Michael and I wrote a novel which was tied to a film deal that fell through because a certain famous director known for never having a flop had one in the forty-million-dollar range that nearly bankrupted a certain film studio and put our movie/novel on hold. [DEEP BREATH] While we waited for recovery, Mad Max came out and effectively killed our wonderful idea of post-apocalyptic, highway-convoy mayhem. I also tried writing a couple of "great American novels" during this period. Finally, tiring of not being published after a wonderful start, I stole a page from Goethe's Faust (I was once a German major in college) and used all of my knowledge as a classical singer to write a story about a tenor who sings well, but lacks that little extra training to push him into stardom.

A famous diva takes him under her wing and into her bed, and he improves. But she vanishes in a transatlantic plane crash. Amazingly, she returns to the tenor in his dreams, continuing to improve his voice - but engaging in increasingly more sadistic sex play which seems all too real. Simultaneously, everyone standing in the tenor's way to fame and fortune dies, by one variation or another, of a lack of air. The protagonist must decide if the price of fame and fortune is worth his soul. We must decide if he is nuts or the pawn of a succubus.

I tossed off the novel part-time in six weeks. Naturally, the first place my agent sent it to wanted it.

Fun fact: The fictional town of Millstone Gap in my novel is also my permanent model railroad layout. The layout is forever at 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Christmas Eve, 1959.

 
A view from the Millstone River, featuring the grist mill converted to little theater.
Millstone