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The Blog

The Book of Ruth

May 4, 2024

The minute the central story arc of Home Was a Dream came together in my mind, a fresh challenge immediately clamored for attention: how was I going to tell this particular story? The first two novels in the Tim Green series (Believe in Me and Never Break the Chain) are narrated almost entirely from Tim’s first-person perspective; you are inside his head, in the present, experiencing what he experiences. But Home Was a Dream began as a story about Tim’s father Bernie, before growing to also feature Bernie’s father, Tim’s grandfather Max. So: how do you employ your series’ established...

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Home Was a Dream

April 9, 2024

The initial seed that grew into Home Was a Dream—the third in what is now officially a series of Tim Green novels—was a reader’s comment that they wished the second book had featured “more about Bernie,” protagonist Tim Green’s music-writer father. Over the past several weeks in this space we’ve explored the roots and branches of the new novel, from that initial seed to my realization that Bernie got into rock and roll as a way of rebelling against an overbearing father, to my further realization that Bernie’s father Max (Tim’s grandfather) was a Jewish teenager during World War II,...

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Cover Me Up

March 28, 2024

Covers are challenging enough without making the job harder on yourself—which I certainly did with Home Was a Dream (coming April 9), by crafting a story that follows three distinct main characters along three distinct timelines. The third Tim Green novel finds Tim digging into his father’s past, only to uncover the shocking truth that one of the factors fueling his father’s long-simmering conflict with his father, Max, was that the latter was a Holocaust survivor. The story follows Tim in the present in a series of framing segments, interspersed with chapters chronicling both Bernie’s and Max’s lives during their...

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March 25, 2024

The title of the new Tim Green novel is a tale in itself. This particular tale begins with one of my favorite songwriters active today: Jason Isbell. The man is a master storyteller whose songs are populated by Faulkneresque characters full of self-doubt and dark corners, either trying to find their way toward the light, or running from it. In his most compelling compositions, these characters are either himself or distorted mirror-images. Nowhere is this truer than on his most personal album Southeastern, whose 2013 release was celebrated last year with a 10th anniversary deluxe edition. Southeastern is filled with...

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Imposter Syndrome

March 18, 2024

The new Tim Green novel—title and publication date to be revealed any moment now—had two chief sources of inspiration. The first was a reader who wanted more of Bernie, Tim’s music-writer father. As discussed last time, thinking about what a Bernie story might look like led me down a logic trail to a conclusion that was both startling and daunting: Bernie’s father Max was a Holocaust survivor. Next came a pitched battle with imposter syndrome. Who was I to retell this, the central story of modern Jewish experience, a singular trauma almost unimaginable in its scope and repercussions? My father...

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Deeper into the Forest

March 11, 2024

Some writers do their best to avoid all feedback from readers. I get it; they want to write without letting the opinions and perspectives of others affect the trajectory of their work. Personally, though, I find reader feedback heartening. Whether it’s positive, negative, or some original blend, feedback from readers signals that the story in question made some sort of impact—left a mark, if you will. The new Tim Green novel—number three, not that anyone’s counting, says the writer whose hard drive folder for this project has been labeled “3” since the day I created it—traces its origins to two...

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Tim Green Will Return (Again)

February 26, 2024

Tim Green will return. Again. Readers of my newsletter and this space have known this was a possibility for some time, thanks to my barely contained enthusiasm about the new novel that’s been gathering momentum for the past two years. As of today, though, it’s official. And while it’s not time just yet to share details like title, publication date, and all the rest, I’m ready to share the subtitle… because for the first time, the new book will carry one: A Tim Green Novel. Since the protagonist of Believe in Me and Never Break the Chain has become the...

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Summer Thunder

February 12, 2024

For more than 20 years I’ve wondered when the right moment might be to tell this story—and now that moment has arrived. It happened on a sweltering midsummer Saturday, the kind of triple-digit Sacramento Valley scorcher that transforms sandals from footwear into safety devices. At the children’s swim meet we were attending, every racer would emerge from the pool and make straight for the relative oasis of shade offered by the tents and canopies blanketing the lawn just outside the fenced-in pool deck. The deck itself was lined on two sides by strips of shade produced by aluminum awnings painted...

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Of Being and Becoming

October 2, 2023

Wampus Multimedia publisher Mark Doyon once described my first novel Believe in Me as “a tale of being and becoming,” a phrase of such piercing power and insight that it still rattles around my brainpan on the regular a dozen years later. I didn’t recognize that’s what that story was about until Mark helped me to see it. The thing about “being and becoming”—that process of progressing from your old self toward a newer and possibly (hopefully) improved version—is that, with luck, you never stop doing it. Humans are meant to evolve and become several versions of ourselves between the...

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Saving Point Reyes

August 10, 2023

Every book has its own unique point of origin, that Big Bang moment when it first miraculously springs from nothingness into its author’s mind. You just never know when it’s going to happen, which helps to explain why this part of the process is both joyous and exasperating. What’s also true if you’re a writer who likes to hang with other writers is that sometimes you’re the parent of a book idea and sometimes you’re just a witness to its birth. Five years ago this month, Karen and I went to visit my older brother Gerry in Inverness, on the...

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