Spy Chase is described as a “Contemporary Thriller.” What does “contemporary” really mean?
1. living or occurring at the same time.
“the event was recorded by a contemporary historian”
2. belonging to or occurring in the present.
“the tension and complexities of our contemporary society”
I really like the last definition of “the tension and complexities of our contemporary society”. Spy Chase is set in the present and even mentions (as part of the dialogue between Jak and his sister Nina) the election of Boris Johnson in Britain, and the impeachment of Donald Trump. Of course, Jak and Nina could also have discussed the breakup of the Royal Family, with the departure of Prince Harry and Meghan from “The Firm.” They don’t for two reasons. First, Harry and Meghan are not political leaders and, second, this detail about the royals would not add anything further to the plot. Or could they? (LOL).
Thriller #2 is underway! Following visits to Seattle, Croatia and Gibraltar, and a few lesser-known locations, I am pleased to announce that I have started work on my second thriller. Some readers have asked if it is a sequel to Spy Chase. No.
All I can give away at this point is that it does involve international espionage, but the use of very modern technology to thwart global systems. Actually, the plot has been in gestation for some time and the site visits were critical to unwrapping the details. Oh, and the new thriller does have a name. More on this second novel soon!
You find an interesting book on the shelves and, after a glance at the front cover, flip it over to get more in-depth information on the back. For Spy Chase, this has been a work-in-progress. The goal was a brief ‘synopsis’ to attract readers, but also to highlight the excellent review – now standing out in a different color and with italics. Is this selfish promotion? Probably, but what counts for me, as the author, is when I get such encouraging feedback from readers. Last week, a friend (who loves her books) raved about Spy Chase and how she loved the mix of detail and the fact that she couldn’t put it down. This is a common theme and my goal was to include a review on the rear cover that conveyed this kind of reader-reaction.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
“The Mystery of the Iron Mask,” sold 11,000 copies, but even though it the title clearly identified it as a mystery, no one cared much about an iron mask. But when the title was changed to “The Mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask,” it sold 30,000 copies. Of course, we now know it as “Man in the Iron Mask”.
So, what has happened to my book title “3 Wise Men”? It goes like this. My wife and I were driving out of town when she asked, “I was thinking …” I knew then that something major was on the horizon. “I was thinking … why don’t you change the title of your book?”
I replied that I had been recently thinking about that as well. So, we spent the weekend with friends and trying to come up with a new title that better described the plot and tension of ‘3 Wise Men’. Finally, I came up with ‘Spy Chase’. This title was more direct that the earlier one, and less religious too, especially around Christmas time! I was even more surprised that there was no other book title with the same name (although there is one called ‘The Spy Chase’). Not that it really matters, as book titles are not copyrighted.
Finally, I revised the cover (and am still working on a few minor adjustments to the new one) and used the new title as an opportunity to re-edit some of the manuscript before reformatting for the new release.
I hope that you, the reader, also enjoy the new title and new content in SPY CHASE!
Tension can mount in surprising ways when you discover that you have been taken captive. It happens in SPY CHASE in Chapter 43, when Louie burst into song; a classic French tune. He sings a poor rendition, but this only highlights the jibes he directs at his new passenger as they navigate twisted mountain roads towards St Paul de Vence – an old medieval hilltop town on the French Riviera. Louie’s antics add to the mounting tension. I hope you enjoy the song, and the rough ride, as much as Louie did:
Just in from Jerry D. in Florida: “I just finished your novel! Thanks for sending it along! What’s not to like? Tech, spy craft, maths, sex, guns, exotic locales, adventure, dark and ancient secrets, weapons of war, plot twists and turns, and more!”
Thanks for your comments Jerry, and even more for your support and enthusiasm over the years. [Jerry has been such a great friend and showed me and my family wonderful hospitality when we stayed in the USA.]
And, on a side note, the following was added to the 5-star review on Amazon – “You won’t believe it until you read it – and I wouldn’t read it alone!”
I was speaking with my accountant about my book – in the hope that he would be as excited as me about the $$$ signs that would follow. “Oh, it seems that everyone is writing a book these days!” was his response. My hopes were dashed. “Yes,” he continued, “I have lots of clients who are claiming expenses for their books.” Then he rattled off a list of names, including some that I knew. My lawyer was just publishing his second novel and a teaching colleague was editing his. And here I was, battling to get the plot sorted for my own new novel. Alas, I put my despondency down to “writers’ envy” – a condition where an author is overwhelmed by writers more prolific and successful than themselves. “Stop it!” I told myself, “There is no point in comparing yourself with others. Just stick to the task and enjoy the pleasure of writing in the way, and with the pace, that you want to.” It was good advice for myself!
The following graph is a summary of recent visitors to this blog.
I could not help thinking that the rises and falls are similar to the intentional (or unintentional) rising and falling of tension in a thriller like 3 WISE MEN. For some, a sudden rise in tension – for example, the unexpected death of a character – is too much, and they prefer a more gentle building of tension. The steeper the graph, the more rapid the rise in the number of viewers on this blog. Peaks often correspond with holiday periods – a time when readers have more time to indulge in blogging. The mathematical significance of this graph would not be lost on our protagonist – Jak Colins! As a writer of thrillers, I am acutely aware of the need for the peaks and troughs in the plot. After all, I do want readers to be glued to the text and not easily able to put the book down. On the other hand, I know it is important to establish characters and event – something that might look like the trough in the graph above. For me, I need to work hard to do this characterization in a style that still engages, and a technique I have found useful is the use of humor. Let’s have a brief look at this in my next post.