I went back and forth on the title for this post – Failure to Launch was my other choice, but I decided that “scrubbed” came closer to my meaning.
I’m fortunate to live a little more than an hour’s drive from the Kennedy Space Center. I can see rocket launches from my front yard. When the space shuttle was still flying, I tried to watch as many launches as I could, holding my breath until the solid rocket boosters separated. On a clear day, or at night, you could see that happen; the boosters looked like two small stars floating away from the shuttle as they separated and fell to the ocean.
I only drove to KSC once to see a launch up close. A friend and I got up before dawn and drove down – it was a morning launch. We got situated, surrounded by an excited crowd – and the time came and went for the launch. A couple of minutes later, someone with a radio got the word – the launch had scrubbed with nine seconds to go.
Aauuggghh!!! So close!
I never went back. I settled for watching from my front yard, knowing that if the launch scrubbed I hadn’t wasted nearly an entire day.
The next book in the Jamie Brodie Mysteries series is Avenged to Death, out this fall, then Played to Death, out (I hope) by the end of the year. The book after Played was going to be Launched to Death. The premise was that Pete’s brother Steve would invite Pete and Jamie to view a rocket launch, since he had worked on the rocket or payload somehow. The launch would maybe get scrubbed, maybe not, but there would be a body found near the pad.
Originally I was going to base the book here, bring the boys to Florida, so I could set a story on my home turf. Then I decided that wouldn’t work logistically – the launch would have to be in California, at Vandenberg AFB. Then a whole host of other issues appeared. What the story was turning into was a good twisty mystery, but there was no emotional component to it. I talked it over several times with my writing group pals, and we finally decided to scrub Launched.
That’s not to say that the Launched window has completely closed. I love the plot ideas that we came up with, and if I can think of a way to use them later, I’m going to. But I just wasn’t feeling it – and if I was going to have this book out by next spring, I was going to have to start feeling it pretty quickly.
So the book after Played to Death will be Filmed to Death, which got pushed back a couple of times in the sequence, but is now just begging to be written. My intention is to still have it published by next spring, which coincidentally will be when the book actually takes place. I haven’t pulled that off before. 🙂