My novella, “HAVEN,” is soon to be reissued by Torquere Press, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Originally published in the Bedside Manner anthology in 2009 is a picaresque bit of madness set in the 1970s. Haven Tucker is a former Vietnam Army medic, now working as an ER nurse in Boston when he meets and falls for Tadeo, an Argentine dancer on the wrong side of the Dirty War, who’s stranded Stateside with a brand-new baby. Evil forces mass on either side of the pair as they try, with a colorful supporting cast of Leathermen, Black Panthers, rednecks and medical types, to figure out how to be together and stay safe.
Cassandra Gold, author of “Hit By Love,” said of the first edition: “HAVEN has action, danger, suspense, and a sweet and unexpected romance made all the sweeter by the many obstacles Haven and Tadeo have to face.” Read Cassandra’s review.
The new edition of HAVEN means an opportunity for me to engage in a thoroughgoing editing and revision phase with a new editor and copy editor. Don’t get me wrong; Jennifer B. did an amazing job with the first edition, but a few years’ interval and (I hope) some improvements to my own writing chops makes for an interesting challenge. I know the second edition of HAVEN will be even better than the first.
|Boston's legendary Ramrod Room has a cameo in "Haven."|
I’ve been rereading the first edition and I’m just as charmed by my characters as I was in 2008 when I first drafted the story. Tadeo and Haven’s story is purposefully farfetched, and it evokes the rollicking vibe I remember from the 1970s in which the story is set. Of course, I was a kid in the 70s, so my memories are filtered by both the magical reality of childhood and the fact that a lot of the rollicking adventures I remember happened to adults in my life. My mom and stepdad had a fascinating group of friends -- artists, intellectuals, and political activists, and culture warriors: our home had a decidedly counterculture feel to it. Thanks to my stepdad, an Argentine exile, part of my childhood occurred within the sphere of influence of Argentina's Dirty War (though we lived in the United States and were never in direct danger). Naturally, he didn't share the grisly details with me, but that atmosphere of unrelenting threat, that feeling that you might never be safe? That was something I learned to empathize with quite young.
So, when writing HAVEN I didn't need to do a lot of research on the War and its consequences; I refreshed my memory as to the timeline, but that was about it. Instead, I spent much more time combing through old maps and records of the New York subway system for names of lines and stops as they would have been in the late 70s. You'd laugh if I told you how many hours I spent tracking down the 1977 subway fare!
One aspect of that era that I was less aware of at the time was the exhilarating post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS era in gay subculture. That spirit, with its almost paradoxical glammy grittiness was the mood I was going for in Haven.
Read the first chapter of the first edition and tell me what you think! Then, tell me something in your life or work that you’ve been happy to get a second chance at.
|Another bar poster from the era of HAVEN.|