They say every novelist is insecure and I believe it based on subjective experience. I feel like a cat dancing on a hot stove. I’m not sure busy readers will take the time to tag along with the tale of beautiful Lizette Karlson, hippie air-head; Rocket the tugboat sailor; Looney the wayward orca; and the craziness of the 1970s. But, don’t get me wrong. first readers of the novel have had plenty of good things to say and the unpublished manuscript won a prestigious literary prize in December. It’s just that I wish the story was a heartwarming tale of love and lust and that everything worked out happily at the end, but those stories are something else, not the tale in my debut novel, Adrift in the Sound now available from Amazon.
I think about debut literary successes like Sara Gruen’s first novel, Water for Elephants. It’s a story set in a Depression-era circus and published by a smart small press. The novel has been turned into a forthcoming movie. And, I just finished reading Arundhati Roy’s beautifully lyrical first novel, The God of Small Things, which won England’s prestigious Man Booker Prize. The story deals with intense social conflict, also a theme addressed in my book. These authors debuted with remarkable stories and I sincerely congratulate them and take heart from their success.
The context of my story is what happens when the free-love, free-drugs 60s end, what happens when the party’s over, how some of us survived the crash and came out the other end, while others didn’t. The carnage isn’t always pretty and the novel’s language is sometimes rough, but the story is truthful. Although there are no elephants, my story does have a lovable orca, which should count for something. My intention for readers is that they not to notice at first that the crime that’s taking place, then wonder if it really is a crime. What I’m trying to do is illuminate an era and set up a satisfying conclusion that turns into a moral puzzler that sticks in the craw.
But, I’m afraid I haven’t pulled it off, that I’ve produced a flawed novel and no audience will embrace the story. Like the Carney said: “Close, but no cigar.” I hope I’m wrong or that I’ll find a way to fix it, maybe with a next novel. As for now, Adrift in the Sound is being printed and is available for preliminary sale on Amazon, with an official launch June 15. As my editor, the talented Tom Thomas said: “The book stands as story,” which is one of his highest compliments. I’ll take that, and please pass the Tylenol.