About a year ago, the Ol’ Man’s mother asked me how the novel was going and I told that I had made some major changes that included adding a blogger a la Ayn Rand who would harass my Merry Marxists. As I explained my convoluted plot and how Alvah Bessie plays into the story,  she scrunched up her face and said, “I just don’t know who would want to read this. Who cares about a dead Communist. Why do you want to write about this?”

Well, now… there’s really not much to say when someone says that to you.

The Ol’ Man has similar feelings. He’s not political and so when he makes the same comment, I explain not everyone is as disinterested in politics as he is and that Julius is not just about a dead Communist, but my astute observations (or maybe not-so-astute) of this country’s perception of those of us on the left.

I know that when I finish this novel, my next one will center on a story of a young Abraham Lincoln Brigade volunteer. The story will take place between 1930 and 1937. So I guess, it’s safe to assume that I’m leaning into the historical fiction genre and focusing on events that centered on politics of the left.

A few months ago when I spoke with Dan Bessie, Alvah’s son, I shared the comments from the Ol’ Man and his mother, and mentioned the idea of the new book. He disagreed with their views and also added, “This is who you are. It’s a part of you. Write it.”

And he’s right. It is a part of me and it’s something I can’t deny myself from writing or talking about. And with that in mind, I thought I would end it with this little ditty sung by Pete Seeger.


  • I think there will always be people uninterested in any given book, genre, whatever. You can’t let those people get you down, because they don’t represent the whole of your potential readership. I’m not much into historical fiction, for instance, but I am into history (currently reading Stephen Puleo’s “Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919”, which talks about how slow molasses ISN’T in January and has lots of anarchists in it).

    • I have no issues in what people to choose to read. I don’t read fantasy or romance, but I would never tell a writer who writes in that genre that no one cares about it. It’s just common courtesy.

    • It will be a trilogy. I want to focus on the blacklist and its effect on educators who refused to sign loyalty oaths (I make reference to it in Julius and the connection with Corinne’s father, a labour economist who couldn’t get a job teaching at a University).