While in your mid-20s, with everything going for you, you learn you have brain cancer that will most likely kill you. How would you react?
That’s the question posed by author Philip Wilson in his second book, Songs for Lucy.
Building on the success of his revenge thriller The Librarian – listed by the Huffington Post as one of the best-reviewed indie books of 2017 – Wilson explores new territory with this second title.
Where The Librarian was driven largely by plot, Songs for Lucy delves much deeper into character and motivation.
“It has that sense of realism that I think readers will connect with,” says Francesca Jackman from TellWell, the assisted self-publishing company producing both titles.
“It plays on some different strengths the author uses in his writing. It’s more about really developing the characters and trying to capture their feelings and emotions.”
Evolution of character
This second novel has built not only Wilson’s skills but his confidence as a writer. Jackman is particularly pleased with the evolution of the main character. “Phil takes a somewhat stereotypical character faced with a challenging situation and explores how she responds,” she says.
“It makes you stop and think, ‘If I was given that kind of diagnosis, what would I be doing with my life?’”
After a long financial career, Wilson is stretching his literary wings, first in his well-received Librarian and now in Songs for Lucy.
For the many calling for a sequel to The Librarian, this isn’t it, but it will likely open a whole new audience to Wilson’s talent.
“I wanted to explore the idea of a young woman who has everything going her way, then bang, a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. What would she do? What would she think?” he reflects.
Rising to the challenge
Who is Allison? While the character wasn’t drawn from a particular person, Wilson has known many who have faced serious diagnoses.
“For the most part, I’ve been impressed with how they met the challenge – ‘I don’t know if I’m going to beat this, but I’m going have the best time I can, whether that’s spending time with family or finishing a painting,’” he recollects.
As Allison emerges from the initial shock of diagnosis, she embarks on a personal journey that includes settling in a small town and exploring a passion for music at a bar run by a “Wall Street refugee,” Wilson says. “She starts to build a life, for whatever time she has left.”
Songs for Lucy is expected to be available online in early March through Amazon, Chapters and Barnes and Noble. The Librarian is available locally at Bolen Books and online.
TellWell provides a variety of book publishing services, connecting writers with designers, illustrators and editors. While writers focus on writing and marketing, Tellwell helps with everything else.