Alan Jacobson, father to two GW students and author of recently released thriller “Velocity,” spoke about his new book and offered advice about writing after graduation at a book signing at the GW Bookstore Saturday.
The bestselling author and parent of senior and Hatchet columnist Corey Jacobson and freshman Matthew Jacobson first discussed the idea for a book signing when he met President Steven Knapp on tour in 2006. The signing was later worked into his current book tour for “Velocity.”
The new book is the third in a series centering on the character Karen Veil. Alan Jacobson says the character just came to him and although he hadn’t planned the character, he could not write her fast enough.
Offering a connection to both male and female readers, Veil’s adventures are entertaining and engaging right from the start.
Jacobson even included GW in “Velocity,” mentioning Kogan Plaza and other landmarks on campus. He also depicted familiar frustrations of GW parents and alumni, like annual calls for donations and the search for a parking spot. The main character’s partner even parks in front of Professors Gate, only to return later to find his Corvette had been towed.
Describing the scene, Jacobson laughed and said, “It was a fun scene to write for me because I love that setting.”
Originally from Queens, N.Y., Jacobson moved to California to pursue a career as a chiropractor. After injuring his wrist, he returned to writing and began to make use of the English degree he received years before.
“The story for a medical legal report is very similar to that of a novel,” said Jacobson. “There is a beginning, a middle, a main character – the patient that was injured – the back story to how he or she was injured, the treatment, and, of course, an ending.”
Later, the author gained access to a class on blood splatter pattern analysis held by the Department of Justice. Befriending several FBI agents also attending the class, Jacobson got an inside look at a world that many see today in shows like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” but one that few knew anything about at the time. This would be the inspiration for his future novels.
But in today’s world, Jacobson acknowledged the difficulties of breaking into the writing field.
“In general, writing skills are never, ever, ever a waste, no matter what you do,” Jacobson advised. “In a professional career of any kind, your ability to communicate is essential – if you can write well, you will stand out above most applicants.”
The author also made clear that the publishing industry is changing. Jacobson spoke about going the “eBook route” and marketing written work through the Internet instead of going through a publisher, which can be a financial burden.
But Jacobson doesn’t suggest leaving dreams of writing behind, just readjusting expectations.
“If it is your passion to write and you want to go into it as a career, just go in with open eyes and realize that it is a very tough business and it is very hard to go the traditional New York publishing route,” Jacobson said.