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Tim Green Will Return (Again)

Tim Green Will Return (Again)

Tim Green will return. Again.

Readers of my newsletter and this space have known this was a possibility for some time, thanks to my barely contained enthusiasm about the new novel that’s been gathering momentum for the past two years. As of today, though, it’s official. And while it’s not time just yet to share details like title, publication date, and all the rest, I’m ready to share the subtitle… because for the first time, the new book will carry one: A Tim Green Novel.

Since the protagonist of Believe in Me and Never Break the Chain has become the character I just can’t quit, it seems it’s time to ’fess up in public to something I’ve only recently admitted to myself: I’m writing a series. (As I said to Karen not long ago: “One book about a character is a story. Two is a sequel. Three is a series.”)

It feels in this moment like bumbling my way into writing a series might be one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made. The new book is one I’m very proud of, a story told on a broader scale than the first two that’s simultaneously even more personal, and feels like it’s made that much richer by the fact that it further expands and more extensively explores an already established character’s world.

I probably should have seen it coming; after all, a number of my favorite authors are best known for writing series: Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, Ace Atkins, Michael Connelly. Even Scott Turow, whose novels jump around from one lead character to another each time, places all of his stories within the same fictional Kindle County universe, where his characters are constantly bumping into one another.

The thing that each of these authors does so well is to get you invested in their characters, by allowing them to evolve without losing their essence. It’s an arc that suggests we are capable of change, that the trials we go through in our lives hold out the possibility of growth, that the better person we may aspire to be is attainable, even as we remain fundamentally flawed and human—both who we’ve always been, and perhaps, if we put in the work, someone just a little bit better.

But I digress.

Believe in Me was always intended to be a standalone novel, complete in itself—but then the idea for another Tim Green story latched onto my imagination and wouldn’t let go. Four years after Never Break the Chain came out in 2017, I had kicked the tires on at least three different concepts for a next novel, including two that centered on Tim and one that didn’t. None got past a thousand words.

And then, without warning, one did, an idea that took two very different sources of inspiration and struck them together, generating a spark akin to the detonator cap on a stick of dynamite. The resulting explosion carried me through two-plus years of research and writing, while giving Tim a whole new set of questions to pursue with his characteristic intensity-bordering-on-obsession. (One of my favorite comments from an early reader this time around noted that Tim’s quest “seems to be as much about the fact that he can’t stop as that he won’t stop.” Tim is the personification of that great Tom Petty line: “I need to know.”) The two disparate sources of inspiration mentioned above will be the topic of our next two posts here. For the moment, just know this: in spring 2024, Tim Green will return, again—this time, it seems, for good.

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