2016: A Literary Look Back

Bruce Robert Coffin here, feeling nostalgic. 2016 was a whirlwind year. Pausing to reflect, as it draws to an end, I realize how much I have to be thankful for. So many writing and publishing firsts, where do I start? I guess the smart money would be at the beginning.

January found me working on the second Detective Byron Mystery and waiting with baited breath as my agent, Paula Munier, negotiated with several publishing houses for the first.

February came along with a verbal agreement from HarperCollins for a three book deal, and an email from Otto Penzler announcing the inclusion of my short story into the 2016 Best American Mystery Stories.

In March I worked on yet another round of edits on my manuscript The Reaping which eventually became Among the Shadows.

April came with a written contract from HarperCollins. I blinked as I looked at my end of the deal. Three novels, one hundred thousand words each! Remember whining about five hundred word papers? I certainly do. Signing that contract was similar to the feeling I had when signing my first mortgage. This publishing deal was thirteen pages of exciting and scary all at the same time.

May saw the final copyedits on Among the Shadows.

June was back to work on Byron number two (I know. I know. A real title is forthcoming, I promise.).

July found my debut novel available for preorder on Amazon. And so began the twenty-four hour a day sales ranking checks. Which reminds me…

August brought more abundant sunshine, necessitating daily trips to local libraries where I could work undistracted on book two. Nothing is more distracting to the writing process than copious amounts of sunshine and warm summer weather. The libraries became surrogate business offices. The act of getting in the truck and driving to a library was akin to the old days of driving to the police department. Writing at home is great during winter months but when the weather turns nice the distractions pile up. Laundry, mowing, hiking, golf, the gym.

September arrived with the release of my first novel and a trip to New Orleans to attend my first Bouchercon. I met Lee Child, C.J. Box, Reed Farrell Coleman, and Harlan Coben!

October brought an untold number of library and bookstore appearances, television and radio guest spots, and the joy of seeing my novel atop the Maine Sunday Telegram’s paperback fiction bestseller list, and the release of the Best American Mystery Stories in which my story Fool Proof resides among the works of award winning authors like Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Megan Abbott, and Art Taylor.

November brought more library appearances, including one shared with my writing mentor, Kate Flora, and a trip to the New England Crime Bake, where I shared a stage with William Kent Krueger and Hank Phillipi Ryan.

December consisted of fewer appearances, more edits to Byron #2, decorating the house, Christmas parties, and some quality time behind the snowblower, clearing the drive while my mind was free to wander.

What will 2017 bring? God only knows.

As I sit here beside the fireplace writing this, it occurs to me that I owe a great deal of thanks to a great many people. My writing friends for the endless advice and inspiration, my reading friends for their kind reviews and praise, and my social media friends for helping to spread the word. The local booksellers, some of whom have faithfully followed me to my seemingly endless signings, for featuring my work and treating me like family. My agent, my editor, and my fans for keeping me inspired with my fingers to the keyboard. And finally, I owe the most thanks to my wife and biggest fan for putting up with me and for believing in me.

Happy new year, everybody! Thank you!

About Bruce Robert Coffin

Bruce is the author of Among the Shadows, first in the Detective Byron Mystery Series, from HarperCollins/Witness Impulse. The second book in this Portland, Maine based series is due to be released this summer. His short story 'Fool Proof' appears in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Best American Mystery Stories, 2016.
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12 Responses to 2016: A Literary Look Back

  1. Linda Baker says:

    I just finished Among the Shadows yesterday and really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the next one, whatever the title may be. I have difficulty with titles for book reviews, so I can imagine how hard it is to come up with a book title!

  2. Susan Breen says:

    I also had a fabulous 2016, thanks to our same agent. Excited for 2017. Congratulations on all your success. I have your book on my kindle and plan to read it soon.

  3. Gram says:

    May you have a great 2017 as well.

  4. Dave Carew says:

    Congratulations on such a successful 2016, Bruce!

  5. Barb Ross says:

    Congratulations, Bruce. What a year! I hope, more than anything, you have enjoyed it. You don’t get first publication of a novel more than once and it must be savored.

  6. Beth Clark says:

    Wow. Quite a year. Congratulations on your success.

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