Monday, September 15, 2014

A Sample from My Novel

The following is an excerpt from my novel, which is due to be published in 2015:

When he was a boy, Harry Flores loved books and spent much of his spare time at the public library in his hometown of Amarillo, Texas, reading as much as he could while other boys practiced being cowboys, played catch, went fishing or did dozens of other outdoorsy things that many boys in that area did during the 1950's. When he was 12, Harry wrote his first story about a boy who was abducted by aliens in the desert. He submitted the story and others that came later to magazine contests but never won anything. Nonetheless, he continued reading and writing, for it gave him great pleasure, and eventually, he became quite well-read and also a strong student in school, which enabled him to become the first Flores to attend university. 

At university, Harry applied his passion for stories to the study of journalism, which he reasoned would allow him to make a solid living someday as a writer, even if he never attained his dream of becoming a famous novelist. As it turned out, Harry was an excellent journalist and earned a very strong living as one. After working his way up the ranks with various news services and television networks, Harry got his own talk show and became one of the most respected and distinguished interviewers in the country.

Every weekday afternoon, Harry taped an interview to be aired later that night with a person of interest at the same table in the same midtown Manhattan studio that he had been using for 13 years. Wearing his trademark dark suit, Harry looked into the camera and began speaking.

"My guest tonight is a fiction writer whose total book sales have sold over 2 billion copies. Having recently surpassed William Shakespeare, he is widely considered to be the bestselling author of all time. His latest thriller entitled "GloFish Syndrome" is his 134th book to be a New York Times #1 bestseller. I'm very pleased to interview for the 23rd time on this show Richard Brink. Welcome once again to the show, Richard, and thank you for being here."

"Harry, I feel like I should probably just buy the studio and the neighboring apartment and move in, since I'm here so much," said Richard Brink, the author, as he reared back in his chair and let out a great laugh at his own comment. Then he brought his right hand back down, slamming it onto the table with such force that the cups of water on the table shook and spilled over slightly.

Brink, wearing a pastel blue-green 3-piece suit and pink tie, continued, "By the way, Harry, It's 2.5 billion copies sold to date. Two billion is so yesterday."

"My apologies, Richard," replied Harry. "Let's talk about your latest book. I'm told that you wrote it in 19 days of non-stop writing."

"That's right, Harry. Kerouac wrote "On the Road" in 20 days, and now I've written my book in 19. There's no other real comparison between us, however, because you can't really call what Kerouac did writing. I mean, come on!  A rambling stream-of-consciousness account of two guys bumming around the country. That's not a plot. That's a hippy journal."

"Your books are known for their intricate plots and unexpected twists and turns," said Harry.

"Correct, Harry. I don't just sit around toking it up in an opium den in Tangiers waiting to feel inspired and then spew out whatever pops into my drug-clouded mind. I actually do some work. I research my books extensively, which are usually on highly complex subject material, and build a world inhabited by very intelligent and believable characters faced with enigmas that must be overcome to achieve meaningful resolutions."

"In keeping with this propensity for complex subject matter, your new book, 'GloFish Syndrome', tackles the controversial topic of genetically modified organisms or GMOs," said Harry Flores. "Where did the idea for "GloFish Syndrome" come from?"

"Oddly enough, Harry, I got the idea for the book in the most mundane of places -- a pet store -- if you can believe it -- that I recently visited while searching for a present for my accountant's daughter's 7th birthday. I know what you're thinking, Harry. Why didn't I just send someone from my staff out to run this humdrum errand? Harry, sometimes I like to mingle with the ordinary people, study their habits and quirks. I filter my findings into my characters. Who knows, Harry … you might be in one of my characters. Anyways, my brain, which is constantly in overdrive, refused to submit to the cruise-control mode under which most people's brains operate, and I was able to extract a mesmerizing story out of the total dullness of a typical pet store. 

"Here's how it happened. When I informed my accountant that I intended to buy his daughter a pet for her birthday, he quickly unraveled into a tizzy of objections as he often does when confronted with change and made it clear to me that most pets were not welcome in his apartment, particularly the ones that give off an odor, make noise or require considerable care, that is to say, nearly all pets. Not wanting to further fluster my accountant, who can belabor a point with soul-draining, vampirical intensity, I agreed to confine myself to the fish section when seeking out a pet for his daughter. It was there that I found the girl's birthday present and also a kernel of inspiration for my next book. The GloFish, is a small fish that reaches lengths of 2 inches in adults and which comes in a variety of fluorescent colors that include "Electric Green," "Sunburst Orange" and "Moonrise Pink." We've all seen them, but what most people don't realize is that these fish glow as the result of a biotechnological process involving the insertion of genes from other species, namely a seal coral and a jellyfish, into the fish's embryo allowing for the integration of the other species' genes into the fish's genome."

Harry jumped in, "Are you telling me that these GloFish that you can buy at any pet store are genetically modified organisms?"

"That's exactly what I'm telling you, Harry, and the repercussions of this kind of science are precisely what "GloFish Syndrome" is about. Without revealing too much, I think it's safe to say that my story is a kind of morality tale in the same way that Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is but with more intellectual meat to it, and, of course, it moves much more quickly and deftly as it must for a contemporary audience."

