Current Release: Three at once: My Thomas, Letter From Freedom, and Letter From Money
Describe your current release in two sentences?
MY THOMAS is a meticulously-researched re-creation of Martha Jefferson's journal (1770-1872) that was released by Doubleday (1993-BOMC) and reissued 1/15/14 by Wheatmark. One reviewer called it the best historical novel he had read since THE KILLER ANGELS.
LETTER FROM FREEDOM and LETTER FROM MONEY, also out 1/15/14, are the first two volumes of a trilogy (LETTER FROM WONDER will be out this fall) that are couched as fantasy romance and bring forward the themes from MY THOMAS - freedom of mind, universal unity, racial harmony, what it means to be human. FREEDOM begins in 1976 on an island "where human life finally works"; MONEY begins in 2001 and initiates our billionaire hero's efforts to improve a dysfunctional world.
What are you working on?
I am just finishing LETTER FROM WONDER, which completes the first trilogy of a seven-novel series. The Letters From Love Series is planned to take three generations of one wealthy family through about sixty years during which they live their complicated lives and loves while also exploring two essential questions: what is human nature? How can we advance our culture to bring us optimal happiness? I have spent decades reading afterlife evidence, and from it I have learned that human nature is very different from the essentially barbarous "Animal Farm" or "1984" sort of baseline that many people seem to assume. Human minds, when entirely free and allowed to come together freely, can be gloriously perfected. While it is meant to be entertainment, this series also explores the endless possibilities of the human spirit.
Getting a book to market often takes a village. Who has helped you on the way?
My personal fiction editor and guide for 25 years has been Sandi Gelles-Cole. She is brilliant!
R. Craig Hogan has been my mentor in doing afterlife research, and he helped me to independently publish The Fun of Dying - Find Out What Really Happens Next in 2010. That little book continues to bring me joy.
Wheatmark has proven to be the perfect independent publisher, the ideal mix of guidance and firmness and encouragement.
Finally, Sandi suggested that I work with Penny Sansevieri and her Author Marketing Experts (AME) to publicize my series. What a wonderfully professional and supportive team!
Do you have a favorite or interesting reader meet moment?
I have returned to publishing fiction just this year, having last put out novels in 1992 and 1993, so my memorable experiences with meeting readers have involved my 2010 nonfiction work, The Fun of Dying. My favorite moment with a reader was a call that I received from the wife of a man who was then dying of emphysema. She phoned me and said that her husband was in his last days, and they were having lots of fun reading passages from my book together. That was all that he wanted to do, and he was getting very excited about all the wonderful things he was about to see. I gave her a phone-hug to pass along to him and told her that her husband was the whole reason why I wrote the book!
What is your favorite way to procrastinate?
When I was younger I buried myself in wonderful writers - my favorites were Pearl Buck, John Steinbeck, John Updike, and Anne Tyler. Nowadays to avoid working at practicing law, I simply write! When I have a novel cooking I can put off actual work endlessly by clicking back to my current manuscript.
I find it thrilling when people ask questions or want to talk about the ideas in MY THOMAS and in these new novels just out. What a privilege it is to be invited into your life to share ideas! LETTER FROM WONDER will be out soon, and will complete this first trilogy of The Letters From Love Series. LETTER FROM CRISIS is due out late in 2015. Thank you so much for reading, so I can joyfully keep on writing!!