I killed Sean Michael Bailey and I’m glad.
I didn’t want to do it but my literary agents, Jane Dystel and Miriam Goderich, sat me down and told me I had to get rid of him.
I first met Sean in the pages of my wife Riki Nemser’s wonderful, soon-to-be-published novel, DREAMWATER, where he was pretending to be a person very much like me. But he was much more handsome, clever and charming than I ever was. And younger. I became secretly jealous.
At the time, I was still working as an investigative reporter for a Great Metropolitan Newspaper and was looking for an alias for my new fiction career. I had several good reasons for keeping my fiction and non-fiction books separate.
I admit I stole Sean’s identity and pretended to be him. I published the thriller 1787 under his name in 2008. It was a solid opening but I couldn’t quit the day job.
In 2010, I published a mystery/thriller short story called Invisible under Sean’s name, in an anthology called FIRST THRILLS. That book was edited by the great Lee Child, author of the wildly successful Jack Reacher series, which was recently made into a movie starring Tom Cruise. Along with his brother and sister authors, Sean Michael Bailey was praised as “a rising star in the genre.”
Once again, the jealousy stirred. I was the New York Times bestselling author but Sean was getting all the credit. Not only that, he participated in annual meetings of the International Thriller Writers at their Thriller Fest in Manhattan, hobnobbing with famous authors and other “rising stars,” such as C.J. Lyons, Rebecca Cantrell, Mark Alpert and Karen Dionne.
He was asking for it.
Fortunately, fate intervened. The New York tabloid newspaper where I worked suddenly offered buyouts to the loyal soldiers who had served for decades. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
With no day job, I was suddenly free to write mysteries and thrillers under my own name. Sean had outlived his usefulness.
It was him or me.