Six or seven years ago the character of Ari Ciminon popped into my head while driving the 800 miles to Montreal. The idea of an Arab protagonist who fit no preconceived notions appealed to me. Look around you. Are we all the same? Of course not. There was no reason to think that Arabs lacked variety in personality and outlook. And Ari is quite different from anyone alive.
He sat in my head for a few months, calling to me. I liked the voice. Finally, I dropped the novel I was working on at the time (Skunk Hunt) and took up The 56th Man. I was very pleased with the result and began the usual round of submissions. I signed a contract with an agent who was very enthusiastic about the project. After so many decades, I prepared to enter the charmed circle of published writers.
Disaster came in the form of a conference my agent attended soon after the digital ink had dried. She was told that "foreign protagonists" did not do well in the publishing field and she was having second thoughts about my book. When she lost faith, so did I, and the contract was subsequently revoked. My rejection file is a couple of feet thick. I took all of this as a matter of course. So I hunkered down and finished Skunk Hunt.
Then I discovered Amazon Kindle. It seemed the whole world had opened up to me and I made haste to publish my novels, or at least those that still withstood scrutiny. Nothing happened for a while, but I was not dismayed. Just the opposite. Anyone in the world could click on Amazon and see my writing. Whether they bought my books or not I left to chance.
I had returned to Skunk Hunt (again) when about six months later I noticed something happening on my Amazon account. Downloads of The 56th Man had skyrocketed. Reviews (most of them decent) were piling up. I thought: there, I was right. Ari is too intriguing to be ignored. As soon as I completed Skunk Hunt, I rushed back to my favorite character. The sequel was The Godless One.
Not much happened after that. It was only later that I learned the Amazon algorithm had kicked me in the teeth. But the lack of compatible success has not deterred me from returning to Ari again and again. I have no idea what he will do next, and I write to find out. I have written five Ari Ciminon novels and am currently working on the sixth: Backside.
I am the author of more than fifteen novels. I was born and raised in Virginia, where I currently reside. I was First-Place Winner of the Hollins Literary Festival a number of years ago. Among the judges were Thomas (Little Big Man) Berger and R.M.W. Dillard, poet and husband of the writer Annie Dillard. Along with my wife, I have rescued and maintained 22 stray cats, which should tell you something about me (good and bad). Permanently addicted to writing, I am currently at work on "Backside", the sixth in the series of Ari Ciminon (The 56th Man) novels.