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Breathing life into my first novel: FATAL INDEMNITY

Updated on August 15, 2012
Buy Fatal Indemnity at eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3816684
Buy Fatal Indemnity at eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3816684

The birth of a novel

In the mid-90's, after I turned 30, had married, bought two houses and had my first child on the way, I embarked on one of my lifelong ambitions - to write a novel. To my recollection it originated with my first grade teacher, and was nurtured and supported by my parents: the notion that I could be a writer. It's funny how you don't recognize these things in yourself when you're younger, but as you get older, you begin to reflect on your particular set of talents, and how you can use them to effect the world in positive ways. By my parents description, I began reading voraciously right after I learned to walk. Of course, that could be an exaggeration, but I did devour books, and found myself lost in story after story.

So back to the mid-90's. Around this time, some of the genres I was reading were mysteries. One day, I learned that a former neighbor and teammate on my high school track and cross country teams had published a pretty successful little novel, which came with a million-dollar advance, and I took notice.

You may have heard of the book: The Notebook , written by Nicholas Sparks.

In any event, it made me realize - you know, that synaptic connection - that I could get there from here. That someone with my particular set of talents, skills, who grew up in the same place I did, could achieve something significant in life. It opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

I didn't think I had skills in writing romantic or sentimental material like Nick Sparks, but I did enjoy the process of creating, of feeling words and images flow through my fingers on to the paper. So I grabbed my pen and notepad, and started spending a few minutes each day scoping out a plot line, creating multi-dimensional characters, and fleshing out a novel.

That novel became Fatal Indemnity. Available at:

CreateSpace e-store

Barnes & Noble

Amazon Kindle Version

Write what you know

When I embark on a new project, I tend to do a lot of research, and one of the more compelling pieces of advice I read was to write about what you know. I remember thinking, "I don't do anything that would be interesting to someone else." Little did I know that the growth of reality TV was just around the corner!

At the time I was an insurance claims adjuster, and worked with a lot of investigators, so I started playing with this idea of my protagonist being an insurance investigator. Through the crazy business of handling workers compensation claims for many years, I was exposed to a boatload of stories, which I massaged a little to imbed into the story, with maybe just a little dramatization for effect.

I finished around the time my daughter was born, and launched the novel by sending it to a number of agents, one of whom agreed to try to sell my novel to book publishers. When that didn't pan out, I started working on my second novel. Eventually, Fatal Indemnity became relegated to being on computer disk, with scores of printed and marked-up versions of the book in file drawers at home.

And then crickets...

Every year, I like to have at least one notable goal before me - last year, it was to complete my first marathon. After talking with a friend about how computer technology becomes obsolete after time, and about how easy it is now to self-publish, and I found myself digging this little novel from the archives. I dusted it off, re-read it, did just a few minor edits, and sent it off!

The blurb

Here's how I crafted the blurb for the back of the book:

"In the insurance investigation business, it’s not often that I deal with weighty issues from the criminal justice system. Most of my time is spent conducting lightweight investigations, hoping to find someone with a drunken driving record, which I’m embarrassed to say I dive into with palpable zeal.

Until I met Verna Lawton.

My insatiable curiosity - the same that got me sent home in third grade for putting hot sauce in my teacher’s coffee - has led me into a world of yard gnomes, muddy river baths and shadowy homeless camps. All because I had to find out what happened to a cranky old woman whose life of misfortune ended shortly after I met her.

As I hide in the corner of the darkened office of my former boss late at night, I peer through the fish tank as a roomful of thugs walks in. I don’t think they can spot me in the dimly-lit room, but I didn’t have time to escape. I think the Chinese Algae Eater is on to me.

A man pulls a cigarette from his breast pocket, removes a match from between his teeth and lights it. I notice his eyes are closed as he inhales. When he opens them, he stares straight at me. I feel a chill run down my body as I duck my head.

I wonder whether Verna knew what she was doing when she came to our offices that morning.