"Fascinating," responded Harry, "that you were able to come up with such an intriguing story from an ordinary, everyday kind of event. Please tell us what happened next. Do you have a process or routine that you follow once the book idea comes to you?"

"Like I said earlier, I have an extremely active and powerful mind that allows me absorb and process information at a much higher rate than most people. One of the features of my mind that allows me to do this is its photographic memory. As you can imagine, this is a useful tool for a fiction writer who has to create a world full of details that lend credibility to the fictional world. Even with my photographic memory, Harry, I still write outlines prior to diving into the 1st draft that serve as basic roadmaps for the story. 

"I also read constantly. When I'm not writing, I'm reading. I read up to 3 books a week, usually on a topic that helps support the information in my story. For this book, I read stacks of scientific journals on genetic engineering. I also interviewed 5 of the top scientists in the field. 

"As you can imagine, my days are quite full, so I awake at 5 a.m. each morning, do 30 minutes of cardio, have breakfast  and start writing by 6. I write 4,000 words by 10 am at which point I take a break to answer emails, respond to phone calls, talk to my agent and generally handle the business of being me.

"I take lunch at noon, and then in the afternoon, I read, research and conduct interviews so that I'm ready to write the next day. By 6 pm, I've completed my formal work for the day. My evenings are reserved for book signings, lecturing, fund raising, giving interviews and other public appearances. For the completion of this book in just 19 days, I was forced to forego this evening portion of my agenda and isolate myself to complete a second daily writing session equal to my morning writing sessions."

"Incredible," responded Harry. "So, basically, you were writing 8,000 words a day to complete 'GloFish Syndrome.' Tell us if you will -- what was your goal in wanting to finish the book so quickly. I mean -- 19 days, it's unbelievable. Why did you do it?"

"Harry, it's hard for ordinary people to understand men like me, and by men like me, I mean historical figures: DaVinci, Michelangelo, Tesla, Edison, Einstein and so forth. We're men of endless curiosity and feverish inventiveness. Our creativity knows no bounds, so we must create for ourselves new challenges to keep our own work fresh to ourselves. Harry, I'm the most prolific and successful fiction writer in the history of the world. What was there left for me to accomplish? How can I go on without new goals, new summits to reach? Speed writing is my new summit. You could say I have a need for speed …hehe."

"So now that you've written a bestseller in 19 days, what's next on the horizon?"

"This is just the beginning of the speedwriting sessions. I will continue to write bestsellers, each one more quickly than the preceding one. Then a time will come in the not-so-distant future when I will write one in a single uninterrupted session, taking only short nourishment and bathroom breaks."

"We eagerly await it," said Harry. He paused briefly, gathering his thoughts for the next line of questioning. This gave Richard Brink a moment to pour himself another cup of water from the pitcher sitting at the table between him and Harry.

"Now I'd like to shift over to a new topic," said Harry.

"Oh, God, here we go," said Brink. "You can't resist going there, can you, Harry?"

"You're a household name, Richard, a very public figure whose every move has been the subject of great debate and speculation."

Brink cut in quickly. "Listen, Harry, my private life is of no concern to anyone except myself."

Now it was Harry's turn to jump in. "In theory, I would agree with you, Richard. However, when your private affairs regularly become front-page news, and the topic of this news frequently revolves around the same themes, then fans, colleagues, critics and most other sentient beings want to know the truth. It's only natural. They want to know about the wizard behind the curtain pulling the levers and pressing the buttons of the greatest creative writing machine this world has ever known."

For the second time that evening, Richard Brink reared back his torso and threw his head back and let out a great bellowing laugh.

"Harry, you slay me," he said. "You really are the best, which, like you mentioned in your opening, is why I've been on your show 23 times. But if you think you can butter me up with a line like 'greatest creative writing machine this world has ever known', think again. First of all, I know it and don't need you to tell me. Secondly, I'm not some wet-behind-the-ears 20-something Ivy League graduate with a couple of books published to his name who fancies himself to be the next Hemingway. I've been in this game 30 years, spent 27 of those years in the limelight. I've been dubbed by the press a communist, a socialist, an anarchist, a terrorist, a racist, a bigamist, a sexist, a rapist and just about every other -ist in the English language. There are haters out there, Harry, who are envious and want to see a man like me taken down just because they can't stand the thought of my perpetual success."

"You're one of the most notorious bachelors on the planet. Do you ever plan to settle down, marry again, have more children?" asked Harry.

Without hesitating, Brink answered, "Settle down? I'm too busy to settle down. Besides, I'm only 55-years-old, and I have the body of a man 10 years younger. There'll be plenty of time to produce more offspring in the future if that's what I choose to do, Harry."

Harry jumped in again, "Interesting that you should say that, Richard, because a handful of women already claim that you have more offspring."

"Harry, stop reading the tabloids. Until I receive a court order for a paternity test, these claims can be taken about as seriously as an alien abduction story," replied Brink. "I'm a billionaire, and I like to have fun. Some of these women will do anything they can to pick my pocket."

"Including take some hush money?" asked Harry.

Brink reached for his glass of water, raised it to his mouth and took a long drink. He put the glass back down gently and then turned to look into the camera. "This concludes my 23rd and potentially last interview with Harry Flores." With that, he stood up and walked away from the table.

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