Today my book went live on digital book sites all over the world. After seven years of writing, it’s a relief to know that I won’t have to do any more rewriting on this one!
Of course, once you let go, there’s nothing more you can change, and I’m sure at some point, I will revisit something in Clown and say, Jeez, I’d love to tweak that passage one more time.
I’d like to share three comments that came in during the process of publication from three incredible people who have spent their entire life in the arts — one is playwright, novelist and musician. Another is singer, picker and songwriter, the other an editor.
Here’s what they had to say about my novel:
“With MY YEAR AS A CLOWN, Robert Steven Williams has written a terrific novel. He pulls back the curtain on male masculinity — showing us what a guy really goes through when dealing with the difficult mess of his beloved spouse’s infidelity and the ensuing divorce. Williams’ characters give us the real-deal: a gut wrenching and often humourous look, showing us the everyday horrors of what it’s like to start all over again as one approaches middle age.”
Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for Topdog/Underdog
“When we first meet Chuck Morgan, the main character in Robert Steven Williams’ new novel, My Year as a Clown, he’s broken, twisted and confused. And that’s what makes him so interesting. Like other intriguing literary heroes, Chuck is at his best after life has knocked him to the ground, forcing him to find a new way to be strong again; damaged maybe, but more confident this time, with a kinder, more open heart.”
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, singer, songwriter, guitarist, member of the Flatlanders
“Robert Steven Williams has written a novel of tremendous honesty, humor, and insight. His story of Philadelphia Eagles-loving Chuck Morgan, cast adrift on the rocky shoals of dating when his wife of twenty years suddenly leaves him, does for men what Bridget Jones’s Diary did for women.”
Joy Johannessen, editor (Alice Sebold, Amy Bloom, Michael Cunningham)
A special note of thanks:
I was humbled by the love, friendship and many acts of generosity that kept me going as I embarked on this creative journey.
Without the backing of Wally Schwartz and his wife, Liz, this scrappy, publishing campaign on Against the Grain Press would not be happening. They have also underwritten this website and other activities related to my novel. I cannot thank them enough for their support.
I hit the literary lottery when Joy Johannessen agreed to edit My Year as a Clown. Her brilliance and intuitive sense of what I wanted made working with her effortless.I was fortunate to have four fiction mentors, men gracious with their time, each treating me as a peer. Unfortunately, all four didn’t get to see this day, but I’m confident that they knew it would come. Both Barry Hannah and James Houston gave me the confidence to forge on. Two Westport writers, Frank Weiner and Robert Pollock, were also great supporters.
I also want to thank the following people for their feedback, inspiration and love: Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gerry McKeveny, Declan O’Rourke, Suzi-Lori Parks, Rosanne Cash, Janet Gilmore, Roxanna Robinson, Rachel Z, Omar Hakim, Ina Chadwick, Richard Epstein, Eileen Winnick, Mark Standish, Carl Timpone, Jayson Byrd, David Wilk, Rich Fahle, Heather Huzovic, Sloan Wainwright, David Roth, Penny Nichols, James Hall, Tom and Charlie Phillips, Bill Gessner, Paul Winsor, Lisa Goren, Malcolm Smith, Mike Taplinger, Paul Schwarzbaum, Michelle Jurich, Laurel Leigh, Kerrith Solomon, Jessica Saxl, Tom Marsh, Phil and Louise Fletcher, Dick Marra, Paul Lanning, Sara Bassett, Jim Kempner, Louise Staley, Martin Smith, Jonathan Fanton, The Munce Man and Cleo, the Squaw Valley Writers Community.
A special note of recognition goes out to my mom, stepdad Lou, sister Lisa, Dad, and of course, my girlfriend, Mary.