I wonder whether I know what I’m doing now."

The release

I still wonder, but I'm happy to say - 14 years after it was created, Fatal Indemnity has been officially released into the ether. You will soon find versions on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and there will even be a Kindle version.

Later this summer, expect to see my second novel, Dominic Graves, to also be released.

As I state in my Hub profile, "It's an amazing world where we can jot down our observations and have another reader, often on the other side of the planet, read and relate."

I hope you do, and I sincerely thank you for your support.

~ G

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CreateSpace e-store

Barnes & Noble

Amazon Kindle Version

Comments

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    • shalini sharan profile image

      shalini sharan 5 years ago from Delhi

      amazing work, it is a perfect encouragement for dreamers

      i wish you success with the book

    • profile image

      WhydThatHappen 5 years ago

      That's fantastic, congrats on your success!

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thank you, Shalini and WTH! This should be an interesting ride!

    • shalini sharan profile image

      shalini sharan 5 years ago from Delhi

      i am sure it would be, the plot seems fascinating, i must book a copy :)

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      Such a great novel! I just got it and I can't put it down. Your talent and perseverance will lead you to success. I have no doubt about it.

      I hope you do something amazing to celebrate your book's release. It is no small achievement. Congratulations!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      This is great news and congratulations on getting published.

      I have a question please, were you charged for editing for ebook?

      Voted up useful and interesting, Joyce.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Your hub about your novel is well written and interesting, so I expect your novel is, too.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thank you, Klara - my greatest cheerleader! And, the first to get a copy. ;-) I will have to do just that - I've been too focused on trying to get the cover design done for my second book to realize taking time to celebrate launching this one is a good idea!

      writer20 - I didn't use an editor for this book. For years, when I was writing this one, then then my second one, I used writer's groups, which is actually much more effective. We'd meet on a regular basis and review each other's work, with a commitment to honesty and a tough skin. I used CreateSpace, an Amazon affiliate because they were reasonably priced and were able to offer the book to people at a low enough price to make it viable for purchase ($10.99). In the past, with others, it was ridiculously high for me, and you had to charge buyers $18-20 per copy, which just seemed counter-productive and silly.

      B. Leekley - I hope so. It's fun and fast-paced, and represents the irreverent thinking of Gerg in his early 30's. ;-)

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Oh wow this is such an amazing achievement... you've done so well congratulations, & count me in to buy & share...oh and your hub is so well written & explained...vote up, awesome, interesting and every wish for success...cheers

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thank you, carter06! I really appreciate the support from down under!

      G

    • TKs view profile image

      TKs view 5 years ago from The Middle Path

      The book sounds great, gerg.

      A good writers group can make a world of difference when it comes to editing. I'm in one and they've helped me immensely.

      I've heard of CreateSpace before and will check it out. Will be looking forward to hearing about your continued success.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Many thanks, TK - he who shares in being part of the illustrious group mentioned by Klara in her hub video! ;-)

      Best, G

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Congratulations, you have already succeeded! You have written your book. What a wonderful milestone. I look forward to reading.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      arb - thank you. I admit I did this to get it out of my system, but in re-reading, editing it, I actually enjoyed playing with these characters for a bit again. This may sound funny, but I laughed out loud at a couple of places - especially when I described the yard gnomes and the couch covered in several layers of towels and blankets, to which my character says, "I guess I'll never be a princess!" This was my grandmother's couch. I imbedded personal stories and memories into so many of the scenes.

      Thanks for your support!

      G

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      I will let you know when i receive it!

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 5 years ago

      Well, I've read your previous drafts, but I will order the book from Amazon today. Good job Greg

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      I just checked - it's on Amazon!!! Will link above, but here: http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Indemnity-Gregory-S-Wi...

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Congrats on achieving a major goal and all the very best for a successful marketing campaign.. Good on you mate! Take care...

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Many thanks, Pearldiver!

