How a Song Became a Book
Quite a few people have asked me where I got the idea and/or inspiration for Godwin’s Law and I’ve offered a few teasing and cryptic answers. Today, I thought I’d shed a little more light on the process that began many years before the actual muse visited me. I’ll start at the beginning.
Music is always an important part of building a story for me. You can’t have a movie without a soundtrack and my every novel is a movie first, played out in my head. If you followed my Facebook countdown leading to the release day, you got a sample of some of the songs that swirled around the novel and its muse. In the case of Godwin’s Law, however, it all started with a song. Late in 2008, I had an image a movie trailer for the dramatic, front-to-back chase concept that would eventually evolve into this book, and it was set to the song “Not Gonna Get Us” by Russian duo TATU. I saw a frantic escape set against a backdrop of European cities, a damsel in distress, and, of course, lots of explosions. As it grew, I also saw it as the title theme for the opening music video – because you can’t have a movie like this without a music video to kick it off.
Sticking to the musical theme, there were a few more pieces that really spoke to me while I was writing. Normally, I listen to an extraordinarily eclectic shuffle on Pandora while writing, but there were a few songs that I tied to specific scenes. Alex’s parkour sequence at the start of the book was set to “I’mmortal” by Skinny Puppy, for example, and I love the idea of the ending title being “Words” by Skylar Grey.
So, once I had a trailer and a concept in mind, I needed to fill it in. Not long after this, I started developing the Internet Tough Guys series and intended this to be the first story. Say That to My Face actually came later and the idea there, from the beginning, was to serve as an extended prologue to Godwin’s Law. I’ve always seen the longer saga of Alex Kirwan and Ted Reagan starting here.
Once I had my heroes and my concept, I needed conflict, I needed bad guys, I needed a major villain, and I needed a heroine. The pace slowed here as I faded in and out of writing. There were a lot of half-started projects and much more time spent away from writing as a whole in between that first trailer and when I started writing the novel. In that time, a certain muse came and went, taking a part of my soul and leaving behind a spark of inspiration. From there, I based my cult off of a very real and very dangerous international cult, topped it with a villainous doctor, and let poor Gwen fall into their clutches.
I took another break and then dove into Say That to My Face, on which I’d been working off and on – mostly off – for at least two years, probably more. To this day I can’t say exactly what, aside from the abovementioned spark, motivated me and kept me focused on the book long enough to finish it but once I was done, I didn’t stop. I ran straight into Godwin’s Law (actually, I started writing it while I was still working on Say That to My Face) and carried my momentum straight through it. But there was one more step that needed to be accomplished.
No tale like this would be complete if I didn’t mention David. He gets a nod in the acknowledgements of both of my books thus far and, I hope, will continue to do so. Once I had all the pieces, I needed to figure out how they fit together and he deserves a lot of credit for that happening. He’s an invaluable help in my every writing endeavor, sometimes helping me organize my thoughts, sometimes telling me, “That’s stupid” or “That’s funny” (both of which need to be said, from time to time). Even just letting me talk his ear off about characters, story arcs, weapons, parkour and martial arts moves, and anything else related to writing – which no one else lets me do – is often enough to get me through the biggest obstacles and hardest periods of writer’s block.
And that’s about it. I had everything I needed and I sat down to write, as I would spend most of 2013 doing. Even if Godwin’s Law is the only piece of that year that sees the light of day, I can be happy with that. I’m proud of the process that created it and I’m proud of the finished product as well.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the book and I hope you follow me on my website, Facebook, and Twitter so you can stay up to date on my latest work!
Title: Godwin’s Law
Author: Bernard Maestas
Gwen Kane, estranged daughter of a Forbes millionaire and the bearer of a horrifying secret is lured into a dangerous international cult. It falls to Alex Kirwan and Ted Reagan to rescue her. What should be easy money for the mercenary team of a freerunning ex-commando and his computer hacking partner proves to be anything but as they find themselves doggedly pursued across Europe, Canada and the United States by highly trained forces with resources vastly disproportionate to the recapture of one missing acolyte.
Will Alex and Ted unravel the mystery of Gwen’s importance in time to survive?
Will Gwen pierce the seemingly impenetrable armor around Alex’s heart?
Will Alex and Ted get paid?”
Bernard Maestas lives in paradise. A police officer patrolling the mean streets of Hawaii, he has a background in contract security and military and civilian law enforcement. When not saving the world, one speeding ticket at a time, and not distracted by video games or the internet, he is usually hard at work on his next book.