Those of you who pre-ordered Counterpunch got the book two days early, but those who didn't had a day to read the book now. Counterpunch, my boxing novel is out and is getting good reviews here and here.
I know that authors say that a lot, but this *is* the best novel I've ever written. (If you read the reviews, you have a few people agreeing.) It's smooth where other books are more unbalanced, it's intense and tight when others are a bit wobbly. The plot works as it should. Brooklyn is a great character - I'm happy how he turned out. I enjoyed his company, but it seems many readers are, too. It's a substantial book, even though its shorter than other novels. Seems my "sweet spot" for novels is anywhere between 53k and 70k at the moment. For a novel restricted to one point-of-view, that's still a great length - a second POV would have made it longer, but diluted the essence I was going for.
I aimed for a somewhat claustrophobic feeling for Counterpunch - equivalent to the pressure a fighter experiences in the boxing ring itself. High pressure, relentless pacing, and things getting basically worse and worse until the relief happens, and for that, the camera had to be *in* the ring. Any outside view is detrimental to the atmosphere and pressure. No explanations, no foreign thoughts, we are trapped in Brooklyn (just like he is in his situation), and we have to get through it - somehow (like he does).
I do like the one-POV type books. Scorpion would have been considerably weaker if we hadn't stuck with Kendras throughout. It's also how my Muse works - he's usually only interested in one character, not two or three - at least enough to really analyse every thought and impulse. (Of course I care about the other characters, too.) I rather assume that's what I do best. I'm definitely doing that again in the first WWII novel, but switch to two or three characters in the second one (I think that one might be more of an ensemble cast, potentially - it's all fluid and needs some more thinking, but I'd like to do one of those some day).
So, yeah, such a fundamental choice can make or break a book, I think. I couldn't imagine Counterpunch in any other format or fashion. It turned out exactly as expected (or rather, hoped).
And there's more to tell, but not this year. I do need a break. Meanwhile, the muse can play with it somewhere in the back of my head. Yeah, I can at least pretend I have control over this. :)