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First novel a long-delayed accomplishment for a pair of authors

Davis author Paul Landes types away on his laptop computer at Mishka's Cafe on Second Street in downtown Davis. He will present his debut novel, "Wings to Redemption," on Nov. 16 at The Avid Reader. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

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From page A8 | November 09, 2012 |

Meet the author

Who: Paul Landes, presenting “Wings to Redemption”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16

Where: The Avid Reader, 617 Second St., Davis

“To all those who dream of writing their first novel, make your dreams a reality.”

Those are the first words that await readers of “Wings to Redemption,” a mystery novel by 62-year-old Davis author Paul Landes and his wife, K. Rogers. Given the book’s history, perhaps no more apropos an introduction could have been written.

The fictionalized novel materialized through a tale of romance, 18 years ago, a few weeks after Landes and Rodgers first met. They discovered a mutual desire to write, thus beginning a collaboration to create a fully fledged narrative.

“When we first sat down to do it, we didn’t outline anything — we just started writing,” Landes said. “For four months, we lived and breathed, and that’s all we did. We were just creating as we went along.”

But the couple was confronted with the realities of the publishing industry after completing roughly half of the story. They decided to put their dreams of authorship on hiatus.

“We had an introduction to a hugely famous author,” Landes said. “He told us, ‘You have to defend every word. No publisher is going to talk to you, because you’re a first-time author, and you’ll need an agent.’ He said to finish it and then come back to talk to him.

“We left there thinking, ‘We’ll never get this done.’ Anyway, life happened. … We put it in a box.”

As the partners married and continued to live out their own stories, the final chapters of their novel remained unwritten for nearly two decades. It was not until August of last year that Landes decided to dust off the shelved project.

It didn’t take long for him to realize that time had rendered some of what was already written irrelevant.

“When I pulled it back up, lots of things had changed,” Landes said. “There are no phone booths or fax machines, or other things that were pretty much passé. … The book and the story had to be significantly different than we started with originally, but the overall concept was the same.”

After Landes found a way to modernize the tale and bring it to a conclusion, he took it upon himself to self-publish the novel through a free tool, CreateSpace.

Landes decided against using the default ISBN identifier from CreateSpace, which would have named that company as the publisher. Instead, he used a code from Ingram Book Group, which allowed him to list it as his own Hunter and Gatherer Publishing Company — named after his two dogs.

His goal is to use the self-made publishing moniker again when he releases his follow-up to “Wings to Redemption” in 2013.

The novel, which has been available since late last month on Amazon in paperback and e-book form, is categorized in the online store’s “Romantic Suspense” section.

“I classify it as a fast-paced romantic, ‘whodunit’ techno-thriller,” Landes said. “There are two people who meet up in a predator-prey sort of relationship. That plays out throughout the book.

“While the reader follows this relationship, they are taken on a whirlwind tour through the San Francisco area; Marin County; Paris; Morocco; Washington, D.C.; Australia; lots of different places.”

The more thrilling moments revolve around the main character, Alex Boudreau, and his involvement in corporate espionage, Landes said. The suspense ramps up as the character discovers information about a genetically engineered viral weapon.

The creation of the virus was difficult for Landes, who admits his background lies far from science. Fortunately, he was able to recruit some local help.

“I have a friend here in town who is a professor at the university, Murray Gardner,” Landes said. “He’s a mental giant, and he helped me considerably in creating the virus and understanding what it was. I’d write stuff, shoot it over to him. He would look at it and make comments.”

More stories about “Wings to Redemption” and how it came together will be shared by Landes at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in downtown Davis. He also will sign copies of his book that evening.

Landes said he looks forward to having Davis residents stop by for the signing and presentation, and hopes any fans of the genre give the novel a look.

— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052.

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