M. Z. Urlocker's latest update for The Man from Mittelwerk

Oct 3, 2020

Apologies that I have been out of touch for a while. I think I can find some reason to blame 2020, but the reality is over the last six months, I’ve gone through three more major drafts of the book. Each stage involved putting the manuscript aside for a few weeks and then reading it objectively and thinking hard about what was working in the story and what wasn’t. A lot of effort was spent beefing up the characters to make sure the story felt authentic and modern, rather than just some ’50s noir pastiche. 

There was also a major improvement a few months ago which involved changing who the killer is. That took a lot of thinking but surprisingly it did not require that much rewriting, impacting only the last quarter of the book. Nonetheless, it greatly strengthened the theme of the story which centers around the relationship between two brothers, one of whom dies in World War II while the surviving brother deals with the loss. 

 This is a good segue to let people know that this has not been a solo effort. My brother Mike has been my uncredited co-author for quite some time now. He’s forced me to give up some of the early writing that I’d clung to for too long, sometimes expressed by writers as “Kill your darlings.” Having a co-author meant I could finally let that happen but I didn’t have to witness the gruesome deed myself. 

 The book is now called “The Man from Mittelwerk,” which puts the story’s historical context front and center. I’ll be sending it to the publisher Monday. No doubt there be a few weeks before we get his feedback and then hopefully only light editing will be required. Given the impact that Covid has had on the publishing industry, I suspect the publication date will be some time next year. 

 As always, thank you for your support of this project. If you want to drop me a line and tell me what you’re up to, I would love to hear from you. Don’t hit reply to this email. Instead email me at ZUrlocker@hotmail.com. With that, I’m gonna have a beer. Cheers!
PS. Here’s a picture from last year’s Bouchercon writer’s conference where I met a favorite author Max Allan Collins. He has a terrific series that features a writer / detective named Mallory. One of his books in this series is appropriately enough called “Kill Your Darlings” and is set at an earlier Bouchercon conference.