My new novel, Billy of the Tulips, was released yesterday by TouchPoint Press. It’s been called “ . . . a realistic depiction of young adulthood and coming of age . . . it’s My Side of the Mountain meets Hoboken, New Jersey.”
Lots of people ask what the book is about, where the idea came from, are the characters based on real people.
Here are some answers . . .
Set in 1957, the pivotal year that introduced Sputnik, passenger jet travel, and the laser, Billy’s story unfolds in letters to his younger sister. He speaks for a generation fascinated with everything from UFOs to Elvis Presley.
When his abusive father puts fifteen-year-old Billy onto the mean streets of Hoboken, the sensitive boy never dreams that he is embarking on a journey that will force him to choose his place in an intimidating world.
As Billy makes frequent moves to find refuge, the locale shifts—a high school boiler room, a greasy-spoon diner, a small women’s college, the home of a predatory adult, the sprawling estate of a rock ‘n’ roll heavyweight.
Billy encounters some unconventional characters along the way. The Puerto Rican kitchen worker whose badgering drives Billy further into himself . . . the deviant custodian who’s adept at both befriending and betrayal . . . the college professor who becomes the closest thing to a mentor, if Billy can trust him . . . Lazy Liz and The Maestro, drug and alcohol-fueled rock ‘n’ rollers who live in a self-imposed state of moral decay.
Billy’s letters record the clash of innocence and iniquity, including a first sexual skirmish, until a confrontation with a band of menacing hunters forces him to take a stand—a dangerous one.
Billy of the Tulipsis an edgy, engaging, and thought-provoking novel based on events from my life, with characters derived from real people who have touched me for good—or not so good.
Positioned by my publisher as a “young adult” novel, the story speaks to anybody who has ever wrestled with transcendent questions of identity, vocation, relationships, and true happiness.
Order directly from the publisher.