Yeah, yeah. I’ve been neglecting my blog. But I’ve got a great excuse. Swear. In early 2012, I began work on a project of immense magnitude. After an accidental online meeting with Cait Boyce (wife of Christopher Boyce, the infamous “Falcon” from the book and movie The Falcon and the Snowman written by Robert Lindsey and starring Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn) I embarked upon a project that would have sent my 15-year-old self into spasms of freakish joy.
But first, a bit of background. (Don’t you hate it when writers do that? I do. I’m doing it anyway. So read on, if you will.) Bowing to the constant pressure of my wonderful wife, Jane, I wrote and self-published my first short story on the Amazon marketplace. It was called Night Visit and was an ode to one of my biggest heroes, Richard Matheson. It was about 850 words long and told the story of a ghost communicating with the living through a Ouija board.
Cait Boyce read it and loved it. At least I think she did. She must have. Because the first thing she did after reading it was ask me if I was interested in helping her tell her life story – an epic, too-incredible-to-be-true tale of how she freed a couple of guys nicknamed The Falcon and The Snowman from a life behind bars while fighting cancer. I was flabbergasted. The first thing I did was suggest to her that she contact a real writer to help her out. After she insisted, I agreed.
The end result was a book called American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman. I won’t bore you with the details. All you have to do to find out more is click the very obviously placed link above. Suffice it to say that when the writing was done, I felt like Rocky at the top of the steps. Today, I feel like Rocky in the fifteenth round of his first title shot. Beaten into a corner but still slugging away.
You see, writing a book is one thing. You experience amazing highs when you look at your words and you think “My God, this is good shit!” and unbelievable lows when you’re absolutely positive you’ve bitten off way more than you could ever swallow. Promoting a book once it’s been written – and doing it the indie way, without the support and backing of a publishing company or agent – is another thing entirely. Some days you feel like a man against the world. Other days you’re positively certain your marketing ideas are brilliant. Most of the time, you’re not sure where you stand.
Since the book’s publication (first as an e-book, later as a print-on-demand paperback) we have received incredible support from a rabid fan base of followers I’d throw my arms around if I could. We’ve heard from one Hollywood celebrity who loved it so much she Tweeted about it to 1.5 million of her faithful followers and expressed interest in turning it into a movie. We’ve spoken to publishing company reps who said there’s no audience for it. And we’ve heard from readers who said they tore through the book in a single day and couldn’t stop crying afterward.
I prefer to think of the latter. The book I helped bring to fruition has touched a lot of people, and in my heart of hearts (a cliche I know our book editor Nancy LaFever would probably reprimand me for using) I recognize that’s worth a hell of a lot more than money. And then there’s the final kicker: Robert Lindsey himself, author of the original book and coiner of the title The Falcon and the Snowman, got in touch to tell us that he loved the book. I almost wept when I read those words.
Most importantly, I have made two wonderful friends in Cait and Christopher Boyce – two of the most inspiring people I have ever met. Together, they’ve surmounted more odds than most people could ever dream of. And I got to go out into the grasslands with The Falcon himself and watch him fly his glorious bird. You can bet your ass I heard every note of Pat Metheny’s musical score playing in my head as that took place.
I have arrived at the conclusion that I am leading a charmed life. Took 44 years to kick in, but sometimes the wait is worth everything.