A LESSON FROM LEE CHILD

Someone asked me how long it took to write The Trust Company. The actual process of writing the novel took almost no time. From hammering the prologue on the keyboard to tapping out the epilogue was only six months. Keep in mind I had a full time job at this time (and still do), so this was strictly a nights and weekends endeavor. What I did NOT appreciate at the time was the painstaking work of cutting and editing to make the book manageable. When I finished the original manuscript, it was over 185,000 words long. All the main characters and some of the minor ones had elaborate back stories. After a visit to a writers conference, I discovered the depressing state of publishing and the fact that a novel so long would never obtain representation. It took an additional nine months of cutting and re-organizing to get the novel to its current length.
I know, I know...the military, munitions and spycraft elements of The Trust Company seem realistic. Would you believe that I spent almost no time researching this aspect of the book? It's true! All of the bomb-making details are completetly made up, as I have had no experience in the military or with weaponries. The choice of weapons was based on cursory Googling of pistols, rifles and explosives. (I am certain my computer has been flagged by Homeland Security.) In this aspect of the book I took a lesson from one of my favorite authors, Lee Child, who pointed out that an author can make something sound incredibly realistic by simply making stuff up that seems intuitively right. Chances are that even if it is not factually correct, the reader won't know and will be completely absorbed in the story anyway, and the details the author makes up convey some sense of realism.
Nick Sanders. I love my character Nick. Yes, his background does seem a little preposterous. I mean, only in the movies will you see an Ivy League tax lawyer with all of the military experience and FBI training that Nick has. (hmmm, I am thinking Robert Downey Jr. as Nick...) Ironically, Nick's background is lifted, with permission of course, from a former law partner of mine who was a practicing tax lawyer from an Ivy League school, so bored with the practice that he quit and joined the Marines. (Incidentally, after a distinguished career in the military, that person has since returned to private law practice but still holds a Marine Reserve rank of Lt. Colonel.) In a sense, it is one of the most realistic parts of the book.

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