Antiques Finish

April 3rd, 2012 by Max Allan Collins

We finished and sent out ANTIQUES CHOP this week. The book was essentially complete by Tuesday afternoon, but we spent two more days reading and tweaking it. When you work on a book over time (Barb was on it a year, I was immersed in it for over a month), you get lots of little things wrong – everything from character description to plot points – and it’s necessary to make the end result not just satisfying, but consistent.

The final read-through is – except for plotting sessions – the only time Barb and I work on a book in the same room (my office). I read and mark up pages, and she enters them into the computer files, first checking to see if my changes/corrections/tweaks make sense to her. This tends to be a somewhat frantic but very much fun aspect of a book, particularly with the ANTIQUES series, because we wind up reading the funny stuff out-loud to each other, and laughing and laughing.

That’s because part of what we do in these books is try to top each other with funny stuff. It’s disturbing how easily it is for me to fall into the character of Brandy Borne’s eccentric diva mother, Vivian. Because the story involves two ax murders, the humor is at times darker than usual, which of course was fine by me.

Late this coming month (that would be April), ANTIQUES DISPOSAL will be out. I’ll share a few thoughts about that when the time comes.

In the meantime, I now face my usual post-project project: cleaning my office. At the beginning of a book, my work space is pristine; by book’s end, it’s a disaster site.

April will be spent on smaller projects – a Mike Hammer short story, a collaborative short story with Matt Clemens, another Fangoria Dreadtime Stories radio play, another DICK TRACY introduction. Also, finishing touches are being put on a new hardcover MIKE HAMMER comic strip collection for Hermes Press.

This is that “no rest for the wicked” you hear so much about.


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