Thursday, June 7, 2012

How My Books Are Born

"Awww, I've got so many stories to tell..."

A prominent lit blogger has asked me to pen a guest blog that details the-story-behind-the-story so to speak of all my books. Talk about an intimidating task, and considering this is a blog and not paid journalism, I'm more inclined to lean towards brevity and my humble wits than get into something that could arguably take a few days and cover an expanse of at least twenty thousand words.

So the question looms large. How are my books born?

My first novel, Permanence, a literary romantic/suspense/thriller (did you get all that?) is a fictional recounting of my my honeymoon to Italy and something I overheard about a psychiatrist who entered into what would be a fatal love affair with a disturbed client. "Wow, I gotta write that one," I remember telling myself as I wiped the peach fuzz from my chin. It was the spark that lit the fire. I was a young literary neophyte and convinced I would set the world on fire with my words.

Course, it took a while for the fire to start. But it's still burning and I'm still stoking it with my follow-up novels like The Innocent, Godchild, The Remains, The Concrete Pearl, Moonlight Falls, Moonlight Rises and the whole kit and kaboodle Moonlight Collection. More traditional gumshoe novels with quirky and sometimes brooding protagonists...anti-heroes...who on occasion find themselves doing some pretty bad things in order to do what's right and to uncover the truth behind a series of lies and injustices. Characters inspired by the authors who came before, like Robert B. Parker, Jim Crumley, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben and others.

The Innocent is derived from the real-life story of a prison escape that occurred at Green Haven Prison and also the Attica uprisings of the early 1970s. The Moonlight stories, however, are mostly made up. The product of my vivid imagination and love of over-the-top plot lines. They are inspired by Charlie Huston, one of the contemporary noir greats. Also, Boston Terrain, another contemporary great.

I'm currently working on two more novels. Moonlight Sonata...again, entirely made up...and Aziz, a fiction based upon a truth I overheard about an American officer who becomes a casualty in Afghanistan after ordering an airstrike on a Tajik village. Now in Venice with his fiancee nursing his wounds, which also include unexplained bouts of temporary or hysterical blindness, he finds himself in the desperate position of having to find and rescue his future bride when she goes suddenly missing.

I guess Aziz means I'm back to combining the literary with the thriller and romantic suspense genres. Which means I've come full circle. But then, that's what writers do. Invent and reinvent and steal from what's happening in the world around us. Capturing a portrait of the truth and reinventing it for the page like Monet reinvented a garden scene for the canvass, and in doing so making it more real than than God intended.


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