Nothing in common but air and water. That’s what Bobby Burkett, the antagonist in my new novel, Take the Lively Air, has to say about folks in my hometown. He’s an outsider, you see. Comes all the way from Pennsylvania to Jersey to do some fishing, surf fishing, to be exact. There’s been an accident involving his uncle. The way it looks to Bobby, it’s a simple case of road rage. His uncle’s pick-up has been hit and then pushed across an intersection. There are tire marks. And the truck stopped when its tires hit the curb. The other vehicle pushed it “…like a goddamn snowplow.”
Bobby’s pissed. Pissed is what he does best, and the focus of his anger is Riley Walker. Riley, the other driver in the accident, is in his mid-fifties and scared. He’s scared he’s losing his mind. He has nightmares, most of them about his former wife. She was killed in a traffic accident thirteen years ago. Guess who was driving?
Riley’s got to find out what happened at this new accident. He can see for himself his Jeep has its grill bashed in, and the pick-up truck’s been pushed against the curb by the Jeep. Trouble is he can’t remember. He bashed his head open, and he can’t remember exactly what happened.
He has to find out because Molly, the woman he’s falling for, recently adopted her grandson, Klyde, whose father is in drug rehab. This grandson is 12. He’s a good kid, but a handful (three handfuls). Molly doesn’t want some maniac hanging around Klyde–that’s the correct spelling, btw.
Riley, in case you haven’t guessed, is the MC. He’s where the action is. He has to find out what he’s done and try to make amends, try to find common ground. Riley has to dig deep, and in doing so, make amends for both accidents, including the one haunting him from thirteen years before.
The novel’s told from multiple viewpoints. Riley, Molly, and Klyde, along with Vera and Justin, a young (30’s…30’s to me is young) couple. There’s also Gus, Vera’s uncle and driver of the pick-up. And don’t forget Bobby. These characters are of different backgrounds, socioeconomic situations, political leanings, and religious beliefs. How to sort all this. I have to tell you, it wasn’t easy.
I hope you got a little interested in my novel. It’s in the re-write stage, which could could last quite a while. I hope you weren’t put off by my not-so-subtle way of catching your interest. All I can say is, don’t be like Bobby.
Whatever your viewpoint, now’s not the time to find differences. Let’s find similarities. Aside from air and water–fairly important items–what do we have in common?
“So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct our attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breath the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
~John F. Kennedy