The Man Who Ended the World
The very first story I can remember writing was blatant fan fiction. It had all of the classic elements:
- Frank Hardy
- Joe Hardy
- Aunt Gertrude
- A creepy basement
- A ghost
That's right. My first short story was Hardy Boys fan fiction. It wasn't even accurate the the Hardy Boys universe, either. One of my characters was a ghost. An actual metaphysical being. If you ever read the Hardy Boys' many adventures, then you recall that, much like their animated counterparts, Scooby Doo and his pals, the Hardy Boys always unmasked any supernatural beings and revealed them for their dastardly, quite human, selves.
Not me. I mashed up the Hardy Boys with Poltergeist.
Fast-forward a few years. I'm thirty-four years old. I've been writing creatively since high school. I have three finished novels in a drawer. There's a fourth novel that I've been working on for more than a decade. Long ago, I threw out a box full of publisher and agent rejection slips, but those once papered my wall, as if I were convinced they might inspire me somehow.
Two years ago, I decided to stop writing my fourth novel. Instead, I adapted it into a web comic. (It's still ongoing.) Not long after, I began publishing chapters of that comic on the Kindle and iPad and the Nook. This marked my first foray into independent publishing, and after twelve years of working on a book that nobody saw, it was a marvelous thing to hear from people who read the comic adaptation and were actually interested in it.
Fast-forward a bit more. In December of 2012, I heard about Amazon's annual novel competition, and on a whim I decided to enter. I pulled open that drawer and looked at all of the novels I wrote years ago, and realized quickly that they were in no shape to win a competition. I certainly didn't want to publish them any more. And while my fourth novel was still (in my opinion) my best work, I'd been plugging away at it for twelve years, and I didn't really want to rush its completion for the sake of a contest. (The contest deadline was January of 2013.)
So I figured I'd write something brand new, something adventurous, something genre-focused and fun. Most of my work is pretty textured and heavy stuff, and I thought writing a driving science fiction thriller might be a pretty good way to shake the dust off and get back in the game.
Well, it worked. But when I finished the book, I was no longer interested in sending it away for months and months to a contest jury. The odds of my winning were pretty slim, as you can imagine. So instead I took the second step of my independent publishing adventure, and I published my contest novel on Amazon.
Here's the official book summary:
When Steven Glass's third grade teacher asked his class what they wanted to be when they grew up, Steven's classmates shouted the usual answers: "A fireman!" "A teacher!" "The President!" When his turn came, Steven said, "When I grow up I'm going to be the last man on Earth."
Warning signs don't come much clearer than that.
Nearly thirty years later, Steven Glass is a billionaire. Surrounded by groupies, yes-men, investment opportunities and glamour, all Steven really wants is to be alone.
Really, really alone.
In secret, Steven builds a personal sanctuary nearly a mile underground. He vanishes from public life, goes off the grid. He's finally alone. Well, except for an artificial intelligence companion named after the only girl he ever loved.
There, Steven plays video games, heckles the news, and waits for the apocalypse. When the end doesn't come soon enough, Steven goes to work. He still has billions of dollars to spend -- and there must be something he can do to accelerate the coming storm.
Wrestling with his own destiny, unaware of the young stowaways who have discovered his underground paradise, and battling his duplicitous A.I. companion at every turn, Steven Glass struggles to create the reality he has always hoped for -- at the expense of the future of every single living human being on Earth...
Unless a pair of eleven-year-old children can stop him and save the world, that is.
I've never written a novel so fast in my life. I started writing on December 8th. I completed the novel on December 31st, just fifteen minutes before the New Year began. And on January 10th, I published the novel on Amazon. And right now the novel is in the process of being added to Barnes & Noble's NOOK store, the Kobo bookstore, and hopefully the iBooks store. (There's a whole crazy application-to-sell process that Apple puts you through.)
You might wonder: Doesn't writing a novel in three weeks mean it's probably terrible and rushed and not proofed and certainly not edited?
I guess there's only one way to find out! The book is reasonably-priced at just $2.99, and you can get it right here on Amazon. I genuinely hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. That's something else I'll write about soon -- how writing on such an intense deadline helped me to actually write better.