M. Heitkemper

M. Heitkemper

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

COMING SOON: Acts of Contrition

So, I’ve just finished up the final edits on my latest Graphic Novel project, Acts of Contrition.  This graphic novel is weighing in at 164 black and white pages of crime noir greatness!  The inspiration for this book, believe it or not, comes from my own life growing up as a teenager.  It’s a long and complicated story maybe for another time.  Am I overselling it?  I sure as hell hope not!
“Deathly” Daryl Malone is a mob enforcer on his death bed.  In a selfish act of redemption, Daryl teams up with an angel with hopes that he can right the many wrongs that he’s made in his life-time.  As Daryl’s quest to redeem himself intensifies, the angel’s seemingly psychotic methods come into question.  It isn’t long before Daryl realizes that the angel has his own hidden agenda… and the angel is ready to cross hell to reach it.

Acts of Contrition is a project that I have really been working on my entire writing career.  It's a story I first came up with when I was fresh out of high-school.  I’ve written this story at least five times as a novel.  As I wrapped up each attempt, I knew that the story was missing something.  Even with all the tweaks and additions - the new characters and the new situations that I had made over the years, the book was coming off a little light on the emotional effect that I wanted the story to have.  It had some, but I wanted this to be perfect.  There was only one way that I knew that this book was going to really knock it out of the park:  It needed visual effects.  And since it was doubtful that I could get a movie studio to pick it up right away, this past year I decided that a graphic novel setup was my next best bet.  I’ve been writing comic books and scripts for a while now, and seeing Acts in this format was what I wanted. 

I wrote a ten-page script of the first scene of the book.  The scene felt good; it was dark and gritty and I could picture it panel for panel on the page.  I handed the script off to the one person I knew that I could trust to give it his best, AJ Fulcher, and he worked his magic.  After seeing the first few pages in black and white, I knew that this was the ticket.  This was what the book needed; the emotional effect that I wanted was shining through.  I showed the finished ten page scene to a handful of other creators that I frequent with, and the response was overwhelming for me.  Everyone wanted more of this gritty story!  I went to work on the scripts right away. 

Putting Acts of Contrition into script format was much harder than I thought it would be.  In all of my previous attempts to write this story, I ended up with anywhere from 90k – 100k words.  This all needed to be condensed down to a graphic novel of viable size.  It pained me to do so, but many scenes had to be cut.  Many plot points, and side plots had to either be scrapped or changed to fit the size.  But not to worry, I’ve taken all of those scraps and cut scenes and have reimagined them to play a part in a sequel should this book take off like I hope it will. 

It's been a long road since I first imagined the project, and it’s certainly turned into a completely different animal than I had expected it would, but that being said, it’s also turned out much better than I expected.  With this project finally completed, I really feel like I’ve grown as a writer. 

I submitted Acts of Contrition around to a handful of Independent publishers, and I was surprised to get more than one positive response from more than one publisher.  Three publishers immediately took the book under review, and just recently, Acts of Contrition settled in with InsaneComics.  Not to discredit the other publishers I had submitted to in any way, but Insane Comics is the publisher that I really preferred to work with.  Insane currently publishes my other comic book series, Freedom Fighter, and I’m fond of the publisher’s platform and their way of working with their creators to get the books realized.  So, for them to take a chance on another of my books was a great feeling.

Acts of Contrition is slated to be released later this winter.  It’s not a long way off, and I can’t wait till it’s here.  In the meantime I’ll be posting updates about the book here and on the newly created Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ActsofContrition/

Keep reading!