It is rewarding as well as motivating to receive kind words for a project that has consumed nearly ten months of one’s life. TULARE stands as the longest of the Zack Tolliver, FBI, series to date. Ten months is a long time to work at a single project–– and a long time for readers to wait.
But the truth is, the novel was not ready to end––not after six months, eight months, or even nine months. There is always a decision an author must face: to respond to the demands of the market, or to achieve an inner sense of satisfaction with the quality of the work. I will always choose the latter. If the two happen to coincide, so much the better.
The first flurry of reviews on Amazon suggests readers feel the wait was worth it: “The recurring characters are people that you care about”. The length of the work is noted in some comments: “a fairly long and complicated ride“, “one with the most convoluted story“, and “the mystery that our hero and his allies must unravel has a lot of layers“.
A continuing theme within the series, prevalent in TULARE, is expressed by one reviewer: “Zack Tolliver stands between two worlds, and must make a journey to decide which to follow…There is the real world case…There is also the spiritual world, which is intertwined so closely that to ignore one is to betray the other“. The spiritual, supernatural, and cultural elements are integral to the series: “Add in multiple Native American connected supernatural elements and a few twists, and you have a riveting ride,” writes another. It is an element with which Zack constantly struggles, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. Eagle Feather quietly observes his friend’s inner conflict, but does not interfere, only offering an occasional dry comment on Zack’s successes; such as “You sometimes surprise me, White Man”.
While there is great satisfaction in spinning a tale and creating the characters to inhabit it, an author achieves little without readers, just as a music performer without listeners or a painter without viewers are questions without answers. There is nothing more fulfilling to an author than the active engagement and enjoyment of his readers.
Work has begun on the next Zack Tolliver, FBI, novel. There are many questions without answers now, but the quest has begun.