I wanted to make this one different. If you’ve read my other work you know that I typically use prologues to set up a scene between the main characters, one that never actually appears in the text itself. I wanted to mix it up a little bit, so for this one I started with some action - a shooting - and our main character near mortally shot, lying in a pool of his own blood while thinking of the woman he loves. First I thought it might be a grim opening, but after reading it over I’m happy with how it came out.
For this whole series I’ve been trying to tease readers with an introductory chapter of the next book at the end of the current one (so, in this case, Quinn’s first chapter appeared at the end of Jesse, which is book 2). But typically that opening chapter goes through some major edits by the time I publish as a chapter 1 in the actual book. I did it with Jesse first, Quinn next, and I’m sure I’ll edit the Noah chapter that comes at the end of Quinn. But for today I wanted to talk about writing that chapter.
I knew a few things before I started: I knew that Quinn was going to be the strong silent type, but that I needed to break away from the same NYPD detective story as I told in the first two books, even though they were very different stories. I didn’t want to do a ‘criminal of the week’ kind of motif where each book was a different type of bad guy. Instead, as I was writing Quinn, I decided to create a villain that wasn’t one person, but an organization known as The Network. I knew that creation would drive much of the story into the next book at least, and that it was something I could build a backstory around. That’s where the Internal Memo page comes from, and it’s a brief introduction to the Network.
If you’ve read Jesse you know that I started the original Quinn Chapter 1 with him yelling at his boss, but I decided in the rewrite to add a little characterization to him that lead up to that scene, which is the text up to him screaming “Fuck you, Sir” in the opening pages. And it was actually in mid-write that I settled on a cover model/image for the book. Once I saw that the focus of the cover would be the fact that the guy has two full sleeves, I decided to make Quinn tattooed, and open the story with that. In addition I wanted to reinforce the idea that his military background would be the cornerstone of his character, which is a theme that comes up throughout the book.
I also knew that I needed him out of the NYPD right away, so that I could get to the story of him opening up his own private investigation business, so I didn’t want to take that much past the first chapter. I wasn’t interested in telling a whole political backstory of his problems with the department, so I just kind of get to the action instead. I wanted his outburst to be a little out of character, yet something that would have him walking away and never returning formally to the department, so a screaming match with a shitty boss seemed appropriate. From there it was onto introducing Jen. . .