Difficult Lies began its journey to publication in about (allow for some fog in the memory) 1993. I know that’s very close, if not spot on. I was committed to painting back then, and though I always loved to write fiction and poetry, I kept the idea of writing in my back pocket as something that might keep me from suicide if I went blind and couldn’t paint.
It was in the early ‘90s that, in the Toledo area, realist painting began to temporarily fall out of favor. I recall that another realist painter friend and I didn’t get in a local show in which we were normally accepted. We went to the show’s opening and stood in front of a very nice abstract painting. He turned to me and said something to the effect that we better learn to paint purple dogs.
I had an Apple II computer back then. I was behind the curve with new technology, and the only thing I used it for was to play an early computer game called Hellcats Over the Pacific. I was addicted, and spent more time than I should have, dog fighting with Japanese Zeroes at night.
I have always loved the game of golf a lot more than it loves me. I also began to fantasize about what it would be like for a normal guy, a hacker like myself, to suddenly become very good at the game. What could be the effect? Would the man’s life change? Would he be able to maintain his relationships? His occupation? His goals? And how might this change in his ability as a golfer believably occur?
One night, instead of Hellcats, I decided to start writing to see what might happen to this fictional man. I remember thinking that within fifteen minutes, I’d know if I was wasting my time.
Twenty-two years later, after stacks of revisions, literary detours, piles of rejections, and lots of self-doubt, Difficult Lies is now published by one of the many fine, fearless small presses who are willing to take a risk on an unknown author. My bucket list had one entry—don’t die with the novel stuck in my computer. Just took my pulse. Yep. Still here.