Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Loren D. Estleman is Writing My Books!

Those who know me a little better know that I wrote a novel about a film archivist working (where else) at the George Eastman House that gets involved in a murder investigation. It has been through a couple of revisions, but few have seen it because I haven't been completely satisfied with it.

Now I find out (from a non-mystery reading colleague, no less) that the legendary Loren D. Estleman has just released a novel called Frames, about a film archivist from UCLA that inadvertently gets involved in a murder investigation. This is the first novel in an anticipated series, but according to the webpage, the character has actually been around for a decade in short story form.

After I lifted my jaw off the floor, I surprised myself. If you had given this situation to me as a hypothetical, I imagine I would have told you that I would be furious, frustrated at having put all this work into something that someone better has put to page. But I wasn't. I was shocked to find that I was actually relieved. And excited.

I felt a pressure rise from my shoulders. I guess I always felt that a film archivist mystery was the book that I needed to write. No one else would write this book that I wanted to read. And I think that by trying to do that within some self-imposed restraints, the project became difficult for me and the quality suffered. Now I feel that if I never get that book published, at least someone else has done it. Estleman has, I hope, created the book that I want to read.

Not that he has created the book I want to write. But I will definitely read it and compare his idea of what a film archivist mystery should be to my own. It's possible that they're completely different. Although I'm sure his writing is much better.

In the meantime, though, I feel freed. I've been working on a secret project for a little while now. It's a big break from what I was writing before, but it's something I've been having fun with. If the other book gets re-examined a little later, that will be fine. But it doesn't have to be my first book anymore. I can do whatever I want.

4 comments:

Charles benoit said...

Write it? You wrote it, Justin!
For those of you who don't know, I had the honor of reading a draft of the book Justin wrote and I'm telling you IT IS DAMN GOOD.
I don't know what this other film archivist brings to the story - and frankly I don't care. Justin's book is outstanding, IRREGARDLESS of what anyone else publishes.
If I could say anything to Justin, it would be this: You have already written a fantastic book - polish it up and get it published. What I have seen is - honestly - a better mystery than anything I have written.

Lorraine_Bartlett said...

Since Murder Is Binding came out, a lot of people have compared it (unfavorably, I might add) to Carolyn Hart's bookstore series.

I never read it, so I have no idea if it mirrors anything she has already written. And I don't INTEND to read them, just so I won't be influenced.

There's no such thing as a truly unique idea. And anything you write will be a totally different take.

Work on your new project. You can always go back to the other book. In the meantime, it was a learning experience. You can build on what you've done. Everything else will be better because of the experience.

Jared said...

Thanks, both of you, for the kind words. Everyone should wish to have a support system like this. We should get together over the summer, kick up our feet and have some cool wine on a warm day. Look forward to it!

ARCHAVIST said...

Shows you were on the right track. Get onto the new project and get it out there for us to read.