The Write Stuff: John Gaspard

Turning Tricks

Most authors get the question “What’s your next book?,” but my readers have provided their own variation on that theme.

“What’s your next trick?”

Since each book in the Eli Marks series is based around a classic magic trick (The Ambitious Card, The Bullet Catch, and the latest book in the series, The Miser’s Dream), readers are always curious as to how I choose the next trick and what it will turn out to be.

One reader (a non-magician, oddly enough) recently bombarded me with his ideas of what he hoped the next title would be: “The Zig Zag Girl? The Cups and Balls? The Balducci Force?”

I happily informed him that while the first two titles were on my “potential” list, the third was a non-starter. (First, it’s a magic move and not a trick in itself, so that takes it immediately out of contention. Plus it sounds too much like a global-thermo-nuclear-war-techno-thriller.)

In reality, the decision of which trick to feature in a book is, well, a tricky one.

The trick needs to serve the plot while also reflecting the underlying theme of each book. The trick also has to have a catchy name. And, bowing to the limitations of today’s digital age, it has to be “Tweetable.”

For example, one option for a book title has always been “The Trick That Cannot Be Explained.” It’s a fascinating illusion and delves into the little discussed realm of Jazz Magic.

However, its too long to tweet.

And, as it turns out, it’s not particularly well-known, even by some magicians. So it goes back in the drawer.

The new book in the Eli Marks mystery series, The Miser’s Dream, uses one of the best-known tricks in magic. You have certainly seen a variation on The Miser’s Dream, even if you didn’t know it.

Ever see a magician pull a coin out of thin air (or from behind an audience member’s ear) and toss it into a small bucket or champagne pail? Then you’ve seen The Miser’s Dream.

There are countless variations on this classic, but the core elements of the trick remain the same: pulling coins out of thin air and tossing those coins into a container.

The illusion works on two levels in the new book: On one level, it’s a trick that Eli sees a rival magician perform, with a bombastic climax that fools even a seasoned pro like Eli.

Plus, thematically, it ties into the “Have your cake and eat it too” theme of the book, as Eli tries to discover who sought out (and then stole) a classic lost movie, leaving a dead body in the process.

Now that The Miser’s Dream is completed and published, the questions have started again. Or, actually, the question, singular.

“What’s your next trick?”

Not sure. But, let me assure you, you’ll be one of the first to know.

Eli Marks Mysteries sm copy

The Write Stuff: John Gaspard

In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He’s also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, they’ve made more than the films. His blog, “Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts” has been named “One of the 50 Best Blogs for Moviemakers” and “One of The 100 Best Blogs For Film and Theater Students.” He’s also written for TV and the stage. John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several dogs, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

John Gaspard | Facebook

Interested in sharing The Write Stuff with me and Girl with Book Lungs blog readers? (I hope you are!) Send me an email at jenna [dot] czaplewski [at] gmail [dot] com today!

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