On my walk to work this morning, I finally learned who killed Nola Kellergan, the 15-year-old murder victim who disappeared on August 30th, 1975, and whose body was discovered buried in her much-older lover's New Hampshire backyard, 33 years later, in 2008.
Nola isn't real, though. She's the doomed heroine (of sorts) from the novel La vérité sur l'affaire Harry Quebert (= The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair) by Joël Dicker, the audiobook of which I've been listening to for weeks, thanks to my 22-minute commute and its 21-and-a-half-hour running time.
The book was a runaway hit in Europe in 2012, selling millions of copies, winning two of the most prestigious literary awards in France (the Prix Goncourt and the Grand Prize of the Académie Française), and being translated into 37 languages.
The novel holds a bit of special significance for me, for a couple of reasons. First, the author's first name is Joël. Which would have been my name if I'd been a boy, and in any case is pronounced the same as my actual name in French, regardless of gender. Second, he's from my beloved hometown of Geneva, Switzerland, and he's proud of it--the evidence is all over his Twitter account. Third, I have actually met him.
Ok, let's elaborate on that last point. I have probably actually met him, because we went to the same tiny primary school and I knew his older brother Nathanaël. And I vaguely remember knowing at the time - back in the early 1990s - that Nathanaël had a younger brother who had the same name as me. And if that's not irrefutable evidence of our having met, I don't know what is!
Obviously, the fact that I may or may not have crossed paths more than 20 years ago with a now-very-successful novelist has in no way impacted either his life or his writing, but what it does have the potential to impact is me and my writing. I've always liked writing stories, though it's gotten more sporadic over the years, largely due to my own fears. Three times I've participated in and successfully completed National Novel Writing Month, though none of those books have gone beyond a first draft on my laptop yet. This blog, really, is the first thing I have ever "published," and I use that term loosely.
Seeing a "local boy done good," as it were, though, is pretty motivating. I'm not hoping or striving to win awards or sell millions--but I would love to tell a good story. To entertain. To get even just a few people worked into an "and then what happened??" type of frenzy.
My little sister is currently on the hook as my editor-in-chief for the novel I wrote in November 2015. The working title is They Came For The Children. It's a mystery about, well, missing children. Lots of them.
Once she's finished with her pass, I'll get deep into rewrites. I'll find someone to design a cover (or *gulp* attempt it myself). I'll go the self-publishing route.
And one day - hopefully, in the coming months - my book will be on Amazon too.
Maybe they'll call me the next Joël Dicker.