Rick Bylina is the author of One Promise Too Many and A Matter of Faith. A NaNoWriMo winner, Rick explains what marketing techniques have worked for him as well as why he chose to not traditionally publish in the middle of talking with an agent.
1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?
My background is in technical writing and project management, and One Promise Too Many started as a short story written in 1991 about a technical writer being laid off. The story sucked, but the idea stayed with me and grew. In 2004, I wrote the majority of the book that currently exists and then spent a long time “getting it right.” The first draft (83,000 words) of A Matter of Faith was a NaNoWriMo winner in 2007. I had this one-page idea of what I wanted to write, plus the ending, and then, after about 6,000 words, I was bored with it. That’s when I introduced another character that didn’t exist in the original outline. I couldn’t write it fast enough after that.
In One Promise Too Many, Roger Stark, Marshfield’s newest detective, is paired with ex-NYPD detective, Ed Jones, “…fresh from a boring retirement…,” to investigate the abduction of a volatile CEO’s five-year-old daughter. Despite past entanglements with the CEO, Stark promises him that he’ll find his little girl by the 42-hour deadline imposed by the kidnapper. However, Stark doesn’t count on an elusive schizophrenic suspect or that the kidnapping is a ruse to divert attention from another far-reaching crime by a vengeful person playing by a different set of rules.
Told from Stark’s and the schizophrenic’s point-of-view, the story explores the collision of styles between Stark and Jones as the stress of the investigation intensifies. It shows the struggles of the schizophrenic as his hold on reality slips away while trying to solve the kidnapping the police suspect him of having committed, and his uncertainty about whether or not he could have done it. One Promise Too Many also demonstrates the depths to which someone will go to extract revenge on people once loved, regardless of who gets hurt. It combines strong elements of a police procedural with the soul of a literary classic that should keep readers turning pages fast enough to create a breeze.
A Matter of Faith: After the sudden death of her father, Faith Moreno has to cope with newly revealed family secrets, navigate church politics and prejudices to keep her job as the music director for St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, and overcome religious dogma to pursue the man she loves — the broodingly handsome Father Pat, someone she has had a crush on since high school. Is his kindness and attention to her Christian compassion or does he have an agenda of his own?
When someone vandalizes the Moreno house, Detective Roger Stark is called to investigate. He starts to wonder if something bigger and more sinister is going on. With his partner on his honeymoon, Stark weaves his way through scant and conflicting clues, a chorus of suspects, and whether or not God has already predetermined the outcome. Does Faith Moreno’s romantic pursuit of Father Pat help Stark bring a murderer to justice or just mark her as another victim? The meaning of the shocking outcome is all up to a matter of faith: Faith’s, Stark’s, and the reader’s.