    • BeyondMax profile image

      BeyondMax 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Oh My God, this is fantastic! G, congratulation on such a milestone! It's amazing! Wow! Awesome job!

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thanks Max! I was jazzed that it finally made it on Amazon. They're finishing the Kindle version, which I hope will be ready soon...

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Congratulations, Gerg! Best of luck with your book - I hope you sell lots of copies!

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thanks Alicia - certainly I wouldn't mind that, though I feel I've already crossed the finish line! :-)

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 5 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Gerg, CONGRATS on the publishing of your novel and wishing you the best in the future and your new book coming out. This hub is great and I am going to purchase the Kindle edition. Klara told me about this and I will share with my follows also.

      Congrats again!!!

      Mark (the clean life)

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      Mark, who's Klara? Lol

      By the way, Mark, you've probably noticed I've been MIA today. Well... I've checked forums from my phone a few times but that's it. I seriously can't put this book down! You should all get it!

      Mark, yours is next. Then Nell Rose's. What a list!

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 5 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Why you don't know Klara?? LOL. I just started one more hub, but I should go to sleepy LOL. I sent you email

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      Sorry, Greg! We turned your hub into a forum. Outta here... :D

      I'm going back to my book.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      No problem, a'tall! It's a reasonable 11:08 on the Pacific Coast...you east-coasters should be sleeping!

      Thanks TCL and Klara for your support!

      G

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I am so thrilled for you, Gerg. Wow...like you, I hold that dream of being published. Great going and kudos for never giving up. I'll be sure to check it out-I am intrigued. Two thumbs up

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thank you Denise!

    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Congratulations! That is great news. The novel sounds like a great read. There should definitely be two major celebrations in your plans with the second book coming out this summer! Impressive. Take some time to enjoy this special time. I plan to check out both of your books. Thanks for sharing!

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      I very much appreciate your support and encouragement, yoginijoy!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      You and Nicholas Sparks from the same neighborhood! Wow! Something in the water, perhaps? lol!

      Can't afford to BUY your book right now and don't have a Kindle but will definitely put it on my Amazon Wish List for the next time I'm given a Gift Card. Sounds like a real page-turner for sure!

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 5 years ago

      I received my copy from Amazon yesterday evening via UPS. Looking forward to reading it.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      JG - yes, it's funny actually. Nick was a couple of years behind me, and probably would have been one of those people you dimly remember from High School (he did sign my yearbook), except that he's become such a success... I'm happy for him. My favorite book of his is actually a memoir: "Three Weeks With My Brother".

      Outstanding, Dad! I'll be interested in hearing how you see it vs. years ago when you and Sandy first read a draft...

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      Just finished reading it, and all I can say is that I need a manicure ASAP! Nail-biting plot, suspense until the end, characters that feel like real people, and action... action... ACTION until the very last page.

      Congratulations, Greg. You outdid yourself! I'm looking forward to the second novel. :-)

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thank you for the incredible endorsement, my friend!

      G

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Awesome feat, Greg! I'm so proud for you. I, too have a novel in my head. Any tips on marketing my book, when I get it written? I was looking into self-publishing, but I'd rather be paid for my book than pay to have it published. Any tips you can offer will be greatly appreciated!

      Congratulations on achieving your dream!

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Thanks bravewarrior. I'm just figuring out this stuff myself, to be honest. Years ago, I pushed hard to publish, and I finally just let go of expectation. I'm happy to share with you what I learn of marketing when I learn it. At this point, I felt I had words to share with the universe and I did so - what happens next is out of my control.

      I hope you find the inspiration to turn your book into reality.

      Best,

      Greg

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I have the inspiration, Greg. Finding the time is the hard part, working full time for somone else's gain..... Poo! I'd appreciate it if you could email me with any suggestions.....

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      BW - I just sent you an email...

