A Long Time Coming

Small Cover 2020.jpg

The seed for Thirty-one Seconds was planted twenty years ago. It was to be a story about revenge, forgiveness, and redemption. It lived under the title And Let All Sleep, a reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet, the revenge play.

Then came 9/11 and along with it the feeling that stories like mine—stories in general—had no significance in the new and fearful world. For a long time I wrote nothing, and did not return to the novel I'd begun.

In 2018 I looked at it again. It was dated—full of phone booths and fax machines—but the characters I remembered still lived. I lamented the fact that they'd been left to fend for themselves for almost two decades.​ I wondered if they could be born again and finally work out what had haunted them decades before. I wondered how they were doing.

Though confronted by Twitter and text messages and smart phones, they seemed okay—still struggling with the same demons and still trying to find meaning in their lives and the lives of those around them. 

And now, in 2020, it's not a terrorist attack in the way; it's the coronavirus that makes fiction seem insignificant. Even if that's true, I don't think I can keep Eveline and Kasi, Carmichael and Blaine, and all the others at bay for another twenty years.

(Interestingly, Shakespeare faced a similar situation 430 years ago when the plague overtook London and closed the theaters. You can read about that here.)

The seemingly endless, tortuous trip adds special irony to the title. I hope it was worth the wait.