Just last month, the United States flew its last shuttle mission. The event, besides finding its place in the history books, raised questions about the future of space exploration. This sequence of events serves to highlight David L. Goleman’s sixth book in the Event Group Series, Legacy.
Legacy opens with NASA on a mission to discover water on the moon. A robotic probe goes over the edge of a crate to have its fall stopped by a buried object – a spacesuit complete with a humanoid skeleton. In short order an investigation determines the remains are millions of years old. Before the reality of that can sink in, a closer look at the crater reveals weaponry “the likes of which our world has never seen.”
And the race is on.
Enter the Event Group – a very specialized and secret government agency – that is tasked with discovering the truth of the world’s past. It is charged with finding out the who, what, when, where, and whys. Readers get to tag along as Colonel Jack Collins and his team search for answers. With Goleman’s capable storytelling, the team follows a twisted path that dates back more than 700 million years with a strong tie to a find, buried by the German SS in 1945, that was once the Nazi regime’s hope for world domination. All of this is played out against the very real possibility that the battle for Earth is now engaged.
According to David, “Legacy was a challenge from beginning to end.” His subject is probably one of the most familiar to Americans – the space program. To write about it, you had “better have a grasp of what is next for NASA,” he continues. “Getting those points straight on the future of space travel was the greatest challenge for me, making the technology work within the frame of the story itself.
“What gave me the most trouble wasn’t technical in the story, it was historical.” In writing about Senator Garrison Lee, one of the most popular characters of the series, and his younger days with the OSS and meeting Alice Hamilton, David felt he had to be careful and it had to be done with class. “I think I pulled it off without getting sappy,” he says.
“Getting started with Legacy was the hardest.” The historical prologue has huge importance for his novels because they have to get the reader involved with the “very thing the story is about.” For Legacy, David started to tell the story of “what’s out there in the night sky.”
He finds the story lines really easy to come up with – “All I do is read the newspaper, go online, it’s right there you’ll find the readers’ historical interest. Odds are if it caught your interest, it will catch theirs.” As an example, he points to Legend (the second in the series). A small story in the back of Time Magazine related how local fishermen in Brazil caught a 160-million-year-old Coelacanth fish.
Combining historical incidents with a thriller with all the possibilities a thriller can possess has become a trademark of Golemon’s. David has said he has dozens of outlines for Event Group stories just waiting for the right time. “There is no certain criteria I use for choosing an Event Group story, or mission if you will. After all the smallest event in all of history is but a footnote mentioned by historians, but could have turned everything we ever knew about the past onto its ear in importance.” He adds, “No, everything in our past is fair game, large or small, it’s all building blocks to our own history.”
In choosing which story he wants to tell next, David points out the main story is one of global or American interest at the time of printing. He takes “In the News” seriously “because it shows exactly how the Event Group works. So out of all the outlines he has, if one concerns a current subject, that’s the one that gets the nod as the next Event Group thriller.
In speaking about his outlines, David says they are “simplistic at best and misleading at worse.” Actually, most consist of title, a rough chapter breakdown, “the McGuffin,” the subject of the chase, the search, and the reason people are dying. And he says the reason is “never as important as getting there, the chase, the thrill of discovery—it doesn’t matter what you’re after, the fun is getting there.”
That fun certainly parlays into his writing. He has said the Event Group stories almost write themselves. So his outlines are usually “tossed right out the window” as “sometimes my characters take off in a whole different direction then where I had intended them to go.
“With depth of character comes more intricate thought processes, and as you write you know instinctually if your characters have it in them to go that way.” He adds, “Most times after thinking about it, my characters straighten themselves out very quickly.”
Another key component to David’s writing is the research. He loves to research and calls it the best part of writing. “It’s the one time I, as an author, actually learn something new.”
Research though is a tool he had to learn how to use: “Not enough and people get lost, too much and you push them off the trail and they’re lost even worse than before…Sometimes you have to trust your readers to know where you are trying to go with something. I trust my readership; I think they are smarter than your average adventure reader so I trust them to know a subject better than most would give them credit for. “
The trust is two way as readers can trust David to use the right short, one word title that “best describes the action inside. Sometimes the titles have been used many times before, but unlike other writers you can really trust this author that when you read that one word you are reading what is basically the essence of the story.”
Fortunately for his readers, David usually works on three novels at a time. Naturally one is in the last stages of completion, one is just getting underway in the research stage, and a third is getting its storyline “populated” with characters and plot elements. And for those who enjoyed the character of Master Chief Jenks who played a key role in Legend, the Master Chief, according to David, will make his second appearance in Invasion, the culmination of the Gray and Green alien trilogy.
As a huge David L. Golemon fan I urge you to check out his previous novels of the Event Group: Event, Legend, Ancients, Primeval, and Leviathan.
To learn more about David, please visit his website.