Well, looking at the date of my last entry on this blog, it appears I’ve taken almost the entire month of August off – how European of me!
However, there’s a pretty good reason for that. Or, at least, there's a reason, and I consider it to be a good one. This is going to be one of those straight-up, tell-you-what-I’ve-been-doing-lately blog entries. I don’t usually do these, but here goes:
My second novel, THREE-MARTINI LUNCH, is now in the hands of my publisher, and I’ve really thrown myself into the third book – despite a little bit of August malaise and summer flu, I wrote about a hundred pages’ worth this month! (For those of you word-counters, that’s about 30k words). So that’s the reason I haven’t been blogging. It’s always been my philosophy that when you’re in the mood to write fiction, you gotta drop everything, switch off your phone/unplug the internet, and follow where that mood leads.
The book in progress is tentatively titled EAGLE & CRANE. Writers acquire a new, somewhat eccentric knowledgebase with every new novel he or she writes. I’ve been learning about biplanes, magicians, the old Hollywood studios, Japanese internment camps… Needless to say, lately I’ve been having some very weird dreams when I go to sleep at night.
But I don’t want to talk too much about the new book in progress. Not yet. Let me get back to THREE-MARTINI LUNCH, since that one is finally in a much more metabolized state in my brain. The expected pub date is June 7, 2016. For those of you who are curious about how all this works, now is the time where I go over copyedits, fill out author questionnaires, and let the marketing folks at Penguin begin doing their thing (“their thing” being getting in-house reads, thinking about a marketing plan, looking at cover art, all of that magical stuff).
One of the prompts on the author questionnaire was to write a short description of the book. I’ll paste what I wrote here, but with the disclaimer that it’s not “official” – meaning, bits of this may or may not get used in the jacket copy (you know… that blurb printed either on the inside flap or on the back cover). Generally, the publisher/editor/marketing people come up with something far superior. You wouldn’t think so, but writers are usually pretty lousy at summarizing their own novels. Ask a writer to come up with a brief, catchy description and he/she suddenly becomes incredibly clumsy with words. Don’t ask me why. It’s a bizarre paradox.
In any case, I’ll end here, with my best idea of what I think the book is about.
It is 1958 in Manhattan, the publishing business is thriving on book deals and martinis, and Greenwich Village is buzzing with Beatniks.
Cliff Nelson, son of esteemed book editor Roger Nelson, believes he may be the next Kerouac. He fancies himself a rebel and roams the Village in the company of a rowdy pack of irreverent Beats, but secretly he hopes by writing a novel he will win his father’s approval. The only problem is Cliff is better at posing as a writer than actually putting words on the page.
Eden Katz is a suburban Jewish girl new to the city. Instead of hoping to meet and marry a man, Eden’s ambition is to work in a publishing house, and someday be promoted to editor. When she is unfairly fired by a boss who sees her as a rival, Eden decides to allow herself a “do-over.” She cuts her hair à la Audrey Hepburn, becomes “Eden Collins,” and gets a new job – working for Cliff’s father.
Miles Tillman is a young black man from Harlem. Like Langston Hughes before him, he attends and graduates from Columbia. But life after graduation is listless; Miles works as a bicycle messenger – mostly ferrying manuscripts and other correspondence for Torchon & Lyle, NYC’s second-largest publishing house – until a quest to recover his father’s journal sends him across the country to San Francisco, where he grapples with both his father’s past as well as his own sexual identity.
When Eden comes across the long, poetic manuscript Miles has written about his father, she mistakes it for Cliff’s and hands it to her boss. In the fallout of this mix-up, their three lives are forever changed.