Friday, June 4, 2010

The Story Behind Sam Hilliard’s Suspense Novel ‘The Last Track'

    It really began with a fire that threatened to consume everything. More precisely it was a firing. And at its center: my wallet. Three days after my honeymoon, I was terminated. This development trailed the second dot-com bust and was years before the Sweet-Bejezus-Will-It-Ever-End-Recession of 2007.
I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands—and not by choice. A few years before that, things were very different. Like the rest of the country, I had a job, but very little free time. But I also had an idea lurking in the back corners of my brain.
   Several miles into a hike, deep in the woods, I had been struck by their sheer enormity and how easy it might be to disappear in that terrain, forever. For some reason—I’ll never understand why—the weight of that realization just struck me like an electric bolt down a high tension wire. Out of nowhere, I said: “I’m going to write books about a guy who finds people who are missing in the woods.”
   For some reason that claim, grandiose at it seemed, stuck with me. And when I got fired, as a lawyer might assert, I suddenly had motive and the opportunity. So I started writing.
   From those pages came Mike Brody, the man you want when the one you love is missing. Through the endless rewrites, the eternal pitches to the agents and the near-altar offers of representation, to finally going direct and finding a publisher, it always came back to Mike Brody and the story I believe he wanted told. I kept pressing ahead for his sake. When I had doubts, even when the only “encouragement” arrived in the form of a rejection letter, I thought back to the beginning.
  That day I had looked through the trees and saw them not as woods, but as another world.
  The kind of world Mike and I want to keep disappearing in.

*excerpt from
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