I was at a book signing event about fifteen years ago. One of my stories had been published in a collection of work by southern writers. My story was about a father who was trying to help his daughter whose romance was falling apart. And the father felt inadequate for the job. When the signing event was over an older man came up to me and said, “I hope your daughter solves her problems.”
At first I thought he was kidding. Then I realized he was serious. So I patiently explained to him that the story was fiction, that none of it had happened, it wasn’t real, that I just made it all up. I explained that I wasn’t the father in the story and the “daughter” didn’t exist.
And he looked puzzled and said, “Well, I hope your daughter works it all out.” Now, this can be a problem when readers begin to accept your characters as living human beings.
Lots of people have asked me when I was going to write another “Jack Stevens” Tropical Adventure novel. (One lady contacted me this week. She read all three in the Tropical series back to back and wanted more – now! If I could turn ‘em out like McDonalds does hamburgers I’d do it.) Honestly, I only meant to write the first one, and I wanted it to be as realistic as possible, while still being entertaining. But, you know how life works. That first one was left with a missing heroine. And people were upset about that! I never imagined that so many people demand a HAPPY ending to their fiction. Although the book sold very well (and still does) I had many people who were really distressed, not with me, but with the loss of “Amy.” It was amazing, and an eye-opener. I’m totally serious. I had emails from people as far away as England, Australia, and Germany who were anxious about what had happened to this character, who resided entirely in my imagination. I thought it was a little weird, but I took it as an honor that God had allowed me to write an imaginary person in such a real way that living persons were concerned for a fictional woman’s welfare.
So, I had to write a second book, “Tropical Daze,” to have my hero Jack rescue Amy. And that book still is being well received. Okay, then. People were really getting attached to this couple and their adventures while all kinds of nefarious assholes were trying to kill them. That brought about the third book, “Tropical Rage” about a sex slave gang which Jack and Amy disposed of in their typical fashion, with lots of bullets, explosions, noise and fire!
In the meantime, I wrote a contemporary novel (September Song) which deals with adultery and divorce and pain and suffering—the stuff that real people go through. It’s the story of a man’s downfall and how he overcomes it and finds a loving partner as he rebuilds his life. That book is my very best writing and I’m proud of it. And you know what? NOBODY buys it! That’s because I’m now the “Tropical” adventure guy, and nothing else is acceptable. Well, ol’ Jack has never been far from me for the last twenty years. He’s always hiding out in the back of my brain. So now there’s another “Tropical” book. It’s called “Tropical Fury” and it should be available as an eBook on Amazon by the end of this coming week. The print version takes a little longer. So, the Jack and Amy duo are into another adventure—as long as the ammunition holds out. The introductory price of $2.99 for “Tropical Fury” is ONLY GOOD FOR ONE WEEK, in honor of my Jack & Amy fans. I’ll let you know when it’s available.