By Frank Anthony Polito
Once again I must apologize for the lack of blog posts. I've spent the past few weeks finishing up my latest novel, The Spirit of Detroit, and readying it for my agent to start sending around to publishers.
His reaction after reading the manuscript focused on 3 specific issues:
- The title.
- The inclusion of Detroit history incorporated within the text.
- One specific character/plot point.
As happy as I am to receive honest feedback, I thanked my agent and kindly informed him that these 3 details are NON-negotiable.
#1 -- the title. For those of us who grew up in the Detroit area, we understand the significance. The statue known as The Spirit of Detroit is Detroit. I also reminded my agent that the story in this novel was inspired by my favorite book, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Spirit = Mysteries. Detroit = Pittsburgh.
#2 -- Detroit history. As much as SOD is an homage to Chabon's MOP, it is also an homage to the Motor City. In writing -- and researching -- the book, I can't tell you how many things I learned about the city in which I lived for almost 25 years; things that I was never taught in school.
For example: I had no idea that Henry Ford's son Edsel, for whom I-96 is named, died in 1943 of stomach cancer at the age of 49. In reading this book, I want folks -- Detroiters and non -- to be made aware of such history that shaped and defined the city.
Edsel Bryant Ford
#3 -- I won't go into too much detail here, as not to give away too much... But there is a character in SOD who corresponds to a character in MOP -- as do all the characters -- and my agent felt the plot surrounding this particular character made the story seem a bit too soap opera-y, to which I said: "And what's wrong with that?"
Here's hoping he will a) be able to find an editor who is excited about the story enough to want to publish it, and b) said editor will be willing to accept the story as is -- otherwise, I've always got Woodward Avenue Books :-)