In my latest effort, Hail Mary, I took a daring (for me) step left, getting away from the mystery/detective genre and noir fiction that I love and usually write.
This time, Hail Mary was different. I didn’t consciously plan it, I hadn’t even thought about such a thing and if I had thought about it, I’m sure I’d have quickly discarded the premise.
But it didn’t happen that way. One night not too far removed from this night I began dreaming and unlike so many dreams that skip around like bees pollinating flowers, I watched this dream unfold before my very eyes. It actually had continuity and made sense, at least to me.
I woke from this dream around four in the morning and it was as if I’d been watching a movie. It had been very visual and not only made sense in its own way, but I knew I had to get up and do something before it faded from memory as so many dreams quickly do.
Within a week I had at least a first draft. It wouldn’t have taken that long, but aside from writing, I do have a life (well, sort of). I mean I have some coffee, shave, etc. Have more coffee. Go about turning off the exterior lights, More coffee. I’ve read that Honoré de Balzac downed something like seventy-odd cups of coffee a day. I called Guiness and threatened to drink ninety, but they haven’t called back. Maybe I’ll have to talk about an even hundred.
Then there are all the other little things that have to be done. Take out the garbage, check my email, cook. Oh yes, I’m the head cook around here and I get to clean up the kitchen and wash the dishes as well. My wife and I like to go together for lunch, about the only quiet time we get to spend together without constant interruption during the day. Besides, I can sit at the computer only so long before I feel so sleepy I just have to go lie down for a bit. Half the night I can’t sleep, but during the day I can, especially if I’m doing something important.
Then of course there’s Klondike 3 card draw solitaire. That somehow seems an important part of the day.
But in Hail Mary’s case, the book pretty much wrote itself. Mediums used to talk of automatic writing (perhaps they still do). It was something like that. The book poured out as quickly as I could type. Of course I can type much faster than I can think so frequently I have to go back and translate what I’ve written into legible English.
Still, the entire little book took only a short time and required very little revision, mostly typos, etc. It just flowed along and if I could take credit, I’d say I dreamed up a clever and devious plot.
What happened is that Mary and Harry “Bulldog” Drummond, a retired cop, have been married over forty years. Mary was a wild party girl, a true free-spirit, while the Bulldog was not only conservative, but a by-the-book no-nonsense cop. When he was called to Whitey’s Tavern one night because of a disturbance, he found the disturbance to be Mary. He cuffed her and took her out of the building, but by the time he got her to the station, they both realized they’d found their soul mate. Okay, seems unlikely that water and electricity could form a soul mate duo, but they did and they realized it right away.
Shortly after their marriage Estelle came along. She was a future cop just like dad.
Creighton followed, but completely unlike dad, Cray was a diffident, non-confrontational fellow who did not want anything to do with being a police officer. He became a pretty good accountant however.
This starts with a bad day for Cray. His father dies and Cray gets fired the same day. Then hoping to keep Mary at home with him and his family until after the funeral, he brings her home, but the day after the funeral, unlicensed Mary “borrows” Cray’s car and recruits a couple of old girlfriends she’s known since the seventh grade. They go off together to comfort Mary and that’s when things really go crazy.
Somehow in the end however, everything works out. Mary it turns out isn’t quite as flaky as everyone thought and nobody got killed or hurt…well except for the four dejected and bandaged bikers sitting in jail where they rue the day they ever messed with those three little old ladies.
Hail Marry will be out this month at amazon.com and all the usual suspect book venders and can be pre-ordered at http://writewordsinc.com (Cambridge Books)
I really think you’ll like this one.