As I'm sitting here getting ready for the book to be released and the site to go online, I have no idea what is ahead. So I'm going to start with a short letter and see where things take us.
When I was a small child my grandmother came to stay with us as she was dying of cancer. I would lie with her at night and she would tell stories of her childhood, her family struggling on a farm in the Ukraine, her father murdered and her brothers lost to war. There would be Russian fairy tales swirled in so that a sleepy boy dreamt them into the reality. Tales of her mother fleeing with her daughters to America, the young sisters surviving and growing on the harsh plains of the Dakotas. The wars. The depression. Moving to L.A. Working at Disney. And so on through tales that suddenly began to include aunts and uncles I knew, and then incredibly my own mother, and then father. And then there I was, a child sharing my bed with my puppy, Macduff. I had become a part of the story.
After she was gone, I would tell my first stories to my little sister. Since then I have spent a lifetime writing in one way or another. This is a pretty ordinary story, of course: Years of teaching and marriage and children and part time jobs balanced against hours of writing and workshop, writing and conferences, writing and submission, writing and rejections. Now and then a word of praise or a small acceptance. As a teacher, giving back to younger writers when I could.
After pounding away for most of a lifetime, one of my novels, Bones of a Saint, was discovered in the slush by an extraordinary agent, Stephen Barr at Writer's House. After that, it went through a journey of several more years to find a home and get published by Soho Press.
I could try and think of some clever line here to grab your attention. But I'm just asking for a favor, one writer to one reader: Just read a chapter. And after that….Well, the "after that" is all that matters, yes?
Thank you for the time.
One of the perks of nearing a book launch is receiving kind remarks from other writers who have read the book,otherwise known as the infamous "blurbs" (love that weird word). The blurbs for Bones have been wonderful and humbling, to say the least. However, I recently received one that goes beyond that. It came from a kind and brilliant man who is a prolific writer. What makes his comment special is that I have known him since I was a child. He was one of my dad's most cherished drama students. He was even my babysitter briefly. Tim Hallinan. He is the author of three brilliant series: Poke Rafferty, Simeon Grist and Junior Bender. If you are a fellow Angeleno, you might enjoy his latest "anti-hero" Junior Bender as he wanders through the dark recesses of LA. Anyway, his words go beyond a blurb to a sort of vindication of a lifetime of struggle.
"Bones of a Saint is one of the best novels in any genre that I've read in years. It frightened me, thrilled me, and delighted me. An indelible setting with unforgettable characters."
Thank you, Tim
It is a beautiful feeling to have your book enjoyed by people from expected places. Well, maybe I'm learning that the unexpected places are really the expected, at least with Bones. Thank you to Stacy at "Court of Coffee and Books" and Elexis at Knox County Tenessee Library.