A tribute to Robin Brody, my loyal primary reader

July 7, 2013 8:30 pm Published by 1 Comment

The purpose of this blog is to give appropriate credit to my primary reader, Robin Brody.  My definition of a primary reader is one who reads my words practically as I write them.  When Robin reads this blog, the first thing he’ll say is that he is secondary to my wife, Becky.  That’s true.  But Becky will be the first to tell you that Robin is more critical and is more vested in the technology being described and in the story lines.

Let’s go back to 2001 when this all started.  January of that year was when I retired from my government job to write fiction full-time.  Robin had retired a few years earlier.  He and I had worked for the same research facility (as research meteorologists) for our entire careers, so that I knew him well.  In fact, toward the end of our careers we got to work on several projects together.

During my first year following retirement, to learn how to write fiction, I wrote short stories only.  (Back then I also had a writing mentor, Author/Publisher Arline Chase; she taught me most of what I know about writing fiction, but that relationship was a long-distance one.)  Somehow during that period Robin and I began having lunch together, and he would critique my stories.  But once I moved on to a full-fledged book, this routine became a habit that continued through four novels.  Typically, I’d write one chapter a week, delivering it to Robin by Sunday or Monday, followed by our lunch date on Wednesday.  By the time each novel was finished, I can honestly say that Robin knew the story as well as I did.

It seems to take me two-and-a-half years to write a novel.  It’s easy to do the math.  Four novels mean that we’ve been having these lunch dates every week for more than ten years.

Perhaps more important than these individual chapter reviews were our strategy sessions before I  wrote word one.  Those, by themselves, took months.  All three of my thrillers (my latest novel is an historical novel) revolve around sophisticated uses of technology, in addition to a plot line clever enough to make an interesting story.  For example, in my first novel, Category 5–referring to the strongest hurricane–we debated the storyline for months, eventually coming up with the idea of launching a laser into space to control hurricanes.  The premise, heating ocean water to strengthen the hurricane, was a sound one.  If it hadn’t been, Robin would have let me know.  (Robin is intelligent and savvy, doesn’t suffer fools, and is keen in pointing out the error of my ways; his points of view often lead to loud, animated discussions.)  We followed the above process for all my books.  Robin will modestly tell you that he contributed nothing towards these ideas.  In fact, most of the important ideas jumped full grown from our weekly conversations.

And so, I thank you, my friend.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

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