One year to the day after finishing the first draft of my novel Strong Convictions: An Emmett Strong Western, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just completed the first draft of Emmett Strong Western #2–Strong Suspicions! Hoo-wee!
In the second story, Emmett and his compadres attempt to settle down into normal life once again back home in Texas. But some crafty outlaws take advantage of a run-in Emmett and his friends had with an abusive saloon owner on the way home, and they manage to convince some pretty influential people that Emmett, Juanito, and Sikes have just pulled off a nasty crime.
And that’s not the end of Emmett’s troubles–not by a long shot. Folks back home give him and his new love interest a really rough time. A big-time boss hires a deadly gunslick to assassinate Emmett because he dared to enforce the law. And an old nemesis comes back to assist the Texas Ranger’s more recent enemies.
Strong Suspicions’ first draft weighs in at almost 82,000 words (perhaps 15 printed pages shorter than Strong Convictions), but that doesn’t mean the finished product won’t end up being pretty close to the exact same length as its predecessor. It takes a lot of work to turn a first draft into a finished, publication-worthy product. A scene or three may be added. One or two may be cut. Wordiness will be trimmed back and tightened up. And some sequences will need more elaboration. So book length at this point is simply an approximation.
Thanks to the many of you who have already expressed your enthusiasm about Strong Suspicions, the second installment of the Emmett Strong trilogy. It’s still got a way to go yet. But this draft is a tremendous and critical first step. I’ll do my very best to make it as good as or better than the award-wining Strong Convictions.