“That guy’s reading John Grisham”

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As we sat around the pool yesterday afternoon, my wife observed, “Well, paperbacks haven’t gone totally out of style. That guy’s reading John Grisham.”

“I can’t write like John Grisham,” I replied. “His style is his style….”

“No,” she needled me gently, “what I’m saying is can’t you be that successful?”

“I’m working on it,” I smiled.

My writing "desk" here in the Tenerife apartment. [Photo by me, 2016.]
My writing “desk” here in the Tenerife apartment. [Photo by me, 2016.]

I was writing here in the apartment before we went down to the pool. While doing so, I had a look at this once more. It’s only a tiny fraction of a real-life love letter:

Sneak Peek into "Conventions." Click to expand.
Sneak Peek into “Conventions.” Click to expand.

That’s from background reading I’ve been doing to help write Conventions. I keep finding myself drawn to that letter. I suppose its appeal to me lies in it being entirely real, and how, even at over two centuries’ distance, it’s still heartbreaking reading it.

That Frenchwoman was age 30 as she wrote that in 1794 to her American boyfriend (although the word “boyfriend” wasn’t used in those days, of course). He was the love of her life, but was not in France when she had months’ before been arrested for some unspecified “crime” against the French Revolution and faced death as did many thousands just like her. It took several months for that letter even to reach him, and when he finally received it he could not even have been sure she was still alive.

Transforming fact into romantic fiction underscored my first three novels, too. Perhaps it’s the former academic historian in me, but that approach fires my imagination and seizes my soul. I always hope it will do the same for readers.

We all dream, but I know I will probably never sell anywhere near the number of books a John Grisham does. Indeed, you could also try to produce “copycat” efforts and chances are you will never sell mountains of those either. So you might as well find and follow your own unique writing path. πŸ™‚

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