Author James Hockenberry’s November 2016 Blog
Even though I’msentence-deep with my editor trying to finalize So Beware, the second book in my planned “World War One IntrigueSeries,” I am starting this blog, which I plan to break out in four short parts:a bit of history, some detail about the book, a writing tip, and odds and ends.I’d love you to send any thoughts, comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org . Manythanks.
1) A little bit of World War One history:
At personal appearances, Ilike to ask people, “What created the most battlefield casualties during thewar?” Most people think it was poison gas. Not even close. Artillery and mortarshells caused 60% of the casualties.
2) What you did not know about the books:
Originally in Over Here, I had planned that JohnWittig would be a German agent, and he would help Caarsens in the climacticattack. However, I realized that making him a pacifist provided more intriguingliterary possibilities. Soon, his fate drove the plot.
But, I had to give Caarsensan accomplice so I invented Jelly Brown, one of my most favorite characters inthe book. His first name comes from on old Negro league baseball player – Iloved baseball as a kid. Did you notice Keller’s gestures? The march down 5th Avenue provided the catalyst to bring them together. Hisrole grew from there. His addition has added the African-American element tothe novel’s hyphen-American theme.
3) Writing tip:
The best single advice thatI received from my editor was to respect the genre. “This is a thriller,Jim. Make sure it stays one.” As a result, I made some changes to increase thetension. One example is at the end of Chapter 11, The Birth of a Nation. When Martin and Corinne are walking awayfrom the movie, I added the threat to her life, ending when one of the thugssays, “Stay away from our lighterboats.”
This rule applies to everybook written. Know what you are trying to do and stay with it. You can breakthe rules, but you need to understand them first.
4) Odds and Ends:
a. Check out mywebsite and find a quiz based on actual facts that are included in Over Here. An 85% score will earn you amap from the book.
b. What am Ireading? My friend Alison McMahan’swonderful historical mystery, The SaffronCrocus, set in Venice 1643. Opera lovers will find the book particularlyfun. See my review on Amazon.
c. I had hopedthat So Beware, the next book in theseries, would be released before Christmas, but it now looks as if it will beearly next year.
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JamesHockenberry, Author – jameshockenberry.com