Kate Flora: I confess, I had great plans for today’s giveaway. I had a hot new book—not one of mine—that I know you all want to own. Well, somehow or other, the whole day yesterday got away, dark fell, and my most stellar accomplishments for the day were to walk five miles and to take the decorations off the Christmas tree.
Guess you’ll have to tune in again next week and see what this week’s book was going to be.
But instead, today’s book giveaway is a copy of my second Joe Burgess police procedural, The Angel of Knowlton Park. When I started the Burgess series, my plan was for a quartet. Four Maine seasons. Four books. Book one, Playing God, takes place during an icy Maine February; book two during a stifling hot July. Book three, Redemption, takes place in October, and book four, And Grant You Peace, is set in the spring. Four books and I was done. But both I and my readers ended up wanting more Joe Burgess, which is why the series continued with Led Astray, A Child Shall Lead Them, and most recently, A World of Deceit.
I sat down on January 2nd several years ago with an idea for a Burgess book in my mind. Reacting to comments people had made at book events, in particular the comment, “I’ve always wanted to write a book and when I have a free weekend, I’m going to,” I decided to see how fast I could write a book. It didn’t take a weekend, that’s for sure. But after four and a half insanely intense months, I typed “The End” on Playing God. It was a hundred pages too long and I was exhausted.
But a funny thing happened when I stopped that period of intense writing. I was lonely. I was bereft. I’d spent all my waking time with Joe Burgess, Terry Kyle, and Stan Perry, and I missed them. I felt like my best friends had abandoned me. The only cure for my condition was to write the second Burgess book. I wrote The Angel at a more reasonable pace, a respectable nine months. In the course of writing the story of a small boy from an indifferent family, ignored by social services, and left to fend for himself, I came to care deeply both for the victim and for the police officers who worked so hard to get justice for victims like him.
I also learned a truth that went against some advice I’d been given. The advice? If something in your book makes you cry, take it out. I believe if something in the book makes me cry, especially if it makes me cry on the third or fourth reading, it’s because I’ve touched on something authentic and moving.
It continues to fascinate me how series characters develop, often seeming to do it without input from the writer, as though they want to go their own way and our job is to follow and write it down. So it’s always an adventure when I start a new book and get to see what Burgess and Kyle and Perry are up to, and what their jobs will throw at them next.
So, as my late mother-in-law used to say, “That’s the story.”
If you aren’t today’s lucky winner, of a hardcover copy you can still read the book on your e-reader for less than the cost of a Starbuck’s coffee. https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Knowlton-Park-Burgess-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07QMF99FH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1N6HVUNG81GO8&keywords=The+Angel+of+Knowlton+Park&qid=1641341419&sprefix=the+angel+of+knowlton+park%2Caps%2C103&sr=8-1
As soon as the next Thea Kozak mystery, Death Sends a Message, is done, I’ll be back with Burgess and his team to explore their next adventure.
Remember: to win a book, you have to leave a comment…
More than once I have started a series in the middle and then gone back and read the series from the beginning.
I hate to enter contests but I love to win. Please pick me.
I just finished PLAYING GOD and look forward to reading the rest of the series!
I just finished PLAYING GOD and enjoyed it tremendously! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!
I was interested in your comment that characters go their own way without much input from the author. The late Elmer Kelton used to insist that we should listen to our characters, and they would tell us what was going to happen. He had a talk he used to give about that, illustrating it with stories from his own work. And as for crying at what you’ve written, I’m in full agreement. I am not a short story writer, have only done a few, but I have one that makes me cry every time I look at it. I think it’s one of the best things I ever wrote.
I’ve read the series and I have to say that whatever you were going to take out of Angel, I’m glad you didn’t. The book was both wonderful and heartbreaking.
What I’ve been taught in my writing classes is that if a book makes you and your audience cry you have touched emotions and that is what you want to do as a writer. So good for you.
Stories that touch your heart are the ones that get reread. Joe Picket’s struggle with his adopted daughter is one that makes you think about the baggage everyone carries with them through life. Some of us can deal and shed and others are consumed by it. Your stories are gifts.
I have actually never read any of Kate’s books. This would be a fantastic way to enter her world.
I definitely agree to leave in the parts where you feel like crying. The books I read where I feel like crying are the ones that affect me the most. Thank you for the post
Unhappily can’t get back to my Maine house til June and so I love to live vicariously by reading your books!
Good for you! Why would you take emotion out of a book? If it touches you, the writer, it’s bound to touch the reader. Us readers, or at least I do, love for a book to evoke emotion and love feeling a book’s characters or situations while reading it.
Thanks for the wonderful chance. Shared and hoping.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Well, since I always have to start at the beginning, I need to find a copy of Playing God first, in case I win. I review all my reads on Goodreads.
Hi Kate, I never read a series out of order so Playing God is now on the top of my tbr list. 🙂
I had never heard, “If it makes you cry, leave it out.” It seems kin to “Kill your babies.” But almost nothing in writing is that simple. I often commiserate with writer friends in moments of uncertainty or confusion — Writing is an act of faith; faith in oneself.