Moody Blues

Five Facts About Wish You Were Here

This is the first of a few “behind the pages” looks at my books, sharing some little known facts about the works. This week: Wish You Were Here.

Fact #1 – Yes, the Title is From the Pink Floyd Song

No, there isn’t a scene depicting this in the book.

I’m often asked this, so there’s the official confirmation. The original book, as written, contained the lyrics of five songs worked into the story. These were removed prior to publication because I couldn’t afford to pay for the rights to reproduce them. I’d certainly like to issue an updated edition one day that had the songs worked back in (along with the remainder of the accompanying scenes during which the songs are played in the story). The novel itself is divided into five “books,” each one named after the songs, although there’s no indication that this is the case. For the record (and in order), the songs are:

  • “What Am I Doing Here?” by The Moody Blues – Not one of their better known songs and only available (as of this writing) on Caught Live + Five (vinyl) or Prelude (CD).
  • “Night Vision” by Suzanne Vega – I first heard this as the B-side of her 1987 hit, “Luka.” It turned out to be the perfect song for a scene in the book.
  • “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd – What is there to say?
  • “Land Ho” by Roger Hodgson – Released on his second solo LP, Hai Hai, this particular song was written back in his Supertramp days.
  • “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits – Another song that just fit the story beautifully.

Oh, and yes, there is in fact a complete soundtrack to the book. The remaining songs that round it out are all instrumental pieces. Perhaps one day I’ll share those with you, too.

Fact #2 – My Cover Artist Saved Me From Embarrassing Myself

When my cover artist was reading the book to get a feel for the sort of cover she was going to do, she caught a boo-boo in the story. There’s a scene where the protagonist is watching someone field dress a rabbit. I got an email from her saying, “That’s not how you do that.”

Uh, no. Wrong kind of rabbit. Wrong kind of dress.

She’d caught me in a moment of lazy writing. I typically am good about researching things. For that book, I learned more about horses and herbology than you’d believe (and have, of course, forgotten most of it, now). But I didn’t look up how to field dress a rabbit. My bad.

Fact #3 – It’s a Damn Long Book

To my amazement, the book clocks in at more than 300,000 words. This makes it a good bit shorter than the complete The Lord of the Rings, but longer than the second and third books of that trilogy combined. Or for the Harry Potter fans, a bit longer than Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire combined.

I should really charge more for this book.

As I said, this amazed me when I realized it, because I believe (and others have told me) that the book reads very quickly.

Fact #4 – The Book Was Published at a Very Bad Time

The original edition of the book (there have been two) was released in August of 2001. Yes, just a month before a rather infamous event in U.S. history. And the simple truth is that consumer spending dropped considerably in the wake of 9-11. No, it didn’t last long, but another truth is that I wasn’t particularly motivated by that time to try to get people to buy the thing.

No words.

The second edition was released after my second book, One Nation Under God, had gained a lot of great reviews. (But again, since I hate marketing, it’s not as well known.)

Fact #5 – It is the First Book of a Planned Trilogy

Yes, I just said the first book was published in August of 2001, which is very nearly 14 years ago, as I write this. And the second book (which is, in fact, begun) probably won’t be published until 2020. With luck, book three in 2023. Those are just guesstimates, of course.

Besides, I’ve got another trilogy to complete, first.

Though, if she continues to piss me off, I may not finish her books.



Posted by vmwales in Five Facts, 0 comments