Today I welcome new author Don Franklin to Exquisite Corpse. Here is the story of his path to publishing his debut novel “The Reaper’s Walk: Hellstone”.
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I was born in 1965 in a small town in South Carolina. I have 3 children, aged 3, 4, and 21. I live in Stowe, VT and moved here in 2006 from Richmond, VA. I’m a professional driver by trade; I drive a mountain shuttle bus for skiers during the season. Off season, I spend as much time as I can with my children and writing.
I am 46 years old and I’ve never written anything before this, but people have been telling me for many years that I should write a book because I tell colorful stories about my hometown and my childhood. I got the idea for “The Reaper’s Walk” in 2006 while looking at a stretch of land that was unused. I thought, what if a piece of land that is in a metropolitan city today was cursed hundreds of years ago?
In “The Reaper’s Walk”, a deal is made with the Devil. It is broken and the Devil curses the offending family along with the land that they lived on. Five generations later, one member of this family has to make good the terms of the bargain, The Devil is sending the Reaper to collect her soul. She searches for a way to save herself and attract the attention of beasties along the way.
I finished the story in 2010 and struggled with the nuts and bolts of writing. I joined several writers’ sites to try to get some feedback and advice. I was told that one of my weak points was switching tense and passive voice. I didn’t have the money for an editor and the story was not ready to submit to anyone without one, so it sat idle until this past February.
I decided to take a chance and submit anyway just in case someone liked the story enough to offer editing. First I tried for an agent. That was a bust. So next I decided to try an e-publisher. I submitted to two places and got a flat out “no”.
The third was Greyhart Publishing. Tim Taylor (publisher) told me to send him a partial manuscript. Then he asked for the full manuscript. Five weeks later he said that in its current form, he could not take the story on, but if I did a re-structure then he would look at it again. I took his suggestions and resubmitted the story.
He loved it and offered me a contract. He said that the skills of writing could be learned, and that all else failing, a good editor could work wonders. But if the story itself was not good enough then it wouldn’t sell regardless as to how perfect the writing was.
So in essence I got published on my third query! I know that’s not how it usually goes in the book world. I feel that I got lucky.
Now that I’m into writing, I like it and don’t think I will stop. After the Reaper series, I have an idea or two kicking around the brain pan. Maybe a sci fi / horror hybrid. I love both genres so why not?
When you ask about the influences on my writing, my favourite writer hands down is Stephen King. I have always been impressed at his ability to weave a story and allow me, as a reader, to immerse myself and become part of it. Also I love the way he adds small things in different books that tie into other books.
“The Reaper’s Walk: Hellstone” is book one in a planned five book Reaper’s Walk series. I am hard at work on book two now. It will be called “The Reaper’s Walk :Bloodstone.”
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“The Reaper’s Walk: Hellstone” is the first novel by new author Don Franklin. Published by Greyhart Press, the projected release date is late October 2012 and will be available in e-book and paperback. Please visit the author’s website to read an excerpt and view the book trailer.