Why is this relevant for today's guest? I'll let Lance Havermale, author of the fascinating new thriller FACE BLIND, tell you himself.
When I was 19, I wrote one of the greatest action thrillers of the 20th century. Unfortunately, not a single literary agent in New York agreed with my assessment. So I wrote another, received more kind rejections, and wrote yet another. Result: several stacks of “no thank you” notes because this was pre-email and editors killed a lot of innocent trees on my behalf back then.
I spent a decade with an ever-rising pile of unpublished manuscripts crammed with derring-do and dashing male leads. Like James Bond or Indiana Jones, my protagonists were larger-than-life, and so were their adventures and love affairs. I couldn’t understand why the publishers weren’t driving one another off the highway in a race to get to my front door.
Then something happened. For no particular reason, I wrote a book about real people, saying real things, colliding with real challenges. The lead role in my women’s fiction novel Seeing Pink (Five Star, 2003) was shared equally by five female characters, heroines who fought everyday battles. In breaking out of their routines, those characters showed me what it means to be extraordinary. That novel was released under the woman’s pseudonym of Erin O’Rourke.
Becoming O’Rourke and writing as her for years eventually brought me here, to my thriller Face Blind (Minotaur Books, 2016), where I finally get to be myself. Here’s what my journey has taught me about writing and about being a man:
- The best heroes are normal people forced outside their comfort zones.
- Women talk to other women in a way very different than how men talk to other men.
- Every horrible thing that happens should be balanced with something magical.
- Romance is important, no matter your age.
These days the pages of my novels are shared equally between women and men. And those fictional characters frequently remind me that—in the end—gender doesn’t really matter at all. These are human problems we’re facing, both in books and in the real world, and human hearts that we’re breaking.
I’ve learned a lot from my lifelong love of reading and writing. What about you? What secrets of life can you share that you first found in a book?
FACE BLIND: A man with a neurological disorder that prevents him from recognizing human faces confronts an enigmatic killer in Chile's Atacama desert--the most lifeless place on earth.
Gabe Traylin is face-blind, unable to tell one face from the next. Content to earn his living well away from civilization, he works as an astronomer at an observatory in the earth's driest desert, where no rain has fallen in 400 years. But when he finds a man murdered, he is compelled to leave his self-imposed exile and avenge the dead. Gabe's investigation brings him face to face with the killer, but he's unable to provide a description to the police--and soon he becomes their suspect in a series of horrific and unexplained mutilations. To discover the truth before he's arrested for crimes he didn't commit, he must put his trust in three strangers: a fearless young adventurer, a washed-up novelist who thinks he's bulletproof, and a woman with a face he'll never see.
Together they unearth the secrets of Chile's fascist past, a time of kidnappings, torture, and political turmoil. Following the clues given to them by one of the country's most notorious war criminals, they venture further into the desert, discovering the secrets of revenge as well as the secrets of themselves.
You can find out more about Lance Hawvermale and read an excerpt of FACE BLIND at his website. You can also friend him on Facebook and find him on Twitter as @LanceHawvermale.