The Divining Wand

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Richard Doetsch: What Makes This Author Tick?

January 27, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

After a month in bookstores and — two months since the late November post, Richard Doetsch’s The 13th Hour, appeared here — the thriller is doing well. And the author of The Thieves of Heaven, The Thieves of Faith asked for the opportunity to revisit The Divining Wand to say:

“Thanks to those initial readers of The 13th Hour, to pick up a book and take a chance is not an easy thing. The promise of a cover or inner flap is asking people to commit to spending five or ten hours with someone’s creation. And so it’s a risk, but with the building buzz and reviews, I think it was a risk worth taking.

“When I started writing The 13th Hour, it was really a personal challenge to see if I could write a novel starting at chapter 12 and writing it backwards over a 30 day period of time. I wrote just as people have been reading it, riding the rollercoaster of twists, turns, and excitement, never fully knowing where I was going, boxing myself into impossible corners, and then having to think my way out. I’ve jumped out of planes, off of bridges and cranes, and swam in wrecks 90 feet under water with a shark guarding the door, but nothing compared to the satisfaction and adrenaline rush I had when I finally finished this book.”

Could this novelist be as unique as his latest book? Indeed he could and is!

Every writer has a story and Richard Doetsch’s begins with coming to this career later in life. Despite never having taken a writing class, he discovered that his “voracious appetite for reading served as the ultimate school.” Actually he considers himself a storyteller first and a writer second, believing that his imagination needs to explore original ideas and not repeat what others have done. In fact Richard began writing one day while looking for something new to read, walking away empty-handed, yet with the question of what would he want to see in a book?

“Everyone talks about writing a novel someday which is ridiculous from so many points of view. But I had a story to tell so I just started writing on the train one day and did it every day for almost a year, writing my first novel, The Thieves of Heaven. I never had so much fun and, as it turns, out, I could actually do it.”

Sound a bit too easy? Well Richard does have a drawer full of over sixty agent rejection letters. But then his wife gave the manuscript to a friend/bookstore owner for a critical read. The bookstore owner loved the story and he knew an agent… And, though this flies against what almost all writers are told, Doetsch believes: “In any business be it real estate, manufacturing, or publishing, it is through networking and contacts that we make the most headway.”

Of course landing an agent and a publisher is one thing, holding on to those contracts requires delivering a good book. Doetsch manages this with a seven day work week schedule that includes writing in the morning from 9 to noon and returning at night around 9 until 2:00 a.m. Yes, there are exceptions for family and fun events but — when on deadline — this is how he works.

For The 13th Hour Richard challenged himself, not only to write a unique thriller, but to do so on a self-imposed deadline of 30 days. Having an open window of time, while waiting for edits on The Thieves of Darkness, he dipped into his every-day-new-idea story journal and chose “a time travel tale of a man racing against time to save the woman he loved.”

Richard Doetsch talks about The 13TH Hour:

Listening to the author talk about writing as though reading the novel begged the question, how much was outlined? And Richard answered:

“Writing the thirteenth hours was like playing five games of chess in my head at the same time. I wrote the story backwards in the same way the reader experiences it. In so doing, I had to remember the future and the past. It was difficult but fun as it was like a giant puzzle whose every move reverberated throughout the story. AS to the outline, I wrote a one page outline broken down by 12 chapters (hours) and wrote down how each started and ended. Other than that it was just full steam ahead with whatever popped into my head at the moment. I should note I had a note pad that grew daily with little facts, notes, and time sensitive points so I wouldn’t fall flat on my face in frustration or failure.”

For the record, Doetsch wasn’t under contract for the book and, since no one knew of his plan, there was an exit if he didn’t succeed. But he earned success and his literary agent loved it, his film agent loved it and Hollywood loved it too.

So how did this adventurous thrill-seeker reward himself for achieving his challenge?

“I did not reward myself but that sounds like a good idea! I actually started a new story the following day. I think being given the privilege to write for a living is reward enough. I’m extremely lucky in that I know how hard people work be it writing, their day jobs, or life and so I will never look this gift horse in the mouth.”

The 13TH Hour is a fun, fascinating, change-of-pace read that will be coming to a local theater next year. Yet why wait, when you can escape and be entertained now by Richard Doetsch and his most original ticking clock tale?!

