Last January, I announced that I had stepped away from social media. The act was monumental and enabled me to break down the resistance that has plagued me for four years since we published Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ in 2014. In January 2018, I began work on a new manuscript, inspired in a small way by my friend Jessica Sayles who passed away in December 2017.
Last week, Frank Chura, my freshman soccer coach in college back in 1967 asked me, “How come you are not writing anymore?” His question prompts me to offer this ‘teaser,’ sans spoilers…
- The working title of my new manuscript is Mrs. Houthakker’s Daughter. I will share the 116 drafted words of the first paragraph…
“Until the railroads come in 1863, Amersfoort claims nothing of particular importance other than, perhaps, the Tower of Our Lady, one of the highest church towers in the Netherlands – 322 feet, 7 inches to be exact – that reaches well above the inner city that surrounds it. Protestants and Catholics contest ownership until the Protestants gain control after the Reformation. The locals call it Lange Jan – Long John. The original church attached to the tower is victim to a mysterious gunpowder explosion in the eighteenth century. The community embarks on a restorative effort to repair the damage in 1912. Said restoration is not completed until 1932, the year Jessica is born to Aart and Emma Van Dijk.”
- Characters of note who have survived the 46,800 words to date include: Jessica and her father, Aart Van Dijk; Mrs. Houthakker, her husband Tobias and daughter Nava; Sebastiaan Claasen and his father Ernst; Uri Kuttner; and a dog, Clarence.
- The 46,800 words-to-date equates to 150 – 200 printed book pages, but who’s counting.
- I hope to complete the first draft by the end of 2018.
It has been my practice since drafting my first novel, The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas in 2002 to maintain a growing list of research notes and images. I’ve scattered several images through this short post.