“What the hell?”
Rusty Daniels swerved his shiny new four-by-four pickup off the roadand out of the crush of traffic. Open-mouthed, he stared at the gigantic billboard erected on thehillside above Highway 395.
1. Tell me about the first novel you ever wrote. Whatever happened to it?
My first novel was born a short story, written via an all-night gusher of adrenaline, in a motel room on the way back home from the out-of-state high school reunion I'd just attended. My first reunion -- my first short story. But after I got home, I realized there was a lot more I wanted to include in that tale about reconnecting with old friends and classmates. Until then, I'd never considered writing something as lengthy as a book. I had been writing for publication, but that was poetry, short nostalgia pieces, and opinion pieces for one newspaper, while reporting for another. But that reunion romance just grew and grew and grew, until it became a 400+ page manuscript. More accurately, it became a 400+ page dust catcher, because it has never even been submitted to a publisher for consideration. It was my "learning" book, and it's still a story I love, with wonderful characters and a unique setting. So whenever I hit a wall with whatever I’m working on, I think about dusting off that manuscript, doing major surgery on it, and then seeing if it might fly. But I probably never will. There are too many other stories to tell.
2. What's the first thing you do after you wake up in the morning?
That's an easy one. Now that I no longer have to rush off to an office, the first thing I do is head downstairs, prepare hot tea, and then open up the house. I've lived so long in an area where skies go on forever, that I can't stand for blinds and drapes to block out the sun or hide my view of the mountains and high desert. By the time tea is ready, my cat is up and ready to join me for a few quiet moments before I actually start my day. I know, I know, I'm really spoiled.
3. Tell me about your very first date.
Gosh, that was so long ago it's nothing but a fuzzy memory. I think it was a blind date. A friend, a classmate named Marilyn, was invited to go on a hayride by her boyfriend, and he had a friend who was going along. I think they set it up for me to join them just to keep their "third rail" busy and out of their hair. I didn't mind, however. I'd never been on a hayride and Danny was a nice kid, sort of quiet and kind of dorky, but he gave me my first kiss. It happened that night. I think he became a city bus driver like his father. (Hmmm, guess that memory isn’t so fuzzy, after all.)
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