Two days ago, I bit the bullet and finally emailed my agent the complete unexpurgated version of The Tourist, the espionage novel that’s been driving me crazy for pretty much a year. Despite all the second-guessing and innumerable revamps, I think the result just might be worth all the grief. It turned out to be a (for me) lengthy book—135,000 words, or 475 manuscript pages (I usually peter out at 100,000).
The inevitable revisions are still to come, and I’ll be working with my agent on her concerns (whatever they might be) before sending it off to my editor to work with her thoughts.
Despite having begun the project (over a year ago) with an eye toward writing a lighter kind of series, something quick and snappy, with a jazzy 60s feel, this proved difficult and I ended up with what might be my bleakest book since The Confession. That is, it begins with bleakness (the opening sentence takes us into the main character’s thoughts of suicide) and ends six years later with the suggestion that he’s soon to return to such thoughts.
In between, there are certainly light points and a fair amount of action, but when you begin and end a book in this manner, you know that’s what the reader’s going to go away with. It’s the book that, in the end, I wanted to write, but I do wonder if I’m condemning myself to obscurity with it, particularly as I’ve already started the opening scene to the sequel, which starts with the main character, a year later being…if not suicidal, at least seriously depressed.
Which is ironic, since I’m actually rather chipper these days…