Why I'm trying to do it.
I got a job out of college as a staff writer on a magazine in Los Angeles. The other staff writer was Steve Erickson. He wrote fiction, complex, passionate, brilliant stuff. I tried to write fiction. Occasionally I'd write something decent, but most was bad imitation Vonnegut. Steve and I were friends, collaborated on music reviews and critiqued each other's stories, but I didn't have a clue how to get to his level. Steve would go on to publish seven novels with publishing houses like Random House, get a MacArthur Genius Fellowship and to be critically acclaimed by The New York Times, Vanity Fair, etc. "The next Pynchon." I continued to work at magazines and on the side write short stories, plays, screenplays, etc. with a little success, enough to keep me going. I will find his secret! I had an agent for my first novel. She got it to a small but prestigious publishing house that looked liked it was going to buy it on the basis of the first 50 pages. She sent in the remainder and they turned it down, saying it was too depressing. The agent dropped me. I said, screw it, I'll publish it myself. Which I did. It got terrific reviews from those who would review it (dark and bleak do come up frequently). With The Red Album, I didn't try an agent or a publisher. I published it a year ago with Virtual Bookworm. It too got good reviews, but I was troubled by some aspects, so I revised it and republished in September, 2009. It seems to be getting even better reviews now. I think it's less bleak, almost rising in hopefulness to stark.
What I'm trying to do.
In my novels I'm trying to capture the struggle of a white working class kid to overcome a brutal family, social and economic environment within the context of an irrevocably changing America. "There's something happening here, but what it is ain't exactly clear," is the stance of my hero Sam Nesbitt as he follows his path through the early 60s of "Mad Men" to the late 60s dissolution of the Beatles. He's neither hippie nor hood, though he meets plenty of both and is drawn into their worlds with dark and comic consequence. The novels are set in New Jersey, which I treat with tough love. I want the reader to tramp through those swamps and landfills, smell the refineries, and hear the Palace Amusements carousel. Music plays a large part in both novels, as I believe it did in the lives of most young people, and it is through music that Sam seeks redemption.
Chandler, Zola, West, Vonnegut, Bukowski, Murakami, Dickens, George Eliot, Gaddis, Greene
I'm a Los Angeles-based writer and teacher. My fictiion has been published in numerous literary magazines, including Caffeine, Bachy, Beyond Baroque, UCLA’s Westwinds and Cal Arts Black Clock. I'm the author of the novel The Perfume Factory, a coming-of-age novel set on the Jersey Shore, which was published in November 2005. The Perfume Factory was a Kirkus Recommended and received a 2008 Writer's Digest Honorable Mention in Mainstream Fiction. The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed, sequel to The Perfume Factory, was published in September 2009 and had been lauded by numerous critics, My plays include The Amazing Brenda Strider, produced at Glaxa Theatre, Los Angeles, March-April 2000. Brenda was a Backstage West Critic’s Pick and won that year’s Maddy Award for Playwriting. It was produced at CoHo Theatre, Portland, October-November 2002. My play Mimosa was produced at Los Angeles Theater Center, March 2002. Mimosa was the featured play in Wordsmiths Playwrights Festival, presented by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department. Mimosa is published by Playscripts Inc. My newest play, Dupe, had a workshop production at the Second Stage Theatre as part of the Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series and in July 2007 was featured in Ten Grand Production’s Cold Cuts Series in New York City. Dupe recently advanced in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater's Playfest Competition. I