It has been almost four years since the public release of the first Joe Mckibben novel. It has been a time of both joy and frustration. The joy came from the sales of THE PROVIDENCE OF DEATH, even after circumstances ended almost all promotion of the book two years ago. Not only did readers continue to buy it, emails arrived from readers who said they enjoyed the book, loved the widower, Joe McKibben, and wanted another story about him.
The frustration, in part, is the delays caused by continuing physical issues that included a forced move from Hampton, Virginia, to Raleigh, North Carolina. And on the writing side, the struggle to make the story the best it can be has added to the delay. Giving in to a personal quirk has not made the task easier.
During my newspaper days and through all the years I wrote historical non-fiction articles and books, the why of an event intrigued me more than the other Ws, who, what, when, where. There was never time in the next-story rush of daily journalism to seek out answers to why. During the years of writing about historical events, time allowed more research, but the answers to why remained elusive.
With the decision to delve into creative writing, why became the starting point, an element of my own creation. Joe McKibben is an ordinary man who is reluctant to do what he feels he needs and wants to do. Why he feels this reluctance and how through the help of others he works his way past the fears and concerns causing it, is the story told in THE WEIGHT OF EMPTINESS.
With much of the story residing in the mind of the main character, the approach of showing, not telling, proved to be a challenge. Placing him in situations where he had to physically react, or creating comments for him in scenes involving dialogue, became the method to show his inner feelings. That is not as easy as it might sound. In pursuit of the idea of making all this writing the best one can, I’m at that stage where Dorothy Parker (no relation) said, “I can’t write five words but that I change seven.”