There has been all kinds of speculation about why people write stories. But most would agree that it's a way for them to work through unresolved personal issues, gain perspective on the events of their lives and, in some cases, wreak revenge on people who have wronged them by using fictional characters as catharsis. I co-wrote The Hermit of Humbug Mountain because of a night of terror (all created by the overactive imagination of the precocious 9-year old me) spent wandering around lost on an Oregon Coastal headland.
Shotgun Start, my hard-boiled detective novel set on the high desert of New Mexico, is, in part, the fulfillment of a life-long fantasy--to be skilled enough at a sport to compete at the highest levels. I have to confess, I have recurring dreams about soaring above the rim and over the hands of the athletic giants of the NBA. Mike Nettleton, the greatest six-foot tall, white, non-jumping power forward in the history of the game, that's me. At 62, I still fantasize about throwing a curve-ball that fools even the most accomplished hitters in major league baseball. A-Rod. Whiff. Ichiro?--sit down bud !!! And golf? I'm totally delusional.
I've played the game since I was twelve years old, taken lessons from a dozen pros, all of whom, after taking a look at my swing would shake their heads and ask me if I'd considered taking up bowling. "At least you don't have to go look for the ball," one of them told me. As hard as I've worked at it and as much as I practice, I'm only a slightly-above average golfer. Depending, of course on your definition of average.
Creating the character of Neal Egan for Shotgun Start let me live vicariously, as the disgraced former cop hustles rich suckers on the tightly manicured fairways of the country clubs and resort courses of central New Mexico. Neal's talent is offset by the disaster that is his personal life and the danger he faces when his ex-wife's lover is shotgunned to death and the police believe he might be an accomplice. His inability to stay out of the investigation leads him into a world of murderous bikers, the methamphetamine trade, internet pornography and the Mexican Mafia.
Here's a question for you. What is your longest held secret fantasy? What would you have liked to have done, that you never had the chance (or ability) to do? Would love to hear about it.