So I was in the middle of writing THE FACE, polishing page 345 of the manuscript, focused to such an intense degree that even an attack by a pack of wolverines failed to distract me from the keyboard (a team of out-call physicians treated me in my office chair: 124 stitches, a series of rabies shots, a procedure to reattach my left foot, and nine operations by a plastic surgeon to reconstruct my nose – all of which cost me only four hours of writing time.) Although the pesky – and mystifyingly hostile – wolverines couldn’t distract me from THE FACE, my ever sly subconscious mind – we call him Sub – threw me off my stride one day when, as I leaned back in my chair to ponder a story twist, he squeezed two sentences into my conscious mind that enchanted me: My name is Odd Thomas. I lead an unusual life.

These sentences had nothing whatsoever to do with THE FACE, and I couldn’t understand why they should be running through my mind. Something felt so right about them, however, that I grabbed a yellow, lined legal tablet and jotted them down. I never write fiction in longhand, yet an hour later I had the first three pages of ODD THOMAS in nearly final form. I was so enthralled with the voice of my lead character that I wanted to stop working on THE FACE and write this new book at once. Since my publisher had threatened to extract my left kidney and offer it for sale on e-Bay if I missed my deadline for THE FACE, I decided that I must repress temporarily this buoyant creative urge and meet my contractual obligations.

Every book is difficult to write. Every page of every book goes through twenty or thirty – or in certain stages of creative Hell, fifty – drafts. ODD THOMAS was no different in that regard. But every draft was also play; every moment of its creation was a pleasure. Prior to publication in any language, this book has generated two- and three-page letters of ecstatic reaction from publishers, agents, editors, and others in my professional life who have been captivated by it to a degree that – according to them – they cannot adequately put into words. Their praise is not anything I have earned; this story was a gift to me, entering my mind as if it were already a finished piece, and I am, at least as much as anyone else, unable to explain its source or the reason for its powerful effect. I am not a New Age believer in channeling and the like; I’m a traditional guy in that regard; but ODD THOMAS exists aside from me, as an odd little jewel box that arrived on my mental doorstep without a gift card or a breath of explanation.

FOREVER ODD, the second book in the ODD THOMAS series, will be on sale Tuesday, October 31, for the first time in paperback. The highly-anticipated third hardcover Odd adventure, BROTHER ODD, will hit the shelves on November 28.

Posted on: August 3, 2009

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