“Ghostwriter” is me throwing in the towel.
What does that mean? It means that “Ghostwriter” resulted from a long, painful effort to write a novel to follow Radiance. Actually, its history is more colorful than that.
Years ago, a film producer I know asked me to write a script for his next project. I penned the story of a woman, Nessa Trent, who is found in an alley, beaten and horribly burned. Eventually she recovers but has no memory of her past. Meanwhile, shadowy assassins keep trying to kill her. Eventually Nessa partners with an experimental physicist, and they discover Nessa is a time traveler from the past who is caught up in a plot from the future to wipe the Christian church from history.
I loved the premise of the story. Loved the beginning, loved its ending. But the middle simply wasn’t interesting. The more I worked at it, the more ho-hum it became. Just filler. Not enough there to make it riveting. After the filmmaker turned it down, I tried to make it into a novel. Same problem.
Finally, around the time I started thinking about Random Precision, I decided to skip the boring middle and keep the parts I found interesting. This, of course, changed the tale dramatically. Now Nessa and her partner are the same person. She doesn’t travel in time herself, and amnesia doesn’t show up at all. But the Parabolani do—or one of them does, anyway. And the ending twist is even bigger than the one I originally wrote, though perhaps unsettling for some readers.
If I’m right, we’re living in an alternate timeline right now. And yet it doesn’t matter. The past readjusted itself so the outcome was (virtually) identical. How exciting to learn that a recent scientific study lends credence to the idea!
I was sad to let go of Nessa’s original story. But this one ought to leave you just as satisfied. Or just as terrified.