I have four novels listed below, and I consider the first two Learners, or what Stephen King calls “drawer novels” – those early writings which were the training ground for a craft. Though I’m proud of the stories told, I have since told better stories, and in better fashion. The fourth novel is now in progress, a situational plot set in Tunisia’s Grande Erg Oriental desert.
1. Puddle Jumper
An editor/friend stated early on he hated the title, so I suggested “Delusions of a Shared Existence?” Sorry, too cerebral. Puddle Jumper is Cam’s hitch-hiking trip from a fictional town in Canada to Texas (during which it rains often, hence the jumping of puddles), and the characters he meets along the way. In Texas, he hopes to meet an ex-girlfriend, and pour sugar in her gastank as retribution for cheating on him then dumping him. I know: puerile, but it was fun, and had a pretty tidy ending that didn’t include sugaror gastanks. I’m saving this story for my family to laugh at when I’m old and infirm and dodderingly unlaughable.
2. The Repatriation
Heavily-plotted and largely influenced by John Grisham’s story lines, less the murders and lawerly wit, The Repatriation is about Lewis Hobbes, a fund manager, and his transfer to the company’s Tokyo office. He meets stubborn and resentful employees, criminal intent (remember Nick Leeson and Barings?), and illicit investment activities that go beyond the provincial borders of Tokyo to span the corporation’s worldwide presence.
3. Lying with Chiyo
Cole Thompson thought he knew Japan. After six years living within Tokyo’s Yamanote loop, he spoke the language, he understood the culture, he even visited the Shinto shrine once a year to welcome the New Year. He had grown… accustomed. But a night of haggis and scotch at The American Club in Tokyo would shatter his complacency. There, amongst drunken foreigners and servile Japanese, he would meet Chiyo Toa — enchanting, articulate, professional, and married — who would change his life forever.
Lying with Chiyo opens the kimono of modern relationships in Japan. Chiyo Toa is an icon of the non-traditional Japanese woman — passionate, determined, funny, fragile. But she is duplicitous in her desire, and her search for satisfaction sends Cole Thompson spinning, halfway around the world..
4. Desert Rats
“Who was it that wrote ‘the tourist must always get screwed!’?”
Thus begins the tentatively-titled Desert Rats, a story of two journalists antagonized by a malicious local then stranded in Tunisia’s desert, the Grande Erg Oriental. Jan Wood and Young Soon don’t understand the forces that have brought and left them in the middle of Hell with a single ratty goatskin of rancid water to survive on, but realize they only have each other to rely on if they want to get out alive.