Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Looking Back at Tom Gregory

My next ebook, First In, Last Out, should go on sale for Kindle and Nook tomorrow: three stories of ex-Marine sniper Tom Gregory for 99 cents.

Here's my afterword:

In my first semester of college, I took Intro to Film Appreciation and befriended a classmate who, after high school, had served four years in the United States Marine Corps. He dropped out of college after a year-and-a-half, telling me he kept staring out the window, wishing he were out there. He kept in touch, though, with handwritten letters from Alaska, Rhode Island, Connecticut. And he'd call me whenever he was back on Long Island, and we'd take in movies. The last one I remember was the truly awful Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions. Last I heard he had become a substance abuse counselor. Tom Gregory is based on him, a wanderer.

I drafted the first Tom Gregory story, "Home", for an issue of Dave Zeltserman's Hardluck Stories guest-edited by Charlie Stella. That draft was rejected, but Charlie was kind enough to look at a revision before I sent it to Sarah Weinman at Shots, where the story was ultimately published.

I thought "Home" would be the only Tom Gregory story. I didn't want to write the typical badass hero who doled out his own brand of justice story after story and got off with a slap on the wrist. The two subsequent, shorter stories were written more from guidelines than inspiration, but it was a fun challenge to see if I could bring Tom back convincingly. Each time, his past actions followed him.

I don't know when there will be more Tom Gregory stories. I don't know when I'll hear from my friend again. Should I be so lucky, I would welcome both.

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