I write fiction now. My stories—novels and shorter—range among family stuff, historical California Gold Rush, humorous murder mysteries, YA, and political satire. Much of my fiction deals with death. But what is common in everyone’s life beside birth is death? It ranges from what a man’s three wives think about him following his recent death (Max is Dead) to a humor-based murder mystery (work-in-progress).
Before beginning to write fiction, I wrote nonfiction (we must come up with a better one-word descriptor) books and articles, mostly in the realm of sociology. Some of it is focused on helping school and college athletes to avoid exploitation by “the system.” And before that I was a newspaper and wire service (UPI) reporter in New York City and the Philadelphia area.
Writing, for me, particularly fiction, creating characters and situations, problems, sometimes overcoming them, sometimes not or digging their hole deeper, is like a day or night breathing sweet sea-air. I love creating human speech and sometimes animal thought expressed as internal monologue or expressed dialogue—argument, love-talk, time-passing pablum but with a bite. My affinity for dialogue or speech-like internal monologue likely comes from a penchant for listening, because I stammered severely from childhood into middle years. Better, I thought, to just listen than to embarrass myself. I grew beyond that, though sometimes I wonder whether I’m better off.
As a mostly lonely kid before getting into school sports, I would read books that my mother and step-dad left lying around: The Caine Mutiny, Exodus, Hawaii, Carol (by Patricia Highsmith), Fahrenheit 451, Exodus, Deep Six (by Martin Dibner), and of course Catcher in the Rye. Summers while visiting Allentown, PA, my Aunt Helen would take me to see foreign films like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Through a Glass Darkly, and The Bicycle Thief. She called it “dragging me” to those movies, but no dragging was needed. I was fascinated by other people’s problems and how they dealt with them. And the consequences of not dealing with problems.
My geographic history quickly told: born on Long Island, some very young years in a Westchester boarding school when my parents were divorcing, growing up in South Florida, college in Georgia (Oglethorpe University, excellent school), back to New York City and Philly, D.C. for master’s degree, Stanford for Ph.D., teaching college in Sacramento while living in Gold Country, to the California Central Coast because my new wife wanted to (me, also) and to delve into story-telling.
At this time I’ve had three nonfiction books and three novels published, which will change as I continue writing (four more novels being self-edited). This last fact needs brief explanation. I wrote all the novels over a 22-year span but did not offer them for publication as I didn’t want to take time and effort away from the writing. I was told often in critique groups, workshops, and a MFA year that I “owed it to my readers” to publish.
My answer: “What readers? You’re the only ones who know my stuff.”
Teacher said: “You think there’s a connection?”
Her logic was inescapable. So, I’ve begun publishing my fiction, and this website/blog is an effort to let people—you—know about it. The blog also offers knowledge, insight, and advice I’ve stumbled across along the way. Recently, I’ve begun posting weekly, chapter by chapter, a work-in-progress called Hudson School (a title which may change when the novel is fully published). You can go backwards into the archives to read from Chapter 1 to the present chapter.
Obviously, I hope you like my work in this blog and the finished, available fiction.