By Jeff Ayers
TWO SECONDS LATE is Eric Wilson’s follow up to ONE STEP AWAY. After a chance encounter at a Nashville book festival, Natalie Flynn starts dating a suave, young politician, Reuben Black. Natalie has no idea Reuben is friends with some very dangerous people. These friends deal in information, and knowledge is their form of gold. Recent technological advances have allowed for widespread use of RFID tagging (radio-frequency ID), and Reuben’s friends are growing richer by the day. To do so, though, they are endangering the lives of society’s mentally and financially destitute. TWO SECONDS LATE is a tale of modern characters faced with ethical and life-altering decisions. Natalie, in some parallels to the biblical story of Esther, has been positioned for “such a time as this,” but every second counts, and already she may be too late. Eric Wilson talked to ITW about his new novel and his earlier works.
What sparked the idea for TWO SECONDS LATE?
In the news, we read about pets with microchips and satellites able to track our every move through our cellphones. I wanted to explore that idea through a suspenseful novel, with a young woman dating a state representative who has power to make or break new legislation for human microchipping.
Talk a bit about your other series:
I’ve written two supernatural suspense novels, two modern mystery novels, and three vampire novels. All of these are set within the same world, so to speak, with characters weaving in and out between the series. There are hundreds of connections, for those who are looking to find them. It makes it fun for me and my readers.
How different is it writing original stories from writing the novelizations?
I’m now working on my fourth film novelization, OCTOBER BABY, taking someone else’s screenplay and adapting it into a full-length novel. Of course, the main plot is already there. The difficulty is adapting what most will have seen on the screen in a way that gives new subplots, backstory, and depth, without missing out on the excitement of the movie-watching experience. I love collaborating with the director and screenwriters to understand fully the heart behind their story and capture that on the page.
Could you discuss how you incorporate religion into your novels? How do you balance mixing the elements people expect in their suspense with these beliefs?
Story is story. If I remove any faith elements, I still better have a great story, otherwise it’s a sermon. And who wants that in a novel? Not me. I write to raise as many questions as I seek to answer. Life is a mystery, and I love to explore that–the ethical quandaries, the moral dilemmas. For example: If my daughter was murdered and the system failed to bring justice, how far would I go to carry it out on my own?
How have the changes in the publishing industry changed you or your writing?
It’s made it more difficult to find a publisher willing to take chances and make a commitment. After writing for two of the largest publishers in the world and finding them to be deeply impersonal and stifling to my own creative direction, I chose a smaller publisher who has zeal and imagination. Of course, the financial reward remains to be seen, but I don’t regret that move at all.
I’m finishing the OCTOBER BABY novelization (and the film hits theaters in March). My next book in the By the Numbers series is called THREE FATAL BLOWS, and deals with the dilemma I mentioned earlier about how far would you go to carry out justice on your own. It follows one of my previous lead characters, Aramis Black, and his friend Detective Meade, as they reopen the ten-year-old case of Meade’s missing niece.
Do you have any writing advice?
Storytelling has been with us since cavemen sat around fires and told stories. It will still be with us a hundred years from now. Keep adapting, stay open-minded, but there will always be a place for you writers and creatives. Created in the image of a Creator? What else can we do but express that terrible beauty and art!
To learn more about Eric, please visit his website.