Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Full Speed Ahead!

By Michael Seese

A few posts back, I described how agent Janet Reid tempted me (well, any of her blog followers) into a new, foolhardy adventure: writing a book about France in order to enter it in the American Library in Paris Book Award.

Why foolhardy? Because I need to send them an actual, real book. By June 1.


Let me say something about writing, and me. 

When an idea "just comes" to me, it's easy. But coming up with an idea is hard

So I thought...

And thought...

And thought...


I recognized that I was pressing to come up with something "French." I easily could have concocted a love story or a thriller and simply set it in Paris. For that matter, I could have taken Nightmares -- which is set in Cleveland, based on the locations I mention, though "Cleveland" is never named -- and changed the landmarks. But that seemed like cheating.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, an idea came. I scribbled down some notes. By the time I went to bed, I had just over 600 words, representing the first and last chapters. Here is a little taste.

    Ba-ba-ba-bummmmmm. Ba-ba-ba-bummmmmm. 
    The eight notes, known throughout the civilized world, but known only for what they purported to be rather than what they truly were, rained across the sky. A single tear of joy traced down his cheek and disappeared into his now-grey beard.
    “Ils sont arriv├ęs. They’re here. It is time,” he wheezed.
    He struggled to stand, to raise himself from the chair, so that he might make his way over to the window to see, to see it with his own eyes.
    “Will the docking be successful? Will they latch? I hope I understood the design specifications, interpreted them correctly,” he said aloud.
Converting the measurements from their system to newly adopted metric standards of his country had presented one of his greatest challenges.
    He collapsed back into the chair. His 91-year-old body had grown too weak, too feeble. So he would not be witness to the crowning achievement of his life’s work. But he had succeeded. He knew he had.

I'm going to try to balance writing this -- after all, I am on a deadline -- with my normal stuff, such as Castle reviews. I'd hate to give up the latter. But every minute spent fawning over a TV show is a minute not spent writing about France.

Stay tuned...


  1. Interesting. Of course, isn't the beginning of this piece Beethoven? And isn't he German? Just wondering... :)

  2. You are correct on both counts. I have to say, I'm THRILLED you guessed Beethoven (the Fifth Symphony). I don't "reveal" to the main character what piece it is until later in the book; so it's great that the reader can tell. And, it's not about Beethoven; he didn't live to 91.

  3. Oh, I didn't think the CHARACTER was Beethoven, just that he's referenced in a strange sort of way. Just wanted to clear that up for you.