Now that I have launched three novels in four years, I can say that launch time is the craziest time in the publishing cycle of a book. Behind the Lies hit the market November 14th of 2023.

It was a frenetic few months leading to that date. Lots of interviews and social media and preparation for book events with booksellers and venues. And, then, the holidays hit, and everyone seemed to take a deep breath—including me!

There are some spill-over events this spring and planned through the year which I am looking forward to and know I will enjoy. The reality of scheduling beyond the actual launch is a perk as it allows time for readers to discover the book and in many cases, read it before I meet them for an event. 

Clearly, launch time is crazy fun for sure, but my favorite time is now—just a few months after the book enters the fray. Now, as I meet friends, family and early readers in this new year, I’m happy to chat with them about their reading experience. Reading reviews is always interesting, but an event later or chance encounter to have a one-to-one chat with someone who has read the book is lovely. 

Last week I ran into a reader who complimented me on the new book, and proceeded to ask me many questions about how my story line came about, what inspired me to get inside a cyberattack in biotech and how did I keep track of the many characters as I developed the plot lines of the book. It was a fun conversation, and I was so engaged that I indulged my curiosity to ask my own burning question. “What did you think of Will Franklin?”

The open-ended question seemed to puzzle the person, who looked askance for a moment and then countered with “What do you mean?”

Eager to keep the conversation going, and put the person at ease, I quickly added, “Well, would you call him a good guy or a bad guy?” 

What I didn’t share was that writing Will as a character was a struggle for me. As the protagonist around whom the story is built, Will’s persona, his essence, his flaws and strengths are the skeletal bones around which the other characters must rotate. Throughout my writing journey with the book, I second guessed myself continually. 

Readers meet Will Franklin—former academic geek, recognized as a rare talent in the “fake it ’til you make it” biotech industry—when he is in the wings for his dream job as next CEO of a global powerhouse. But after his boss, Chet, angrily tells him he is going to be fired and then falls ill, Will finds himself in the position of supporting Chet’s family through the hell of a dire illness. Just as suddenly, he finds his leadership ability tested by a crippling cyberattack that threatens the entire industry and leaves him with little time to untangle the mystery of whatever it is that Chet uncovered before he got sick. 

Admirable effort, but what of his lapse in judgment with Bella, which could be the impropriety Chet alluded to, and the cause of impending marital collapse?

After a thoughtful delay, she smiled “Oh, he was a fool—for sure, the affair was stupid, and could have de-railed him totally. But in the end, he redeemed himself big-time.” A long pause and then she added, “And, Will learned a valuable message in the process. Now, Bella, she’s something else altogether…”

I’ll live with that answer. Next time, I’ll address Bella.