Back in 2009 I published Same Difference, a hard-boiled detective novel that served as both a kind of fiction-writing apprenticeship for me and a chance to explore that fun, page-turning, puzzle-creating-and-solving formula represented by that type of novel. The book is set in New York City in the mid-1970s, and while it necessarily incorporates a lot of my own experiences, it is mostly an invention, pieced together from my memory of the era and lots of other second-hand research.
I wrote the first draft of Same Difference several years before, rewriting it a couple of times including changing what had been a third-person narration into first-person. It then took me a while to do the extra work to get it ready for publication. I did spend some time shopping it around to publishers, by the way, a couple of whom were very positive with their feedback. But no one I was talking to seemed to eager to do anything in the detective subgenre and so I ended up proceeding with it on my own.
Really it was Vera who lit the fire under me, causing me to move forward and eventually get it out into the world, and I was so very grateful to her for doing so. It was satisfying to get to the end of such a project and see it through to publication, and to get nice feedback from those who’ve read it has been even more gratifying.
You can find Same Difference over on Amazon both in paperback and for the Kindle.
It wasn’t that long after Same Difference appeared that I began searching for new subjects. I didn’t really want to do a sequel or even another “hard-boiled” story. Nor was I interested in writing anything about poker, given how much I write about poker otherwise.
I began work on a new story, one based a little more closely on some of my own experiences as a kid growing up in North Carolina. It became another murder mystery of sorts, with the young hero of the book working with others trying to sort out “whodunit.” I liked the initial draft and a few of the characters, and kept reworking it until finally I began to have some friends read and offer feedback.
Then I did something similar to what happened with the first novel -- I waited. Like a couple of years. I’d bring it out from time to time, rereading and tinkering, but was mostly in a holding pattern with it until last summer when I finally tried again to see whether or not I could get the thing into a form I felt comfortable sharing with the world.
It kind of dovetailed on the curator-like stuff I performed with all of that music I’d made many years ago, an effort that culminated in my releasing seven albums all at once at the start of September. As was the case with that project, I found myself in a position where I finally decided I’d rather not just keep what I’d spent all that effort and time creating to myself any longer.
as my young nephew might say).
The book is called Obsessica, the title a reference to a character in the book but also in a way describing my own obsessive relationship with every tiny little detail. You can get a print copy right now over at Lulu, and in a few weeks it will start to turn up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other places where you get get books online. Soon I plan also to have an ebook version available -- will let you know.
Here is a blurb, to entice further:
Eric Younger tells the story of his boyhood infatuation with a friend’s older sister, Jessica. An unexpected sequence of events finds Eric being suddenly enlisted by Jessica to help to solve a mystery, providing Eric a distraction from his parents’ impending divorce and a chance to get to know Jessica and her strangely obsessive ways.
Click on these cover images to see bigger versions of them. Like I say this one is certainly more autobiographical (also still a fiction), set as it is in 1980 and featuring a narrator-protagonist who was about my age then. But once again, don’t expect to find any card playing whatsoever -- just one fleeting reference to a “poker face,” included almost as a in-joke. Kind of like a lot of other thematic references and details in the book, all of which I would be delighted to discuss with anyone who reads the sucker.
Click here to order a copy from Lulu, and like I say I’ll be letting you know when it turns up elsewhere to purchase as well as when an ebook version becomes available.
(EDIT [added 2/7/16]: Obsessica is now available on Amazon!)