The Book That Wouldn't Die

My Latest Novel Hits the Shelves in Two Weeks, But It Took Much Longer to Come to Life


I’m suggesting that, to be successful,

the artist in any field has to be in the right place at the right time.

The right time is in the lap of the gods,

but any mother’s son or daughter

can work their way to the right place and wait.

—Stephen King/Danse Macabre


My latest novel, Gods of Rome, will be released Tuesday, May 18th (you can pre-order the Kindle edition on Amazon). I took 30-plus years to write Gods of Rome, and did almost as many rewrites. It started in 1989 as a proverbial first novel, uh, given that it was the first novel I wrote. I was three years out of grad school, married to Pam, with one baby and another on the way. Gods hit me out of nowhere after a particularly irresistible dream in which I relived my Rome semester in a kind of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Roman Adventure. This lark would be the antithesis of the Great American, Roman, or Assisian Novel—two idiots (both aspects of myself) larking it in Rome in a way I wasn’t equipped to when I’d been there myself.


Writing changes everything. The most striking thing about writing the first draft was that it turned out nothing like the labors I once thought a great novelist goes through (grad school’ll give ya delusions of grandeur). It was fun.