Warning: You may not want to read this blog if you haven’t read Danger Peak yet and don’t want the story to be spoiled.
When you tell people you wrote a book, you get bombarded by the usual questions. One of the most common, even from people who haven’t read a single page of your book, is, “What are you working on next?” (Kill me now.) But another favorite question is, “What is your book about?” It reminds me of a scene at the end of Wonder Boys, one of my favorite movies of all time (and probably my favorite movie about writing; I watch it every February). A minor character asks Michael Douglas’ main character, an author who is furiously writing an over 3,000-page novel over the course of a decade, what his book is about. “I don’t know,” he simply answers.
Another character is incredulous. “What do you mean you don’t know?” he asks. “Then why were you writing it?”
“I couldn’t stop,” Douglas answers.
I wrote the first draft of Danger Peak in four months. That’s not a lot of time for a novel. Why so fast? “I couldn’t stop.” But if you were to ask me why I wrote it in the first place, you may be surprised to learn that I didn’t really know. It just poured out of me. It was the book I was waiting to write my entire life. Yes, I realize how pretentious that sounds. I don’t care.
In fact, I couldn’t really put into words exactly what my book was about until I was researching how to sell it years later. As documented in a previous blog, I read over half a dozen books, one over 500 pages long, on how to market and sell a novel. Then I came across a passage that struck me like a bolt of lightning. It was discussing the major themes of most novels, and one of them is the following:
Throughout the book, the main character wants X, but he really needs Y.
Yes, I thought. That’s it. Of course, every book is open to interpretation, and I would never claim there’s only one correct answer to what Danger Peak is about, but if you were to ask me now, I would say that major theme above runs throughout it. In other words (huge spoiler if you haven’t read the book yet), Robert wants to climb and conquer the supernatural mountain Danger Peak to prove himself to his school, friends, and town and also get revenge for the death of his brother, but what he really needs is a reconnection with his departed brother and a reconciliation with his estranged father. Bam. That’s the skeleton key to my book. Oh, also a lot of geeky nostalgia for the ‘80s.
In other Danger Peak news, the latest Goodreads giveaway recently finished, and 2,470 people entered, which is more than my last giveaway. (Again, opening up the contest to Canada might have had something to do with it.) Congratulations to the 20 winners! I’ll be shipping out your signed, first edition copies of Danger Peak soon. Check your mailbox in a few weeks or so. (For those in Canada, it might be longer.)
P.S.: Danger Peak is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.