I never dreamed I could write a novel. Sure, I’ve always loved to write. But a novel?
My first project was a memoir for a reason. I didn’t need to write dialogue, develop believable and interesting characters, or come up with clever and intriguing plots. Just write about my crazy family and the rest would take care of itself.
Though I did it for all the wrong reasons, joining the Athens Writers Group changed my life. I wanted help with the submission process, which of course, required reading my manuscript.
My friend Adrienne Wilder, an emeritus member of our group and a successful writer (click here for her books), was the first to try to tell me that my memoir…er…needed some work. Something about conflict, tension, and showing instead of telling. I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about.
It took the rest of the group longer to read the 110,000 word manuscript. Every other Saturday, I came back to the meeting with my critique of whatever had been submitted. My plan was to get the information I needed and then reclaim my Saturday nights. But my book was never discussed.
In hindsight, I believe they tricked me. They knew a real writer would be attracted to the critique process like a moth to a flame. By the time they got around to talking about my memoir, it was too late. I was hooked.
Glass Houses was with a publisher. While I waited to hear if they wanted it (they didn’t), I kept going to the meetings and toyed with the idea of trying to write a novel. The group said go for it, and from start to finish, encouraged me to keep at it. A bit more than a year later, I’ve finished one novel and am well into my second. Guess that makes me a writer.
I love the characters in Until Thanksgiving. Not just Thad and Josh, the protagonists, but also Linda DelGado, Ed Pierson, Tom Freeman, and my favorite of all, Philip Potter. I love Philip so much I decided to give him his own book–After Christmas Eve.
Ideas for books about the same characters keep popping into my head. People who enjoyed reading Until Thanksgiving would probably like a prequel around Josh’s prior relationship with Ben and maybe his coming out story. Ed’s story has to be told–he’s too interesting a character to leave behind. I’ve got half a dozen more ideas for novels around various characters from my first novel that I won’t bore you with today.
Setting After Christmas Eve in the weeks following 12/24/1966 has forced me to do a lot of research to get a clearer idea about gay life in the sixties. Turns out, the years leading up to the 1969 Stonewall Riots are a good time to start a series of novels about gay characters to show how much things have changed in the last fifty years. I’ve been there for most of it. Half a dozen more ideas popped into my head.
My initial thought was a series, like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. But that requires a start, a middle, and an end. I’m thinking more along the lines of an unending (and highly profitable) collection of independent books that revolve around familiar characters set somewhere between 1966 and today that wouldn’t have to be read in any particular order.
Will they all have holiday titles? Too soon to say. I’m thinking that sooner or later, I’m going to grow tired of writing about serial killers. When I do, a title change would be a good way of letting people know I’d written something different. I hate to limit myself. Anything is possible. That’s one thing I know for sure here in…
My Glass House