After months away from the keyboard, I’ve started work on a new novel, a mystery/thriller with a female protagonist. I wrote the first draft of Wanda Wiley over a period of about eight days in August, and the published version was closer to the first draft than anything else I’ve written. I had recently read and was powerfully moved by Donald Goines’ Dopefiend, and I understood his writing method even as I read: just pour it all out.
I knew O’Neil since I was about 12 years old. We called him Neil back then. He was about 16 years old, and my mother used to have him come to the house to watch my brothers and me when she went out. Neil’s main job was to keep my older brother, Dan, from beating the crap out of my younger brother, Paul. Neil was very good at distracting Dan, who was 13 at the time, and the two became close friends.
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