Our next book will be something completely different: a mystery, set in 1950’s New York, amidst the rise of modern sexual liberation and the erotica industry. It may be awhile before we have much progress to report, but we will keep you infomed
Some of our readers have asked what it has been like to write a book together. Both of these books were truly collaborative efforts. As part of his day job, Michael writes nonfiction, books, op-eds, magazine and journal articles. But for years, the novel he wanted to write eluded him. Finally, having grown tired of hearing him complain about it, Ellen agreed to be his co-author, demanding only two concessions: that he add Jews and a horse to my original story line. (If you’ve read our books, we hope you agree it worked.) Thus was born the Adami Chronicles.
Let me share just a few of the lessons that we have learned:
1. To write you actually have to write. Thinking about writing, talking about writing, planning to write: these are all good things. But nothing gets done until you actually write. Our second book sat barely started for years until we made a firm commitment to actually write the darn thing.
2. Along those lines, writing is work. Dorothy Parker once said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” I won’t go that far, but writing often meant sitting down and doing it even when we didn’t want to, even when it wasn’t fun.
3. Perfection is never an option. Even now, as I reread our book, I can find places where I say, “I wish I had phrased that differently” or “why didn’t I add…?” No doubt if we rewrote the book another two dozen times it would be a bit stronger…or maybe not. Either way, waiting for it to be perfect is another way of not actually writing it.
4. Flexibility is a necessity. A novel is a living, organic thing that takes on a life of its own. Despite our detailed outline going in, the story sometimes went off in directions that we hadn’t planned. Sometimes this was because we were writing an historical novel and had simply learned new historic details. But more often, it was because our characters simply forced us to do something different. To have insisted on our original plan would have violated what our characters had become.
5. In the end, it is all worth it. There is nothing quite like knowing that people are reading your story or your book.(Our readers would actually debate the deaths of some of our characters, begging us to somehow bring them back in future books!) When we saw our books in print there was more than just a sense of personal satisfaction, there was a joy that our characters would get to “live,” that others would experience them, that their stories would continue. That feels terrific.
The inspiration for our books has been the ongoing ethnic and religious hatred that undergirds so many of the world’s conflicts, and the difficulties in breaking the cycle of revenge and retribution. Many years ago, Michael was on a business trip to the Balkans, where a taxi driver explained that it was necessary to “kill all the Turks (Bosnian Moslems)” because they had attacked his great grandfathers village in the 1800s. Out of that came the original idea for a novel exploring the issue. But current conflicts are all too raw to allow an honest discussion, so we decided on an allegorical tale. Thus, our book is fantasy, set in a world that almost but didn’t quite exist hundreds of years ago. Still, we think the theme and message is an important one. We hope you find it meaningful (as well as entertaining).