Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. In truth, I have been writing, be it journals, poems, stories and now, books, for over 50 years. Life's wonderful distractions kept me from pursuing it full time until more recently.
I have already had some successes: In addition to two professional journal articles, I published a short story, Visit to a Chat Room, in the March/April, 2005 edition of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and won a prize from the North Carolina Writers' Workshop for A Trip to the City. And, thanks to Kickstarter, I published my business memoir, No Fear: Tales of a Change Agent, which has recently been reviewed by the Toronto Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/management/an-insiders-view-of-what-doomed-nortel/article24030808/
I am almost ready to publish my first novel, Schneid's!
In the middle-sixties, drugs rode the subways from the inner city to the eastern suburbs of Queens, where white middle class families would be changed forever. Coming of age during that period, teenagers lived in fear of the draft, as Vietnam took over the national psyche. To cope, some enlisted, some went to great lengths to dodge the draft, even to the extent of harming themselves, and some ran away to Canada. Too many didn’t get out of the decade alive.
Schneid’s is a 150,000 word novel that chronicles DAVEY O’CONNOR, an Irish Catholic who gets sucked into the vortex of the times and strays from the righteous path his parents had laid out for him. He succumbs to temptations, makes mistakes big and small and learns to survive. In Bellerose, Queens--part of New York City but bordering Nassau County-- "Schneid’s" was a real candy store that evolved from a family-friendly respite into a hangout for hundreds of kids, from naïve pot heads to angry gangsters.
It’s become a cliché that if you remember the sixties, you didn’t really experience them. Not true for all of us. Personally, I knew people accused of murder and had a number of friends who died of drug overdoses. But Schneid’s is no memoir. I found my own story too banal compared to what I observed and heard about. Schneid's fits within literary and historical fiction. It captures a time and a place, as well as tells the story of a group of teenagers who struggle to make sense of it all, with very different outcomes for each.
The Sixties' generation was defined, yes, by sex, drugs and rock n' roll, but most important, by the Vietnam War, which provides the influential context for the story of Davy and his friends. Schneid's is a coming of age story, whose characters epitomize the essence of an era.
Once again, I am seeking your help so that I can make this story available in multiple formats!
As always, peace and love to all!
Risks and challenges
I learned so much from self-publishing No Fear that I feel the risks are greatly reduced. For example, I learned that the copy editing and self-publishing process was a lot more expensive than I had anticipated, and thus am asking for a bigger kickstart this round. Fortunately, I am also rolling the income from No Fear into this book so I have a leg up as well.
The biggest challenge is leveraging the success of non-fiction into a successful novel, and assuring that I learn enough about the editing process to pull it all together. As I did with No Fear, I will seek help far and wide to help me overcome any and all obstacles!
- (30 days)