Thursday, December 23, 2010

Deception in Savannah is not my first work of fiction.  During my corporate and consulting careers, I wrote numerous business plans, a few of which were best sellers.  Deception in Savannah was much more fun to write than those other works.  The experience of writing a novel is a real kick.  It didn't start out looking anything like the finished product.  The characters took over and went in their own directions, to my frequent surprise and occasional chagrin.  The ones who ended up driving the story were mere bit players in my initial conception.

Before I wrote Deception in Savannah, I had the notion that I would map out the story and the characters and then grind through the process of writing and rewriting until I finished up with a book.  I was mistaken.  Indeed, I started out with a story line, and a few character sketches.  After the first few thousand words, I realized that I was just along for the ride.  The characters had their own ideas about where the story should go, and I could only influence their actions, as opposed to controlling what they said and did.  This made the work challenging, and more entertaining than I had expected it to be.

While the independence of the characters entertained me, it also made for frustrating work.  Sometimes they wanted to go off on side trails and play in the woods, when I wanted to make time on the Interstate.  At other times, they tricked me by rushing to places that I had no idea existed.  Fashioning a coherent story out of the interactions of characters, who were by design eccentric, was more difficult than I had reckoned.  I had to leave some fascinating byways unexplored in the interest of finishing the tale, just like in real life.

After several years of short, intense periods of writing, interrupted by the exigencies of life on a cruising sailboat, I had a story and a bunch of characters, but they weren't integrated into anything that could pass for a novel.  I realized that moving to the next step involved a large investment of time and drudgery, and I found it difficult to commit myself to the effort.  This summer, as my wife and I settled into Grenada for the five months of hurricane season, I found that I had the time and the inclination to finish what I had started, so here it is.

I hope that you enjoy the story as much as I did.  Let me know what you think.  Email is welcome at clrdougherty@att.net.  If you write, I will answer, but please be patient.  Internet service is not readily available on the high seas, so I sometimes go a week or two without being able to check email.

For those who still like to read "dead tree books," Deception in Savannah will be available in paperback after the first of the year.  Send me an email, and I'll be sure to let you know when it's released.

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