the very beginning, it was never my intent to have Gordon keep coming back to the same place, as Martha Grimes’ Superintendent Jury does to Long Piddleton, or Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache does to Three Pines. Aside from Gordon and his sidekicks, the places and characters will generally change from book to book.
            That doesn’t mean, of course, that Gordon couldn’t return to Summit County, scene of the action in The McHenry Inheritance, or that one or more characters from a previous book couldn’t make an appearance or play a part in a subsequent one. All I’m saying is I want Gordon’s vacations to be without too much baggage so that I have maximum freedom to create new and interesting situations for him.
            It’s even possible, since Gordon lives in San Francisco, that I might set a future book in The City, with fly-fishing scenes introduced through flashbacks. I don’t have a story to fit that concept yet, but what I’m saying is that readers should feel that anything could happen in a Quill Gordon mystery. Keep reading, or you might miss it.