My Eleventh Novel

by Robert Ferrigno

My eleventh novel, Heart of the Assassin, is being published on August 11, and I'm more worried about it than I am about my retirement (ha-ha) account. I should be happy. My editor is happy. My agent is happy. Heart is the third book in a trilogy of political thrillers set forty years in the future. Sales of the first two books of have been good. Publishers Weekly gave this third book a starred review. Happy. Happy. Me, I'm nervous. 

While writing a novel, the author is a god. When you write thrillers, you are often a vengeful god --- and let’s be honest, what’s the fun of being a god if you can’t call up death and destruction when the mood hits? Characters live and die by my whim. Love blooms and fades by my command. I decide whether the ending is happy or sad. That cough may be a summer cold or something worse. And watch out for the girl with green eyes. It’s nice being a god, but once you turn in a completed manuscript, you get tossed out of heaven. 

The author is now a supplicant. I pray for a great book jacket. A British publisher once stuck a jacket on one of my books that looked like a rejected proposal from a James Bond Book. An Italian jacket, featuring a blue-toned handcuffed male nude, would have been more appropriate on a stylish S&M primer. 

I pray for a good author photo for the jacket. The photo used on my last few books is ten years out of date. I sent in a current photo. The house publicist sent it back with a sweet note saying everyone in the department thought the younger version “reproduced better.” I didn’t even know my vasectomy showed. 

I pray that the books are delivered to the bookstore in time for my appearance. 

I pray for a public reading where an older lady in the audience chooses not to inform me that she reads mysteries because she doesn’t like being surprised, and I’m not holding up my end of the bargain by killing off characters she’s grown to like. 

Most of all, I pray for book reviewers who had a wonderful weekend with someone they love before writing their review of my book.

Robert FerrignoComment