By Matt Sheehan, author of HELMUT GOES ABROAD
I found writing my second book in my Helmut series – and only my second written anything since college English 1B – mostly easier that writing the first book. Writing is my second job and I get most of my work done on the bus or at night after the kiddo goes to bed. (Can you really call it a job if it doesn’t actually generate income. But that’s beside the point.) I’ve found that where I used to labor over a few paragraphs some nights, I can now consistently crank out a page or two at one sitting. That’s probably why HELMUT GOES ABROAD a good 15k words longer than it’s predecessor.
The hard part was keeping the tone and characters the same. When I turned in my unedited copy of book two to my editor Jeff, I thought I had hit a home run. After all, my mom said it was even better than my first book. When you have an objective and unbiased opinion like that, what more do you need. Well Jeff didn’t agree. I’m pretty sure I had more red – yes they use red, just like in high school – on this manuscript than I did on my first.
The spelling and grammar errors didn’t surprise me. That’s why I got C’s in high school English. (That and because my Catholic School teachers didn’t have a sense of humor. But once again I’m getting off topic.) What did surprise me were the places where Jeff felt Helmut wasn’t being Helmut. Of course he was right. He’s always right. I found that out during the last editing process. But how could the character that I patterned after my best friend not be Helmut enough?
Part of the problem is I’ve been friends with Helmut’s real life counterpart since we were eight year old kids playing pranks on the neighbors. (Doorbell-ditching is best with houses that have double-doors. For whatever reason those doors tend to have the closed-loop style handle on both doors. A thick stick for the doors and a bush to hide behind is all you need for great fun – until they come out their garage door that is.) I had to separate the source material from my new creation. Helmut was now his own person and had to be treated as such. I was still able sneak in old stories from my childhood – I just made them more consistent with where Helmut is in life. I hope you enjoy HELMUT GOES ABROAD.
HELMUT GOES ABROAD by Matt Sheehan
Life is pretty good for me, Helmut Haase, dashing detective and ladies’ man extraordinaire. I’m the industrious and charming half of the Fog City Detective Agency. My partner, Shamus O’Sheagan, is the most gifted and lazy Druid this side of the pond, but even he’s settled down with an Amazonian police officer. Together we managed to save the world once already, but our next case is hitting closer to home.
It all started when an old friend came to our door with a wild story about angel bones and necromancers. The bones belong to Azazel, former hero of the dreaded Cretan Empire, and the necromancers want to bring him back to life. The last thing anyone wants is Azazel to return and start another angelic war.
When Shamus locates our quarry in the Mediterranean, it’s bye-bye Wudong, hello luxury voyage to Capri, with a girl in every port and downtime to work on my fighting skills. Too bad such pleasures won’t last. Not with a coven of necromancers ready to fight us to the death over those angel bones and the fate of the world…
Read about Helmut and Shamus’s previous adventure in Helmut Saves the World, available now.