Keith Snyder
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Where I've been

One thing Bouchercon showed me is that despite my last book being published almost 4 years ago (you were right, Mark; it wasn't 2-1/2 years), I still have friends. To each of you: Your choice to walk with me once in a while is a rare source of pleasure

It also showed me there's a misconception that I stopped writing. Since I've been working steadily since THE NIGHT MEN, not even really stopping for twins, and the work is the only thing I care about after family, I thought this was a misconception worth correcting.

So here's where I've been.

Walker & Co. announced the end of their mystery line right around the time THE NIGHT MEN came out. They fired my editor, Michael Seidman, who'd been the series' fairy godfather, and who was—as far as my series and I were concerned—the mystery fiction industry. He got the books. Not everyone does. He also got that not everyone had to. Not everyone gets that, either.

Nobody was after me for book 5 (though I did get an email in early 2002 or so from another publisher; I told them I didn't have anything), and my working principle has always been What do I really want to do next? I didn't break into mystery fiction because I was aiming for a career; I just wanted to see if I could write a novel I'd want to read. Then I wanted to see if I could sell it. After that, I wanted to see if I could do it better (and sell it), and then do it better (and sell it), and then do it better (and sell it).

So in 2002, without a home for the series and no new book yet begun, I asked myself what I really wanted to do. The answer wasn't another Jason Keltner book; it was the screen musical I'd been thinking about for years. The one Kathleen and I had always talked about.

I believe in committing fully to projects, so I stopped writing Jason books and started work on CUPID & PSYCHE. About a year and a half later, it was done: Book, lyrics, everything I've got, 120 pages. I started getting the ensemble I'd written it for together and doing video workshopping of a couple of scenes. (As of this writing, much of the soundtrack is also finished, as well as storyboarding, color strategy, and detailed choreography plans.)

This is where the narrative starts getting vague. I want to tell you what happened, but I don't want to talk trash about a person I once thought of as a friend—and for that matter, that person tells a different story. So bear with me, as I'm not yet sure how I'm going to negotiate that obstacle course.

OK, several deleted paragraphs, accusatory rants, and false starts later, I do know. I'm going to tell you abstractly that promises were broken, facts were spun, calls were ignored, money was spent, and blame, doubt, and offense were routinely used as smokescreens. I'll also tell you that after giving this person clear warning in December—extremely clear warning—I came up for air in May, looked around and saw that all the new promises were just as broken as the old ones, decided an exhausted new Daddy doesn't need anybody making his life harder, and finally fired this producer.

Why wait that long? You're not the first to ask. It's that I knew in my heart—and still know in my heart—that this person could have done the job. With all the promises and evasions flying around, it took me that long to recognize that "could have" isn't the same as "will."

I still don't know that it was the best logistical choice. But it was the right decision.

CREDO was born of my immense frustration with CUPID & PSYCHE. I was not, by God, going to let 2004 end without doing something. (That's how I first approached Mike, the executive producer; I think my exact words, before we even knew what the story would be, were "Can we please just fucking do something!?")

I gambled big. It didn't work. Two years gone. The momentum of a novel career dissipated. The project of my heart and dreams dead. My fault. I can handle all of that (at least, now I can; it's taken about four months to not be heartbroken at the first thought of it). I know risk means likely failure, and though I do hold others responsible for broken promises that hurt people I love, at bottom, I blame no one else for my failed projects. What I do want to correct, though, is the misconception that I haven't been working. This ass has been in gear for a decade, and it's going to stay in gear for another decade. After that, we'll convene an ass review committee to determine the most pragmatic and responsible course of action. Which I will ignore.

The new short film, I LOVE YOU, I'M SORRY, AND I'LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN, is more doing something instead of doing nothing. We stay in motion or we die. CREDO already used one of the people I wrote CUPID & PSYCHE for; I LOVE YOU, I'M SORRY uses the rest. Without the mythical, magical producer, one step after another is the only way I know how to do this.

I share a lot of personal things here, but the inner workings of my business deals aren't usually among them. I hope I've been vague enough to avoid being shallow and vindictive—and to avoid identifying the person I fired—but specific enough that you get the general idea.

Which is that maybe it was in the wrong direction, and maybe it wasn't visible to anyone outside the project, but oh, man, have I been working.

And which is that at no point have I stopped.

And which is that maybe I gambled stupid, and maybe I gambled naïve, but don't forget—

That's what got me published.

[Best of the Blog| News & Notes about CREDO ]

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