Read 'The House on King Street'

Michael Boylan's picture

I wrote a book.

Well, actually, I’ve written five, but I’ve self-published two. The first one was “Time Killer,” which was the first one I wrote for National Novel Writing Month in 2007 (November) and released the following spring on Lulu.com and later in the iTunes bookstore. The latest one is “The House on King Street,” which I wrote in November of 2009 and tweaked and intermittently toyed with until self-publishing it a few weeks ago. You can now get it at CreateSpace.com (http://bit.ly/N77OHJ), Amazon.com, as a paperback or Kindle edition, (http://tinyurl.com/bpkpsco) and Omega Books (by this weekend). I’ll also be signing copies next Thursday (Aug. 9) at Omega from 5:30-7 p.m.

When I published “Time Killer” I had another reporter at the paper write a story about it. The staff is smaller now and we are all busier, so I figured I would do it myself in a way that was appropriate to write about myself - a column.

“The House on King Street” is the last of my books (so far) taking place in the fictional version of the city I grew up in. For the first 17 years of my life I lived in Beverly, Massachusetts (the town right next to Salem) and the main street in Beverly is Cabot St. So, the fictional version of Beverly for me is Cabot. The story focuses on a family moving from the South back to their hometown of Cabot. The main character, Adam, gets this feeling of dread at the prospect of moving back and he can’t figure out why. When the family finds a house one street away from the street (King St.) he grew up on, the terror starts to rise. He’s sure there is something wrong with this one house on King Street and he is certain that his 4-year-old son can sense something wrong too.

It is a thriller and I can honestly state (mainly because numerous people have told me so) it is better than “Time Killer,” which wasn’t half bad for my first attempt at a novel. My hero in writing is Stephen King (you may remember a column last year about me waiting all night in the cold for a wrist band to get an autograph from Uncle Stevie) and this book is, in a way, my homage to his work.

“The House on King Street” is a quick read - I think the final word count was around 56,000 words - but it is fun and the response so far has been good.

I have often been asked why I choose to self-publish and the answer is simply because I can. In the past, if you didn’t get a contract with a publishing company, you were paying out the nose to self-publish and you were often left with thousands of copies of books in your basement. By using CreateSpace, not only did I have complete freedom on what the book looks like and what I can charge, the cost of publishing “The House on King Street” was $10. I made that back in the first day it was available. I’m not expecting to get rich from this book (although that would be nice) but you never know what can find an audience and catch on. I do know that I get better each time out and the process of revision and publishing gets easier and better too.

If you’re interested in writing and think you might have a novel in you, I highly recommend participating in National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org). The goal is to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November, which is roughly 1,700 words a day. If you succeed, you have a rough draft of a novel by the end of the month. I found that it helped me push past that pesky internal editor and just work. Yes, at the end of the month the draft I had was full of mistakes and holes, but it was much easier to fix the mistakes and build on what was good than to try and rework things sentence by sentence for God knows how long. The biggest lesson I learned was that I could finish something of this size. Once I finished “Time Killer,” the next four were no problem at all. In fact, “North Pole Adventure,” my Christmas tale for kids, was written in 15 days because I scrapped the book I had started earlier that month when I was knocked out by the flu for a week.

If you’re looking for a fun and quick summer read, check out “The House on King Street.” It’s suspenseful but not graphic or gross. I have to look out for the person who always reads my book first - my Mom.

If you’re in the area, come by the signing next Thursday at Omega and I’ll sign a copy for you.