No! I am not going to review my own book. That’s crazy! If I did, I’d write a really short review: it’s great. Of course, I wrote it. To say anything else is equally crazy. However, I will talk (write), whatever, about it.
Today is the day! Yes, today is the official release of my new novel, The Final Round. I wanted to write about the release, because you never really hear from authors on the day of a release. You read interviews conducted weeks in advance, hear soundbites from publishers and critics, and maybe get a tweet or Facebook status announcing the release, but no one ever really tells you anything about the day. Well, your wait is over. I’m going to tell you about the day.
The Final Round is the result of three and a half years of hard work. It originally started out as a screenplay. I’m not sure how many novels start out as screenplays, but I’m betting it’s not a lot. I will say, though, that the great thing about having a screenplay, is that it’s like having a very detailed outline. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of work involved, but it’s still extremely helpful.
Three and a half years ago, my good friend, Chuck Grady, approached me about writing a screenplay. Chuck is a film director. He’s had a successful run on the festival circuit with a couple of short films he made and was ready for a feature. The problem, of course, is that Chuck did not have a script, and he can’t write. Well, he can write. He just can’t write good–well! I meant well.
I told Chuck I would love to write a script for him and asked if he had anything in mind. He didn’t know, but said he’d let me know when he did. A couple months later and Chuck called me.
“Hey, look up Billy Miske,” he said.
I typed the name Billy Miske into Google and discovered a great story that no one really knew anything about. I called Chuck back.
“That’s a movie,” I said.
“Let’s do it,” he responded.
So, we met for lunch to discuss the idea, agreed on a theme and a plot, then I went to work. Initial research lasted three months and then it wasn’t long after that, I had a first draft. It was pretty good. But, as we all know, first drafts are never good enough. It was a starting point. The first draft shows that you actually have a story worth telling. Over the next two years, after more research, Chuck speaking with Miske family members, buying books with excerpts about Billy, finding every bit of information we could on this shadow from the 1920′s, I wrote the twenty-fourth and final draft. Whew!
It was great! We had a table read with actors and they openly wept, accused me of breaking their hearts, begged for parts in the film. I was satisfied. It was a big difference from the first table read on an earlier draft. When that one was through, I wanted to jump off a building. Anyway, the script was finished and now Chuck needed to raise the funds to get it made. Big things are in the mix, but it’s a long process. In the meantime, I decided that it would make a great novel. So, I wrote the book and today is the day.
Writing the book was fun, exciting, and a lot of work. I had to do even more research on the era and expand on subplots. In the movie world, you get an Art Director to fill in the blanks during production and subplots are slashed or shortened for time. However, in the world of prose, I have only the limit of the blank page, as well as, the disparity of the blank page. Now it was up to me to paint the picture and tell the story. That’s what I mean by fun and hard (that’s what she said).
I based the Final Round on the true story of Billy Miske, a heavyweight prizefighter from the early 20th century. This is a novel and not a biography. There’s a bio out there called Billy Miske: The St. Paul Thunderbolt, written by Clay Moyle. It covers Billy’s fighting career rather well; however, his personal life is still a shadow. Chuck spoke with Mr. Moyle during our research. The Final Round isn’t about Billy’s fighting career, although I cover the big fights like Dempsey and Battling Levinsky. My book is a dramatic retelling of a man’s journey from obscurity to legend. It truly is an incredible and inspiring story.
What is today like? I’m filled with relief. This project has consumed my life for three and a half years. I’m excited to see how it’s received. It’s a fine novel, full of blood, sweat, and tears, both literally and figuratively. If you don’t know anything about Billy Miske, the ending will surprise you. If you do know about him, I hope you’ll find my interpretation satisfying.
So, what now? Well, for you, go buy the book. It’s available in print and Kindle. For me, I’m starting a new book today. It’s a thriller called, The Scarlet. It’s creeping me out just thinking about it. I think it’s going to be rather good. I’ll chime in now-and-then here on the blog and let you know how it’s going. I may be sporadic in my posts, though. Writing a book tends to eat up all my time. Thanks for understanding.
One last thing. Each month, I’m giving away a signed copy of The Final Round. What? How do I get one? That’s amazing, Gary! You’re so generous, kind, and loving. And might I add, good looking, too? Yes, you may. Sorry.
What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah. Free stuff with my signature. The only way you can win a signed copy of my book is by becoming a fan of my Facebook page. Each month, a name is actually drawn from a hat and I send that lucky individual a book. Go to www.facebook.com/gwallisonjr and get in the game! This month’s winner is Joan Verla! Hooray, Joan!
That’s it. Gotta go. I have some work to do. Thanks for reading!