Adam Fawer is not the typical novelist. He did not major in English in college and had never written professionally before his first book.
Fawer, a 1992 Wharton and College alumnus, shared the story of his first book, Improbable, last night at the bookstore.
Although he had always enjoyed writing, Fawer thought of himself more as a "numbers guy" and decided to attend Wharton.
While at Penn, Fawer found he still wanted a way to express his creative side. He applied to be a columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian but was rejected.
"Apparently it's easier to crack in to the publishing world than The Daily Pennsylvanian," Fawer said.
However, while he was working on his MBA at Stanford, Fawer became editor-in-chief of the school's business journal. He also took a few undergraduate writing classes.
"I wanted to do something sort of business and creative, but it never worked out that way," Fawer said about his career.
After graduation, Fawer eventually worked his way into an executive position at a dot-com. He was feeling unhappy about his career when he met up with 1992 College alumna Stephanie Williams.
She was also unhappy, but for a very different reason: She had just been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
Williams was an English major at Penn and had been working for various magazines, but her dream was to write a novel.
Inspired by Williams, Fawer quit his job, and the pair made a pact to write together every day until they each finished their own book.
Aiming for 100,000 words, Fawer came up with 150,000 for the first draft of his thriller novel, which Stephanie helped him edit. He then spent another three months writing, editing and looking for an agent.
In the end, Fawer wound up keeping only 10,000 of his original words. The novel follows a compulsive gambler who can see the past and future through an experimental drug.
His agent then tried selling the book but failed to find a publisher. Fawer felt he would not get any further and decided to return to work.
The day he started his consulting job, his agent sold the rights to his book in Holland.
"I thought I was going be the literary David Hasselhoff," Fawer said, adding that he did not think his book would be popular in the United States.
However, three days into his job, his agent sold the novel to HarperCollins.
Improbable was released in the United States in February of this year.
USA Today described the book as possibly the next Da Vinci Code -- a hit religious thriller. People magazine gave Improbable three and a half stars out of four in its review.
Williams also finished her autobiographical book, Enter Sandman, but lost her battle with cancer only two weeks after her celebratory party. However, her friends are publishing the novel for her.
"In the last three months of her life, she accomplished her greatest achievement," Fawer said.
Williams' devotion to writing despite her fatal illness inspired Fawer to live his dream.
"I was tired of living life waiting to be happy tomorrow," Fawer said.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.