Most people know that Jack Heckel is not one person, but actually the name that John Peck and Harry Heckel use for their writing team. If you didn’t know that, you know now. 🙂
Jack Heckel was a name proposed to us by Harper Voyager. For whatever reason, books written by co-authors don’t sell as well as books by a single author. So at our publisher’s urging, instead of John Peck and Harry Heckel (or J.H. Heckelpeck or Peck and Heckel), we became Jack Heckel. We still aren’t sure why they didn’t like our choice of J.K. Rowling as a name…
Now, both of us agree that we are Jack Heckel. We don’t divide up our writing and between all the edits we do, we both take full blame and responsibility for anything we write together, even if John did come up with that idea or Harry switched things around. We are both the author of The Charming Tales.
Where things get tricky are places like this blog and convention appearances. If Harry Heckel attends a convention as himself, no one knows that he’s Jack Heckel. Same for John. If Harry attends as Jack Heckel, then as happened at RavenCon this year, someone may be disappointed that they aren’t getting to talk to the real author. Of course, by that logic, John isn’t the real author either. Neither of us is (or are we?). It is a little strange when you are introduced to half an author. It’s also weird if you say, “Would you like to buy my book?” and someone says “That’s half of your book.” It’s even weirder when you are with other authors and a fellow author says “Hi, I’m an author, and sitting next to me is an author, and beside him is half an author.” Once we have two books out, do we stop being half an author each or are we perpetually consigned to half authordom?
And, as a reader, you don’t know whether John or Harry is writing this blog unless we tell you (it’s currently Harry at the keyboard).
Even stranger, we originally created a tongue-in-cheek biography for Jack Heckel. We like the thought of his Vermont lighthouse, but Harry lives in Virginia and John lives in California, and it’s a bit awkward when someone asks either of us what it’s like to have Bernie Sanders as our Senator or why we don’t attend a local book event in Vermont. But, more than that, we both want to connect with our readers. We’d like you to get to know us.
To that end, we are going to share a little more on this blog and identify each other more specifically going forward. I (still Harry) may even interview John (and let him return the favor). We’d like to share a bit about our hobbies and travels, and we hope that you comment. Please let us know what you think.
Also, just to catch everyone up, we’ve both spent most of this year working on our next book, The Dark Lord, a standalone novel that we intend to be book 1 of a new series. It’s about a grad student at a magical university who is trying to save the subworld of Trelari by rallying the forces of Good. His method of doing this: Becoming the Dark Lord. After his experiment ends, things take an unexpected turn and he discovers that he must work with the heroes of Trelari and jump through the hoops of epic fantasy tropes. Whether he can survive the Master of Dungeons, the Dread Semi-Lich, the Dark Queen herself and still complete his dissertation is another matter. And will his roommate Eldrin ever speak to him again? It should be big fun for the November 1st release.
We’ve been diligently working on edits and revisions to Pitchfork of Destiny which is now The Pitchfork of Destiny (and will have an updated cover). We have the green light for publication and everything is set for an April 5th ebook release. We’ll update everyone when we hear about the paperback.
The best way to ensure we’ll have a paperback early is to tell as many people as you can to pick up A Fairy-tale Ending, preferably by ordering through your local bookstore. If you are in Richmond, VA, Fountain Bookstore carries the novel and can get signed copies for you.
We’re working on a new series right now, with the first novel tentatively entitled The Dark Lord. We’re looking to do what we did with fairy tales to epic fantasy, with a few twists.
Thanks for all the support and feel free to ask any questions with a comment.
Jack Heckel’s quest for publication began sometime in 2008, when we first had the idea for our novels. Most of the writing was done in 2009, probably bleeding into the early part of 2010. There were beta readers, feedback sessions, a long weekend of edits at a hotel in Maryland, and still more edits between 2010 and 2012. 2011 and 2012 were filled with rejections. We couldn’t even get out of the slush pile with agents. (more…)
Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home? – Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb
Comfortably Numb is a Pink Floyd song from the album The Wall, which somehow seems appropriate because one of the hardest things to do as a writer once you’ve written a book is get through a wall of social media noise and figure out how to get people to read it. In many ways, it’s the biggest challenge facing authors these days, especially indie ones. How can people discover you?
Part of the reason that I’m thinking about this subject is that I (the Harry Heckel half of Jack Heckel) am going to be on a panel at Awesome Con in Washington, DC this weekend. This is amazingly cool, and I owe fellow author Wayland Smith for making it happen.
I’ll be on a panel at 2:15 on Sunday with Wayland Smith and Day al-Mohamed discussing how to build a knowledge base and use it for writing. I’m sure I’ll talk quite a bit about reading fairy tales.
All of this is good, even I daresay, AWESOME, but I should have announced that I was going to be at Awesome Con a month ago on this blog. Opportunity lost. (more…)