[For those readers who think they know their time travel, please visit The 13TH Hour Contest page.]

Richard Doetsch’s The 13th Hour

November 30, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Book Trailers, Books

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Hear the clock ticking? Unlike Jack Bauer and company, who always have 24 hours to find the evil mastermind and save the world, Richard Doetsch (The Thieves of Heaven, The Thieves of Faith) only gives his main character 12 hours to prevent a horrific crime from destroying his personal life in The 13th Hour to be released on December 29, 2009.

Billed as “A THRILLER,” this novel takes the reader on a unique race against time by posing the question, What if you could reach back in time and change a single moment…?
 That’s correct, another time travel storyline but this one has a twist as the author notes:

“You are not mistaken as you turn to the next page and find Chapter 12.

“The chapters of this book are in reverse order and are to be read that way for reasons that will become evident upon your journey.”

Oh the fun of the chilling unexpected, the mental challenging turns, and the heart-stopping maniacal moments, seconds, minutes that this thriller holds.

Here is a synopsis:


A mesmerizing thriller — told in reverse! The 13th Hour is the story of a man given the chance to go back in time in one-hour increments to prevent a vicious crime from destroying his life.

Nick Quinn is being held in jail, accused of the murder of his beloved wife, Julia. He knows she’s dead; he saw her bloody corpse, shot in the head at point-blank range. The police tell him they found the murder weapon with his fingerprints on it in the trunk of his car. Nick is confused, grief-stricken — and completely innocent.

At 9 p.m. on July 28, a gray-haired gentleman visits Nick in the police interrogation room and asks him a simple question: “If you could get out of here, if you could save her, would you?” He hands Nick a golden talisman that allows Nick to go back in time, one hour at a time, for a total of twelve hours. With each hour that Nick travels back, he finds more clues to the identity of Julia’s real killer, but he also discovers that his actions in the past may have unexpected repercussions in the future.

In his race against time to save the woman he loves most in the world, Nick will find that friends become enemies, old loyalties are tested, and Julia’s murder is part of a larger scheme that has its roots in greed and vengeance. Nick has the ability to save Julia, the chance to put his own world in balance, but he is venturing down a precarious route. If he hasn’t set things right by the thirteenth hour, his desperate attempts to save Julia’s life may lead to a far greater catastrophe than he could have ever imagined.

A surprising and utterly original thriller, The 13th Hour is pure page-turning suspense — full of double crosses, cliffhangers, and shocking revelations.

Now please watch The 13th Hour video:

And you may also read The First Chapter.

Having heard about The 13th Hour earlier in the fall, this Fairy Godmother felt more than pleased to accept an Advanced Reader Edition with the promise of, “You will LOVE it!” And indeed I did.

The reading experience was a change of pace — a fast-moving, curiosity that dares the mind to remember what’s already happened and what needs to be changed. For, in this time travel, every hour takes two steps backward, one forward, and every new action affects the future.

Intelligent, clever, and thoughtfully moral, The 13th Hour is also just plain fun. In fact the novel is a refreshing escape that energizes the imagination, even while leaving it a bit breathless.

However there is one criticism, that being poor timing with the book’s release date. The 13th Hour is the perfect gift for…anyone, and it’s difficult to understand who scheduled the release for after the holidays. Although TRUTH: Happy New Year gifts can be among the best surprises!

And, finally, who is Richard Doetsch, this thrilling author? Well, according to his website:

“Richard is a respected expert in the field of commercial and residential real estate, having served as the president, managing director, and owner of several large national real estate firms. He currently runs his own investment firm with offices in New York and Connecticut.


While many authors choose to write about thrills, Richard has lived his life experiencing them.”

To learn more, visit About the Author and/or friend Richard Doetsch on Facebook.

Whatever you do, though, remember that The 13th Hour is coming to a local bookstore or online retailer on December 29, 2009. PROMISE: If you read this book, you will love it!

Announcement: The winners of Wendy Nelson Tokunaga’s new novel, Love in Translation, are: Janel and Reiko. Congratulations to you both! Please email: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with a mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly. Also many thanks to everyone who commented, my wish is that you’ll all have the opportunity to read the book.