I am new to Don Bruns’ work, but I can never resist a reference to the Hardy Boys (or any of the kid sleuths that made it feel possible not just to stumble across a mystery, but to solve it). Here Don discusses a very personal way to know you’ve made it.
By the way, Don’s story of how he came to be as an author is almost another Made It Moment in itself. I post some of it in his bio below, but please visit his website to learn the thrilling ending!
“How did you know you’d made it” is a very personal observation. Did I get a million dollar contract? Did I sign a major deal? Did Sony option the book for a movie? I knew I’d made it when a librarian approached me at a signing. She said she’d read the “Stuff” series and felt like she knew my characters. (STUFF TO SPY FOR was released on Nov. 2nd, 2009, the third in the series.)
“Oh?” I said. “You think you know Skip and James?” The two twenty four year old boys who resemble the Hardy Boys, all grown up.
“I do.” She almost blushed. “James is a playboy. He thinks he knows everything and he’s witty, gritty and smug. Skip on the other hand is in love with his girlfriend, he’s somewhat insecure and he’s always trying to do what’s right.”
“I agree,” I said. “You seem to know my ‘Stuff’ guys well.”
“I do. You see, I dated James.”
“I did. But I married Skip.”
She gave me a big smile and walked away. I think when you make an emotional connection with a reader, you’ve really made it.
Don’s first novel, JAMAICA BLUE, was published in 2002. But as is true for most authors, it didn’t have the most straightforward path to discovery. In fact, when renowned mystery novelist Sue Grafton read Don Bruns’ first manuscript, she fired off eight pages of criticism, pointing out numerous structural problems, plot problems and character problems. Sometimes sarcastic, sometimes caustic, her comments stung the fledgling writer. After reading her remarks, Bruns told his wife Linda that he may as well give up on any attempt to get published. Two days later Grafton called and asked if he was ready to shoot himself or her…