Friday, November 13, 2009

Raising the Dead (Manuscript) PART II by Robert W. Walker

Yes, more about the novel I dug out of its grave to breathe life into it and reshape it and publish it. I have kindle-lized my so-called “dead” novel that would never see print according to the powers that be—the people who determine for you and me what is bestseller material, what they will get behind, what they will put on shelves for our reading pleasure. I am still waiting for a green light from a traditional publisher for Bloodroot which is now Children of Salem, but now it is a different book as a close friend and fanatical reader on finishing the last rewrite of this cursed book said to me, “This is an historical romance, Rob.” And she gave me a number of points in the novel where the romance could and should come to the forefront and such things as the geography of a witch hunt needs find the backdrop. She was right, of course, and I changed the title thereafter from Bloodroot to Children of Salem and subtitled it “Romance in the time of the Witch Trials.” And thereafter on the final final rewrite, I transformed this opus (160,000 words that breaks down in three books – another reason for its being a cursed book in the eyes of agents and editors I have known).

I transformed Bloodroot from a seriously wrought historical novel pitched on the fork of one attitude on my part to an entirely different pitchfork…the attitude of the writer of romance and intrigue, and a far less serious-seeming attitude it is.

I use the term serious here to describe my approach, my internal dialogue with myself about the nature of the novel that changed so much over the years from a dissertation –literally as it was my dissertation at Northwestern University in first draft in 1972 that set me to work on this accursed journey to craft a truly worthwhile novel that would go well beyond the famous play, the Crucible written by Marilyn Monroe’s husband as an allegory for McCarthyism. Arthur Miller did his homework and crafted an amazingly close to the truth play, and I suspect he read Francis Marion’s nonfiction work on the subject in order to write his play. I was determined to write an expose to shed light on every aspect of the event, something no play could do but perhaps a novel might.

Of course while putting the novel away and taking it out every couple few years to rewrite it, I wrote other titles—in fact over forty-five—and I honed my craft, and in writing my Chicago City series begun with City for Ransom and the award-winning Shadows in the White City, and the trilogy ender City of the Absent, I realized that what I took to 1893, I needed to take (this attitude) to 1692. Finding the right attitude toward the work and going back in for a final time to rework it as a thriller yes but a romantic thriller and a romantic historical changed everything down t the title – Children of Salem.

Not that the curse has been lifted as it sits on the desk now of one agent for what will be a year in February….and it has continued to be turned down with a lovely note attached but now I KNOW it is not the work that is cursed but the so-called business of traditional publishing that is cursed. And so it was with absolute confidence that I set myself up as my own digital publisher and published Children of Salem via the Kindle store where it is available on the Kindle and in many another format for a modest price. And I have also placed it on the paperless, virtual shelf at

Admittedly, in its earlier permutations and form, Bloodroot should most certainly have been rejected but not Children of Salem. I had every reason and the some to give up on this novel; I even began to believe it had a curse on it and did not want to be told—that perhaps the villains in the piece, based on real historical people, were working against me. But by the same token, Jeremiah Wakely would not let me off so easily; he kept coming back at me and demanding my attention and time and devotion to this story. A good thirty years later I don’t need traditional publishers to finally get this tome, this opus, this book I was born to write out of my bottom drawer forever and into the hands of readers. It is outselling all my other ebooks put together, including the HarperCollins pubbed City Series books that have been priced to high for the typical kindle reader’s liking. Bottom line is that technology I could not have imagined even a year ago has given me a platform and a publication springboard for Children of Salem. And now a first review of the book has popped up on Amazon and it is vindication balm for its author—a FIVE-STAR review. You can read the review and see the great artwork at:

Thanks for reading this obsessed author’s blog and happy reading and writing to you. Do leave a comment and let me hear from you.



Morgan Mandel said...

45 titles! I'm glad I came up with one sooner than that - with a little help from a friend over here, Rob.

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

Rob! Congrats on your STAYING POWER . . . I'm sure many more good reviews will follow.

And thanks for giving us much to think about regarding those manuscripts that don't fig pubs "slots."

Rob said...

Thanks for the comments. I have put this up on Twitter and facebook tryng to get new readers to Acme....if they leave no comment, I don't know if they come by or not....Oh well.