Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit—Round Two of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit has made Round Two of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award under the Mystery/Thriller category.  This is based solely on the 300-word pitch, which is what agents and editors see first when you pitch them, as I wrote in my Six Lessons Learned from entering the Amazon contest last year.

Round Two is based on the 5000-word excerpt and a shot at the Quarter-Finals (14 April).  A different novel, The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady made the Amazon Quarter-finals in 2012, beating out 95% of the completion.   

An earlier draft of A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit made the finals of the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Novel Competition, so I have some hope here, too.  One of the significant changes I made since then was turning this third person, present tense story into a first person, past tense novel, plus a ton of rewriting while reading the novel out loud.

While waiting for Quarter-Final announcements, it’ll back to rewriting A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit’s sequel, The Girl in the Bathtub, which was also a novel-in-progress finalist for Faulkner-Wisdom back in 2012. 

I’m hoping all the work I’ve done these last two years on these two novels will finally pay off.

Here’s the 300-word pitch (287 words actually) that got the novel through to Round Two:

A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit
Having your fate hinged on the erratic behavior of a manipulative
American expatriate who has nothing left to live for cannot be good…

          “When living overseas as long as I have,” Michael Graver said from the com­forts of his decaying bungalow, “the question that you always have to ask yourself . . . is today a perfect day for an expat exit?”
Distraught over catching his wife making love to an ex-boyfriend, American business­man Steve Boston flees from his former life to the tropical island of Penang.  En route to the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, a colonial holdover, Boston comes to the aid of a mysterious Eura­sian whose com­plicated life has been made messier by her father’s body washing ashore.  His death is not only linked to the enigmatic expatriate Michael Graver, who seems to know ev­ery­body’s personal secrets, but also his anti-American, opium-addicted British wife, Amanda.
Until he met Graver, Boston had only read about expatriates as if they were some kind of mystical creature—a shapeshifter capa­ble of abandoning one culture for another or living in the shadows for the sake of survival; either hiding from their troubled past, seeking some self-indul­gent pleasure, or search­ing for a mythical treasure.  Or a little of each as in Michael Graver’s case.
Graver’s life, however, starts to unravel when his own well-kept secrets are uncovered. With little left to live for except an elusive treasure buried by the Japanese at the end of World War Two, Graver gamely manipulates those around him, including Steve Boston who keeps finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time until he’s caught smack in the middle with a gun aimed at his head. 

Here are links to four of my author to author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I