BLOG No. 30 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- MEETING THE FANS
I now have two book signings under my belt. They were fun. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn't perform well. To my surprise, I find it easy to talk about my work and the process of being a novelist. Judy, the Librarian at the Northside Branch of the Fulton County Library, was so kind to introduce her regular customers to me. I truly enjoyed meeting them and talking about novels.
I have also learned how to take rejection, and that's a big part of this business. Not everyone is going to like your product. All of the reviews I have received so far have been for Don't Go There, and all but one has been favorable and flattering. I remain happy with DGT as my first effort, however I am confident you will find The Rubik Memorandum a much more entertaining novel.
One thing I think I have learned at this stage in my career, is how to write a tightly constructed thriller. There is a formula and a method that each author must create that becomes his signature. I am in the early stages of Part II of The Disaster Trilogy, and in this story I hope to improve on the word choices I make to express a thought, depict an event or convey a message. The goal is to illuminate the picture in the mind of the reader.
In Rubik, at the Navy's Craney Island fuel depot, I try to put the reader in the position I found myself at a fully engulfed petroleum fire. My senses would take in the full spectrum of stimuli. The first thing to notice is the elevated temperature that the fire creates. Next is the smell of burning hydrocarbons. Each product has a distinct odor when it burns.
All disasters that are of a scale large enough for multiple agencies to respond are organized in what is called the unified command structure. It's origin is found in wartime cooperative efforts. Each entity that thinks it has a dog in the fight believes it should be running the show. To avoid chaos, a tight, strict structure is created to maximize communication and direction. You see it and feel it in every meeting. The meeting rooms are a sterile environment with chairs evenly spaced at a cafeteria table. Yellow writing paper in a pad with a sharpened No. 2 pencil is usually placed in the exact, same position as every other pad and pencil at each place on the table. It's anal retentiveness at the nth degree. But here's the crazy part. It all works. Like no other environment do you find everyone fully engaged and ready to contribute.
But getting back to the point of setting the scene, the reader needs to sense what the author portrays. Without it there will be a disconnection to the story and the adventure. And when I have met with strangers at a signing I sense that they want a connection as well. So far, it all has worked so naturally. I have always been a good listener, and my negotiation experience has taught me how to disarm strangers, and make them feel at ease. It's second nature now. I quickly seem to find what interests them and we talk freely for a few moments. So far, it's all good.