My novel, Born Speaking Lies, is going to be published on Saturday.
That sounds so strange to me. After all the time, energy, and grief I put into the manuscript it’s a little hard to believe it’s actually going to be a book.
I’ve racked up an untold amount of rejections, and I got awfully close to a deal with one publisher a few years ago, but they turned me down because they don't do crime fiction.
Finally the lovely people at Fomite Press in Burlington, Vermont agreed to publish my story about a bunch of Brooklyn gangsters who raise a whole lot of hell between here and the Poconos.
And so here we go.
I started writing this book on a typewriter back when my parents were still alive, my two nieces had yet to be born, and Reagan was president.
Now I can’t honestly say I’ve worked on the book for all those years—not even close. I’d put it aside, take up some other project that I was certain would pay off handsomely, only to see that effort come up empty.
Take it from one who knows, multitasking is the biggest scam of the century. All you get for your misguided efforts is a pile of half-finished projects and a whole lot of frustration.
And I’d rewrite and revise, over and over. Something wouldn’t look right and I’d tear it up and start all over again. In one sense I’ve actually written several books.
In that time I moved from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania to Connecticut and then back to Brooklyn, taking various versions of the story with me from place to place.
I rejoiced in becoming an uncle twice, changed jobs God alone knows how many times, saw my parents grow and die, and bid farewell to our family home.
Chapter and Verse
All the while the book was looming in the background someplace waiting for the next rewrite.
I have to ask myself did I really want to finish it or did I just want to keep on revising the manuscript until I traded my keyboard for a harp.
The thing about constant rewriting is that you can tell yourself how great your work is going to be when it’s finished without ever having to produce the goods.
Now I have to publicize the book, which feels uncomfortable after all of these years as a reporter. I’m used to PR people pitching ideas to me; it’s weird contacting reporters and trying to get some ink.
I’m terrified that people will hate the book, that it’s not good enough, that I’ve deluded myself into thinking I could write a novel.
But that’s just more negativity that I don’t need. I have to remind myself that I’ve done something that millions of people have promised to do but never delivered: I’ve written a book.
I’ll be starting up on the next book soon and this time I’m going to organize my thoughts better and cut down on the rewrites. This time I’m going to take less time.
I dedicated the book to my parents, though I know my mother would not have approved of the salty language that appears throughout the story. (Sorry, Mom)
I simply say to them “wish you were here.” And those are the truest words I’ve ever written.