Introduction to Sentinel In Elysium

Posted: May 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Here’s the Introduction to Sentinel In Elysium, a little note from yours truly to the Reader:

INTRODUCTION

This novella is what I am calling the “first” book of The Elysium Chronicles. That’s what an author does when he writes a prequel to an established standalone book, a book he never intended to follow up with another. He chucks it in front of the actual first one and points to it, then clamors for attention with his arms waving wildly and says, “Wait a minute! No, buy this one here first!” So, I guess this is a case of best laid plans. The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to read Sentinel In Elysium first. It might be better if you read Murder first, then came back to this one. In the end, however, it doesn’t matter. Read what you want to, however you want to. If you’ve already purchased and read Murder, then you should probably read Sentinel. It gives the whole backstory, and, because of its length, it won’t consume your life. Also, I’ve priced it accordingly.

Allow me, if you will, to explain further. I had every intention of letting Murder In Elysium stand on its own two feet as it made its way out into the world; yet another wayward child of a writer who has too many story ideas—far too many, that is, to worry over the youngest offspring of his thought. It should have ended there, but like I said, best laid plans. A couple of characters from Murder In Elysium continued to haunt me in the weeks following the release of that “first” book. Specifically, Mucho Love and Marlene had far more to say. Those two interrupted my writing on Bill Travis #11, Desperate Crimes, so I knew I had to leave off that one and pitch back in to Elysium, Texas and immerse myself once again into the town. Additionally, I knew I’d have to go back in time to an era before any of the events from Murder took place, which meant I’d have to go back well before the 1977 Fogel Murder and hit the ground running. Which meant, of course, visiting Mucho Love again, and a much younger Mucho Love, but still a man with a grown son who is also a policeman. Also—and I just eluded to this—Elysium itself had become a character in my own mind. I needed to “see” Elysium in order to write about it, and so I needed to recall much of my childhood growing up in a small town. Originally I’m from Madisonville, right on the dividing line between East and Central Texas. In the mid 1970s, Madisonville had a Dairy Delite hamburger stand, complete with a tall Texan standing high in to the air, just as you find in my Elysium. It had a population of about 3,500 people, which you will also find in 1975 Elysium. It had so many of the elements you will find here that ultimately I felt as though I had grown a thousand feet tall and had lifted the town up by its roots like Atlas and borne it across the breadth of Central Texas to set it down gently eighty miles west of Austin. I suppose that’s what Elysium is. It’s Madisonville, transplanted. You folks that hail from my home town, please forgive me. For my part, you should have been born 200 or so miles west, an area that Sallie and I have fallen in love with during our many weekend outings.

So why write a novella? Why not a full-length novel? First of all, I had every intention of simply writing this to get it out of my head, with only a vague idea of potential publication later on. Second, I had too many commitments to spend the next two to three months on the project. We have to keep our promises in life, and sometimes it’s hard to do, but we’re better for it in the end. The last (and most important) reason is that the story was a novella when it came to me. It wasn’t a full-length novel. To make it otherwise would have been disingenuous, and I think that you, the reader, want something unstated but clearly present when you buy a book—and that’s any book, whether or not it’s fiction; you want honesty. In the end that’s all we ever want our dollar to buy. That’s why we work so hard for it and defend it to the bitter end. It’s not the money itself, it’s the integrity it can buy, just as it can so often be used the other direction to buy…something else. You know what I mean.

All right, I suppose that’s it. I hope you like the story. It’s not as long. No, not nearly. But in some ways it’s better. I think you’ll agree with me.

I hope you enjoy it.

And thanks for riding along with me.

All the Best,

George Wier

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