Meanwhile, in Iberia Parish Louisiana, pilgrims seek a new home in a spiritual enclave established by a charlatan radio preacher. The entire community falls victim to an ancient heresy. Are these disparate universes part of a common, supernatural conflict?
Decent writers need to be self critical. Almost brutally so. It's not easy to get honest, unbiased feedback about your writing. You can write something both sloppy and disastrous, and well-meaning friends will rave about its non-existent merits. Some fellow writers are good critics, but there are times when the style and tone of a critique suggests the remarks are not entirely objective. The best critics are those without any emotional investment, positive or negative, in the creator of the material.
The most difficult aspect, for me, is finding proper balance. I need to earn the right to take some small pride in the work; to sense some accomplishment and be motivated to move forward. At the same time, I have to remove my ego from the first, second, or third draft product and look for ways to make it better.
2. What inspired you to write this book?
Summertime, Book Two is the conclusion of a story that was too long for a single book. I didn't want to come to market with a $25 paperback.
On a broader scale, the characters inspired the story. In fact, it's really their story and I simply put it on paper. I spent a lot of years resisting the temptation to write this at all. Up until a month or two before publishing Book One, I thought I might put the manuscript away in a drawer once it was complete. My characters, and a handful of beta readers, all insisted that was a bad idea.
3. How many hours per day do you spend writing?
There are a couple of answers to that. One of them is that I am typing on a keyboard for anywhere between zero and three or four hours per day. The other is that I never stop writing. I toss my characters into a place that must be somewhere in my subconscious, and the stories develop pretty much on their own. If I try to "force" a chapter, it shows- and usually stinks.
4. Is this your first book?
No. My previous book was non-fiction. Most of my published work consists of magazine articles in recreational boating magazines. The Summertime books are my first novel.
5. Name your top five favorite books.
The Winter of our Discontent, Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl. All by John Steinbeck.
6. Do you have a book soundtrack?
Summertime, in the title, refers to a Broadway show tune that originally appeared in the musical, Porgy and Bess. It was written by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, (and they are acknowledged). My favorite version of "Summertime" is performed by Janis Joplin. The two people in the universe who have never heard Janis do that song should check it out. The line, "one of these moanin's, you gonna rise up singin- you gonna spread your wings, and take to the sky" might be closely associated with the plot of the Summertime books.
Anybody with an interest in hearing Mary Towne, backed by Memphis Rail, might listen to "Misty", by the late great Etta James. The version on the "Blues in the Night" album, with Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, is exceptionally close. Almost everybody has heard Janis do "Summertime," but Etta's spectacular, knock-your-socks-off rendition of "Misty" is a little more obscure.