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Got it. Thank you so much!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Just to say that I bought your book on amazon kindle & can't wait to read...just finishing off another two first!! Your synopsis is great & such a good hook...cheers

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 4 years ago from California

      Thank you, carter06! It's been such a fun adventure; I really appreciate your support. :-)

      Greg

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      As B. Leekey says, the Hub is very well written so the book will probably be as well. It has a great deal of depth.

      As you've alluded to, some writing comes easily, some has to be 'dragged' out. For example, I wrote my first major work in 1968. Loved doing it. Enjoyed its progression.

      On the other hand, a very autobiographical type yarn which I penned as fiction not only took two decades to percolate into written form, it was agony writing it. Morever its cathartic effect wasn't fully felt even when the final sentence in the last chapter appeared on my typewriter. I had to put it aside and read it much, much later before its full release was felt.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 4 years ago from California

      Thanks Tom! Yes, I agree. I have this dichotomy that even expresses itself in my hubs - sometimes I'll take weeks tinkering with one and in the end it feels rather flat; others, I'll do in 45 minutes and it will spark, be naturally witty and fun to read. My sense is the more autobiographical I get, the more navel-gazing, which slows down the "pop" of the narrative. In this particular book (Fatal Indemnity), I think it just flows quickly and is an easy, fun read.

      For my second book, I tried to be more introspective, and while not autobiographical, when I tried to go deeper, all I ended up doing was slowing down the action, to the point where I wanted to poke it with a stick! In later edits, I sped up the action, I made it more fast-paced and snappy. I'm waiting for my final hard copy proof of that book (Dominic Graves) any day now ...

      I appreciate your insight and perspective!

      Greg

    • heavenleigh707 profile image

      Heaven L Burkes 4 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Congratulations! Much success to you with your book. :)

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 4 years ago from California

      Thank you, heavenleigh!

    • Miss Mimi profile image

      Miss Mimi 4 years ago from On the road again

      This sounds like a great book, and a really inspiring story about your journey to getting published. Congratulations!

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 4 years ago from California

      Thanks again, Miss Mimi - it's been a fun road (that's a dim reference to you being from "on the road again") ;-)

      G

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      How exciting and wonderful It is always wonderful when your first novel hits the stands. I will go check it out and purchase it.. I believe we should support each other as authors..

      What a wonderful time for you.. did you have a book signing?

      Merry Christmas

      Debbie

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 4 years ago from California

      Thanks Debbie - no, I didn't. I wrote it years ago thinking I was going to make a mint, but now when I published it, I did it just to get it out there. I know I should try to market it, but I'm just busy, or otherwise focused. Someday I really should! ;-) Thank you very much for your support!

      Greg

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Hi, Greg - I hope FATAL INDEMNITY and DOMINIC GRAVES are both finding the large audiences they deserve and that you have another suspense novel in the works. You're a talented writer. Happy New Year!

      Jaye

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 3 years ago from California

      Thank you so much, Jaye! I've been exploring the idea of a historical novel, but it hasn't made it much past the idea and research phase. You were amazingly helpful as a wonderful editor - I hope you're doing well!

      Happy new year back to you as well.

      Greg

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 3 years ago

      What is your thinking in terms of a historical novel? Some of our ancestry in the early U.S. might be good subject matter.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 3 years ago from California

      100 years ago. The period of time immediately preceding WW 1, specifically. I'm doing research now.

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 3 years ago

      Interesting. Are you thinking of U.S. history or other?

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 3 years ago from California

      Probably US. It's a fascinating period of time, and not explored nearly as often as WW2. Specifically, the pressures created after the vast immigration of multiple cultures, and leading up to the larger conflicts that those created, both within the US and then the world.

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 3 years ago

      That sounds like a great idea, with lots of possibilities. I don't see this period covered much.

    • Gerg profile image
      Author

      Gerg 3 years ago from California

      My interest was piqued by reading Dennis Lehane's The Given Day, set in Boston in 1918-19, culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919. Great book. I've since read some other period books - both fiction and non-fiction.

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 3 years ago

      Interesting. I know nothing about that, but will explore.

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