My endeavor to craft my first mystery/thriller was in its most incipient stages fraught with much angst and trepidation. Having already established myself as a YA crossover novelist with both my first novel, ECHOES FROM THE INFANTRY, and then the release of my heralded MICKEY TUSSLER series, venturing out into unchartered waters was certainly a risk. Could I really write something of any worth in this genre? The fact that the subject matter for my foray into this new realm includes a teacher who becomes entangled in a relationship with one of his students only ramped up the drama -- I am a high school teacher and recognized right away the potential for criticism from those who were unable to separate artist from art. Still, I trudged on.
Once the story was complete, I faced my next wave of obstacles. My agent, who read the story and praised it for its literary merit, insisted that I publish it under a pseudonym. I did not share his opinion. Then when my submissions went out, several editors from many Legacy Houses, one with which I had been previously affiliated, balked. "Frank, the writing is certainly first rate, and you have crafted a wonderful story here, but readers will be put off by your protagonist -- and that will preclude them from reading."
Tough to swallow. Luckily, I did not.
My next move was to enlist the assistance of several impartial readers -- folks who had nothing invested in the project whatsoever - to ascertain their thoughts. I assembled a cadre of about 15 readers, comprised on both male and female fiction enthusiasts ranging in age. Over the course of several weeks, I began compiling the feedback and started to realize that the story I had written was indeed viable -- and in fact, it was resonating with readers. The myopic view of my protagonist that so many editors had taken was foundering -- actually, so many readers, including women, viewed him not as a lecherous predator but a damaged, forlorn soul who like many folks, is a victim of a past riddled with loss and misfortune.
Buoyed now by the validation of my initial instincts, I decided, with the help of my agent and publicist, to put the story out directly through Amazon. Naturally, there still existed an element of fear -- maybe those first readers were wrong. Perhaps the editors who rejected the story were correct in their assessments. After all, this is what they do for a living.
It was not until I received a wonderful endorsement from NY Times #1 best-selling author Nelson DeMille that I truly felt vindicated. Mr. DeMille called my novel "A haunting, briskly-paced page turner that explores the darkest recesses of the human psyche while propelling the reader through an intricate series of hair-raising twists and turns. NOBODY HAS TO KNOW is a masterfully written tale that is expertly told. Frank Nappi knows how to entertain the reader from start to finish." That praise has been followed by other formal reviews, all favorable, as well as a spate of emails from readers who are enthralled with the complexity of the characters and the pacing of the events in my novel.
This, above all else, is so gratifying.
For more information about NOBODY HAS TO KNOW, including the book trailer, excerpts,
and additional praise, please visit my site www.franknappi.com .
And for those of you who decide to really see what all the buzz is about, I encourage and also
welcome your insights about what you have read.