My first book that was not crap
A year later I was back at it, and this time I came up with a new story. I’d learned valuable lessons from my first crappy book and my second crappy book. This new one had a plot, and my characters had a motive.
I first started working on “No Time To Run” in an Irish pub over my lunch. I wasn’t drinking (I swear), but, I wanted too. As I sat at the bar eating my fish and chips, I thought about the story that I wanted to tell. I was a young lawyer now at a big law firm. My first child was about to be born, and I knew that a life of flying around the country doing trials and billing hours from a hotel room was not for me. I wasn’t happy, and I wanted to be far away from that life. I wanted to escape, and that was the genesis of Michael Collins and the book that would eventually become “No Time To Run.” He was a young lawyer who allegedly stole millions of dollars from his client’s escrow account and fled to a run-down beach resort in Mexico.
The first line in the story went unchanged. Typically I tinker with the first sentence because I believe the first sentence truly sets the tone. With this book, there was no tinkering. It came out just right the first time when I wrote it in that Irish pub over fifteen years ago:
“Inches away, Kermit Guillardo’s breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, marijuana, and salsa rode heavy on his breath.”
The other piece of those opening few pages that never changed was the description of Hut No. 7 at the Sunset Resort & Hostel. It was a place where I desperately wanted to go in my mind. I could picture it so clearly:
“He had sworn that he’d never practice law again. Michael John Collins had quit his job. His Brooks Brothers suits and silly striped ties were burned in a glorious back alley bonfire, and he had given away just about everything else he owned. He had dropped out and remained dropped out, living in the beautiful mess of shacks and huts about an hour south of Cancun, that comprised the Sunset Resort & Hostel. Listed in the Lonely Planet guidebook under ‘budget accommodations,’ The Sunset promised and delivered: ‘An eclectic clientele of backpackers, hippies, and retirees that is a little more than a half-mile down the road from the big chains, but a million miles away in every other sense.’ ”
I won’t give away the rest of the story, but this was my first complete book, and it was not crap. Where my first two attempts at writing a novel had failed, this one had a plot, and Michael Collins had the motivation to do the things that he did. When it was done, I looked at the big stack of paper, and I knew that this was the beginning of something. I just had no idea how strange the trip was going to be.