On Writing “Gone”


In my twenties, I did a bit of writing, and a bit of other things. Mostly drinking.

In my thirties, I wrote more consistently, but I was raising a child alone for part of it, and working on quitting all that drinking.

I told myself that, by forty, I would be published. I didn’t tell myself I would quit writing if it didn’t happen, but that I’d likely give up trying to get published.

Then I signed my first publishing contract when I was thirty-nine. Just made it!

Pretty soon the goal became to write for a living. After a couple more books, it seemed possible, then became actual. The next goal was to write a big, best-seller by age forty-five.

It happened sooner than I thought.

GONE coverNow, what constitutes a “big best-seller” is arguable. And, even by my own standards, it hasn’t *exactly* happened yet. What did happen was that several elements came together to produce “Gone”, a book which has sold over 30,000 copies in its first month.

“Gone”’s success was unexpected. It was originally titled “Ricochet,” and anticipated (at least by me) to be a book that outperformed its predecessors – just not by a thousand percent. The retitling of the book, the cover image chosen, the marketing strategy, the market climate at the time of its release – all these things came together to send it soaring into the best-seller ranks.


In terms of what “Gone” is about, no, I’m not really a conspiracy theorist. That said, I do think critically about a lot of issues, and know there’s usually more to the story then depicted in mainstream media. Plus, I have a pretty active imagination.

The basic plot of “Gone” occurred to me during the writing of another book, “Daybreak.” It’s easy to get a little paranoid when writing about government cover-ups, especially of the magnitude in Daybreak. So there was a part of me (let’s say 10%) that wondered: what if there are ramifications for this? What if a couple guys in dark suits come knocking at my door? And, a story was born.

Maybe you’ve thought about it, too. In the old days, it might be the phone ringing, and no one’s there. Today, it’s your computer glitching out or crashing and you wonder – are They watching me?

For the record, though, I believe the vast majority of people who work in law enforcement and government are good people. Sometimes the system itself can get out of control, but most of the time individual people are decent, and not getting together to defraud the public, or control the world.

Most of the time.


I’m a recovering addict who tends to be impatient for results, frequently rushing to complete a task. Sometimes, my addict-brain just wants to offload something and be done with it, move on.

Today, my goals are set differently. The aim now is to produce a book that I feel completely good about, from stem to stern, that I don’t rush, that really pleases a lot of readers, and I’m trying not to set any time limit for this. I’m taking it one day at a time.

That said, new books are in the works, including new “North Country” books like Gone.

(See, I just can’t help it.)


Thanks so much for reading, and supporting. God bless.