The Montgomery Advertiser features an interview with Ace Atkins. One of the most intriguing aspects of this interview centes on his decision to leave behind a book deal in order to persue his new novel, White Shadow.
Q. How hard was it to turn down the multi-book deal you’d been offered if you continued the Nick Travers series?
A. It was really, really, really hard. I think it is easy in the very beginning to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm about taking another path, but I had to switch agents. I had to switch publishers. When it got to be about six or seven months in without a publisher, I was concerned. I always knew this was the right path from a writing standpoint, but I was very worried from a business standpoint.
Q. Why were your agent and publisher against the move?
A. I had something that was working, and for people in the book business, four books in is really nothing. Some of my favorite authors have churned out 50, 30, 20 novels with the same character. When I first moved to Oxford (Miss.) and became a full-time writer, I thought I’d be content with that. I had only had two of my books with my current publisher, which was HarperCollins. So for them it was almost like I was just beginning a new path with this character, about the same time I was thinking I was completing the story.
Q. Why weren’t you content with that?
A. You can call it hardheadedness or whatever, but I just really wanted to write this novel. I had lived with the facts of this story and wanted to write it for so long that it had begun to bother me, and I knew if I didn’t put it onto the page, my other books would suffer. I think in the long run, if I hadn’t done this book it would have been detrimental to my career because I would have been writing something when I was really passionate about something that I couldn’t write about.