Sandra Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels including her latest,Deadline.
Recently my husband and I were having dinner with another couple whom we don’t see often because of geography. As the conversation turned to work-related news, they asked my opinion of eBooks.
My answer was completely self-interested. “Today I learned that one of my books, originally published in 1995, moved up three spots on the New York Times eBook bestsellers list. It’s been on there for six weeks. I’m feeling rather good about eBooks!”
In the past six months, eight of my backlist suspense novels have been made available as eBooks for the first time. In upcoming months, and well into 2014, eight more of that genre, as well as eighteen romances (published prior to 1990), will become available.
This represents an enormous and ever-expanding new market. Already new readers have discovered me. Longstanding fans have, for years, wanted to download their favorite Sandra Brown book, and now they can or will be able to soon. Readers who’ve become recent loyalists want to read the backlist because – God bless them – they feel as though they’ve missed something. In other countries readers are keystrokes away from acquiring books they couldn’t get before.
I’m loving it! But is there a downside?
I confess to an artistic concern about how the earlier books would stand up when compared to the more recent. So I read one of my backlist titles. A few pages in – I swear this is true – I laughed out loud at something a character said. I didn’t remember writing it. Honestly, my memory of the characters and plot line was hazy because I’ve written a couple dozen books since this one. But I was reassured. The trademarks of a newer Sandra Brown were there in that backlist title. It resonated with my “voice.” Every author has one. Apparently mine hasn’t changed all that much.
Now, please understand that books of any genre written in the 80's, 90's or early 2000's aren’t going to reflect current modes of thinking. Times have changed, and I’m not talking only about technology, but about societal issues with considerable heft. Dickensian characters speak, think, and act in a way that reflects the time period. So, if something said or done in an older Sandra Brown book jumps out at you as being horribly outdated, check the copyright date and cut me some slack, okay?
Coincidentally, the prologue for my newest book Deadline takes place way back in 1976. But the rest of the story is set in the present day, and my hero, Dawson Scott, suffers from a disorder we see far too often in today’s headlines: Post-Traumatic Stress.
I went to Afghanistan in 2011 on a USO tour. Naturally people expected me to use that experience as the backdrop for a story. I didn’t plan to, but I suppose the seed for an idea was planted and eventually took root.
Deadline isn’t specifically about the war. Dawson Scott isn’t a soldier, he’s a journalist. He went to the Middle East carrying a laptop, not a rifle, but his bird’s-eye-view of the war, and its aftereffects, were similar to those of fighting men and women.
With that premise in mind, I plotted Deadline. I think it’s a heck of a thriller. Even I was surprised by some of the twists!
And how does Dawson’s conflict tie in with what happened in 1976?
You’ll find the answer to that in the final pages of Deadline.