Last week I got the chance to read part of an early chapter of my next novel-in-progress, Gallstones1, at Michelle Cohn’s “Rejected Shorts.” (I also got the chance to debut a new bio I’m inordinately proud of, “Daniel Lavery is a writer who is based backstage and splits his time onstage. He is currently at work on his latest project, walking onstage.”)
It’s been something of a relief to return to a chatty, contemporary first-person narration after Women’s Hotel, which has three main characters, a substantial secondary cast, and is set in the mid-1960s. For Women’s Hotel finding the appropriate tone often felt like work — enjoyable and worthwhile, but work nonetheless — but with Gallstones it’s felt more like channeling a spirit or transcribing a conversation.
This can of course lead to its own problems; I often have to interrupt a series of reflections and make sure that something happens. I rarely drifted too far from a plot point or an interaction in Women’s Hotel because there were so many moving parts they were bound to bump into one another. I can easily get so interested in Barbara’s many and often-terrifying opinions that I drop the idea of plot altogether. Balance!
I’m including a transcript of the chapter below, as well as a video from the reading. Since I haven’t sold this novel yet, I’m keeping it subscribers-only for now. (Please do keep in mind that I do not share Barbara’s opinions about cat rescues.)