Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Not Until I See It in Print

When I published Flower of Iowa in eBook form in the spring of 2014, I never could have imagined where the journey for the novel, and for myself, would lead. To the top of the Smashwords charts for both Gay Fiction and Historical Fiction. To tea in London with the extraordinarily erudite, and incredibly supportive, actor-author Stephen Fry, who kindly tweeted, “Reading a truly wonderful WW1 novel” to his millions of Twitter followers.

To Ireland, where the love of my life, Chuck Muckle, and I offered a dramatic reading from the book to open the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. To the novel's home turf, France, as part of the cultural portion of The Gay Games. To the pages of the distinguished Kirkus Reviews, which called my debut novel “accomplished, touching historical fiction.” And finally, to New York City’s famed 42nd Street, where two remarkable young actors, Ben Salus and Bradley Johnson, brought Tommy Flowers and David Pearson to vivid new life in my staged adaptation, directed by Chuck.

Over the past six years, Chuck and I have offered dramatic readings from Flower of Iowa not only in the aforementioned European capitals, but also across a vast expanse of the United States, from Provincetown to Fort Lauderdale, from Chicago to San Francisco. A group of gay veterans in the Midwest was perhaps our smallest audience, yet their own stories from Vietnam and Iraq were powerful, and their response to the book was heartening. All of these in-person encounters have been gratifying, as has been the experience, in our wired world, of hearing from strangers, such as military history buffs in the UK and Australia, via cyberspace.

In all of our readings, the same matter inevitably arose: While some people eagerly went online to purchase the novel — and I am grateful to those who did — many others said they loved what they were hearing, but simply could not get used to reading an eBook.

That matter has been rectified, as Flower of Iowa finally makes its appearance in print. And I will admit, being able to hold a copy of the book in my hand stirs unexpected emotions.

I am delighted to announce that the hardcover version of Flower of Iowa can now be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, and Thriftbooks.

And so the journey continues.