Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Help Wanted!

Would you like to be a character in my next book?

Then help me figure out what my next book is about.

I’m quite serious.

See, I’ve just put the finishing touches on THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT (due out in March 2011 from Henry Holt) and I’m going through the usual dance with my editor about the subject of Opus Next. I like to call it “a dance” because that sounds better than “eviscerating pain at the subcellular level.”

Here’s the problem. This time around, the dance has become one of those marathon dances so popular in the 20s and 30s. Have you seen THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? Imagine my editor and me helplessly entwined, staggering across the dance floor, our muscles and joints porous with fatigue, our brains fading to black.

Or, to torture another metaphor: Imagine me tossing up ideas like skeet. And now imagine my editor putting each clay pigeon into her gunsights and blasting it into a shower of fragments.

That’s pretty much how it stands now. A good two dozen skeet … gone.

Now my editor’s tastes are contradictory and sometimes downright unfathomable, but this much I have gathered. She wants the book to be set in America. (Brazil? Bad.) She would like it to feature some famous literary figure (an author or a character). She would like it to flirt with the supernatural. (For some reason, she really inclines toward voodoo.)

And beyond that? Well, I'm tapped out.

Maybe after a week’s vacation, I’ll start churning out more ideas, but right now, I’m dry-heaving.

So I’m quite seriously begging your help, Readers! If you can come up with some idea that even vaguely meets the criteria sketched above and – this is a much bigger condition – IF this idea makes it over the fiercely guarded moat of my editor’s skepticism – then YOU (or at least someone bearing your name) will become a character in aforementioned novel. With all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

I’ll throw in a backrub. And I’ll be your BFF. And if I ever get another cat, I’ll name it after you, too. Regardless of the gender.

HELP … ME ….

If you’ve got some brilliant, unassailable idea that you’re willing to loan out, then e-mail it to me. Or just set it in flaming letters across the sky.

If I sound desperate, I am. There’s only so much rejection a middle-aged guy can take.

Lovingly, at your feet,