Birth of Twins: 2 new novels

This month (October 2017) I celebrate the birth of twins: two new novels, long in the making…

Red Rock Road, Light Blue Sea

—breaks new ground in the territory of the nonfiction novel, creative nonfiction, and metafiction; daring to explore the query, “What is a novel?”—a story of itself in the making, and of the characters who make it.

Midlife Canadians in a fledgling relationship, Wilson and Noella trek the wild edges of Spain and Portugal, a honeymoon-flavored pilgrimage of creative inspiration. Navigating between bliss and burnout, they retreat to the island of Formentera, where their rustic cottage proves a crucible of reinvention: of self, of love, of new art.

Red Rock Road serves as more than a narrative guide through the backcountry of Iberia’s wild places—its rocky coves, mountain passes, castles and monasteries, orchards and stone villages, ancient terraces and deserted beaches. It gives the reader a spiritual map to explore the nature of freedom, its potentials and limitations in the context of landscape and history, self and other.

Read more, below…

Order now from Amazon:

Kindle ebook: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Paperback (247 pages): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca


The Last Book: Further Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man

—a literary mashup of Thomas Mann, Jack Kerouac, and David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)—Mann’s narrator having convinced me to indulge him past his untimely end, risking, in my turn, the role of imposter, in a masquerade of the master.

Thus Mann’s unfinished European classic takes a speculative turn to a dystopian future, via a 70s joyride through middle America.

Precocious con-man Felix Krull meets his match in Sophie Vaughan, astral temptress and first woman president. Together they must choose sides in the looming battle between the ruling Hierarchy and the rebellious Panarchists.

Order now from Amazon:

Kindle ebook: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Paperback (373 pages): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca


Thomas Mann

The Last Book was conceived in 1976 when I finished Mann’s Felix Krull and was inspired to continue the narrative voice of its hero… to continue the tale Mann failed to finish before he died in 1955.

Six years into writing, in 1982, I packed in my yellow legal pads to a snowbound cabin in interior BC, to pull together the first full draft. By 1990 I had a manuscript I could run by an agent I had at the time, Brent Laughren. My working title was Unearthly Powers. On my way to Vancouver for our meeting, I noticed in Packrat Annie’s bookstore, in Nelson, a prominently displayed hardcover novel by Anthony Burgess called Earthly Powers. It was published in 1980, a decade before, but I wasn’t aware of it till then. Would my title then be seen as derivative? No matter; the gestation period  (featuring half a dozen major revisions and restructurings) took another quarter century to come to term… forty-one years in all.

Mann himself, we learn in George Steiner’s Afterword to the novel published upon his death, had begun Felix Krull at age thirty-six, briefly revived it thirty-two years later, and finally resumed it at age seventy-nine, in 1954; a span of forty-three years.

Read more about The Last Book | Excerpt: Prefatory Confession


As for Red Rock Road, Light Blue Sea: that nonfiction novel took seventeen years and two dozen drafts to flesh out and complete, following its conception during the journey it traces around the wild edges of Spain and Portugal in 2000. The travel journal entered on a first-generation tablet, given more imaginative territory to explore in a cozy cottage on Formentera, gathered into itself essays, sketches, snatches of dialogue, book reviews, personal history… the usual collection of paraphernalia that spills out of that train of shape-shifting boxcars known as the history of the novel.

The “nonfiction” cast with embroidered baggage is all there, riding the fictional vehicle to the virtual Moorish palace of art. First person, third person; past tense, present tense; each has their place and purpose.

Relevant titles to compare with the content or style of Red Rock Road, Light Blue Sea include: Shirley MacLaine’s The Camino; Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love; Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines; Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence; Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; and Iris Murdoch’s The Black Prince and The Sea, the Sea.

Read more about Red Rock Road | Excerpts and Sketches


Order now from Amazon:

Red Rock Road, Light Blue Sea

Kindle ebook: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Paperback (247 pages): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

The Last Book: Further Adventures of Felix Krull, Confidence Man

Kindle ebook: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Paperback (373 pages): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

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