ABOUT THE BOOK

This is my first novel, and it was conceived and written over an eight-year period, a hectic time of my life. I was in and out of hospitals with a myriad of problems—lymphoma, chemo, stem cell transplant, mini stroke, heart attack, sepsis, and malignant mouth surgery. A side effect from the transplant therapy left me with serious cornea issues.  For the first three years, I composed the plot and subplots in my mind because the vision problems impacted my ability to read and type.

Late in 2004, I underwent cornea and cataract surgery, and in 2005, I typed the first draft— a manuscript of 700 single spaced pages. Although fiction, the fictional plot was wrapped around real events and issues in the style of Exile, written by Richard North Patterson, and State of Fear by Michael Creighton. The original manuscript contained several sub-plots and a great deal of political material. Before submitting the manuscript for an editorial evaluation early in 2006, I went through a first self-edit which shortened the manuscript to about 600 pages. The first editorial evaluation was encouraging, but the editor recommended that I reduce the size and restructure the manuscript.

At about this time, my vision began to deteriorate further. The glare made it virtually impossible to see the keyboard and the copy on the monitor. The monitor problem was solved by changing to a black background with white letters, but the keyboard was still a problem and progress was slow. In 2008, I submitted the manuscript, now 500 pages, for a second evaluation edit, and the editor was even more encouraging and suggested that I refine the manuscript further. I implemented the suggestions but reached an impasse with the vision issue, and progress was slow. I now acquired a reading machine which permitted me to sign checks, read the mail and other printed and written matter, and I was able to make changes to the manuscript as my wife, Ellen, proofread and annotated the printed pages.   

In 2009, I was referred to the Boston Foundation for Sight for evaluation, and after being fitted with Celera Lens prosthetics my vision improved dramatically (a miracle) so that I was able to resume writing. My editorial consultant suggested that I work with a developmental editor to hone the final product, and in February 2010, I began working with the editor. He suggested 560 changes mainly focused on eliminating all the sub-plots and all the political material, and reorganizing and restructuring the flow of the manuscript. At the completion of this effort, the manuscript was drastically reduced from 500 single spaced pages to 560 double spaced pages, eliminating all but a sliver of the political material.  

The final product was not what I had in mind when I began to write. Now that I have more clarity, I can see that my initial effort, a saga, could have been woven into three distinct novels. I also considered perpetuating one of the main characters in one of the sub-plots as a lead character in subsequent novels, but I abandoned that plan when I shortened the manuscript and all but wrote him out of the story.  Now that my eyesight has improved to permit me to do research, I plan to incorporate the jettisoned material into a non-fiction book and another novel.