Do what you know – is that it?

As many of you know, most of my books have been in what could easily be categorized as a middle grade (MG) or young adult (YA) fantasy genre.

My bio makes it pretty clear that I started writing mostly because I wanted to entertain my boys (who are now both voracious teenage readers). So as they got older, the content of my material got “older” and potentially more complex.

After roughly 500,000 words of written, revised, edited and finally published material – I can easily say it has certainly been a fantastic learning experience.

Along the way, I’ve personally met many members of the publishing industry, whether it was editors, publishers, authors of every stripe (NYT bestselling ones as well as up-and-coming ones). Some of these folks I now consider to be friends.

Oddly enough, I found myself being somewhat dissatisfied with what I’d been writing. Let’s face it, I’ve spent the better part of three decades being an engineer. I do research, I look at things from the perspective of what will happen a decade+ from now and my personal interests have always been in the sciences.

I mentioned this in passing to some of those aforementioned friends and a couple of them gave me the same advice.

“Do what you know.”

Seems simple enough. But in fact, what they meant was that since I’d built up, through sweat equity, some reasonable writing chops and because I had an unusual (for a writer) background as a scientist – why don’t I try my hand at writing something less “fantasy” and more based on science.

Sometimes, it takes someone outside your own head to make clear what should have been utterly obvious. I’d always been a fan of thrillers. You know the kind that you find at the airports (I’ve done lots of traveling in my day), whether it’s Clancy, Grisham or Crichton – they all wrote the same kind of action-packed suspense/thriller type of books.

I’ve always had a knack for building suspense or action scenes, so doing a thriller made lots of sense – and that’s when it all became clear. Crichton was the master of the techno-thriller.

His background wasn’t that different than mine, except I’ve practiced in the field of science for much longer than he had. With the advent of the internet (and having lots of friends in academia, NASA, industry) I could research many things, even if they weren’t what I’ve personally done. I’ll fully admit I’m a science geek. I’ve never needed to understand the differences in general vs special relativity, but I know what they are. I’ve studied particle physics as a hobby (I know – nerd) and my entire family is in medicine and I grew up and was schooled in it – so I have a bit of a clue about that too.

Oh, and I kinda have this writing, plotting, dialog, characterization thing somewhat under control.

Damn, some of my friends are probably right.

I should start writing techno-thriller type things.

So, I suppose that’s why I’m writing this blog post. Letting you guys know that my large pause in publishing right now is because I’ve already written several books that I’ve not yet released. One of them is very much a high-tech thriller. I hope to be able to announce dates and other information about it and the rest before the end of the year.

Let’s just say that one of them has to do with the possible end of our world. No big deal, really.  😆

As things evolve, I’ll let you know.


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