Hemingway Jersey Shore Thriller

Richard C Hemingway and the novel Past Twilight:  Mainstream fiction stirred with Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Action/Adventure and more than a smidgen of Science Fiction and humor. And yes, all served up by a hard boiled detective.

Past Twilight the back story

Inspiration and direction of the novel 


   The initial inspiration for the novel occurred on a walk after work. At the time, I was working in Brooklyn about a mile from the Brooklyn bridge. The inspiration arrived when I was close to the end of the bridge. I looked to my right at the NYPD police headquarters and that's when the thought arrived from somewhere deep within memories I thought I had purged from my memory bank: If I could go back in time and have a second chance to deal with my personal obsession, would I do a better job the second time around. My personnel obsession involved a young woman I had met in the mid-seventies.  She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met in my life. I never saw myself as a future love interest in her life because my confidence level couldn't handle doing the usual things that men do when they are interested in a woman.  Yet I wanted to know her more than I did. Worse, I never told her where I wanted to fit into her life, I was clueless on that point. I was conflicted and handled things badly and in the end she saw me as someone she didn't want to know. The worst part was her life would remain on the Jersey Shore while mine stayed in New York City. We never had that exit conversation that would resolve my feelings for her. When I last saw her, she was young and beautiful and that is how I would always have to remember her. Fortunately for me the act of writing, revising and trying to sell my novel has transferred my little obsession with her to my new obsession: trying to find a place for my novel.  

   I'm sure as you are reading my back story, you can see I'm a flawed person and may guess that my relationships with woman have been mostly failures. That is why my main character is a deeply flawed person. Whatever you may think of me. He is in worse shape.  He has giving up on life, while I in retirement have been given a chance to make of life whatever I want. In my own low level way of looking at things this novel has become a metaphor for the alien in the novel.  In the novel, the main character has to be manipulated into wanting that second chance to make things right. That's is one area where I differ from the main character, just ask me once, and I am gone. They say write about what you know. I know what it is like to be a flawed person. As a complement to the sick society that we live in, I am branding myself as a flawed person with lots of ideas. If the people who inhabit so-called reality shows shows like the 'Jersey Shore' can make money showing off bad or stupid behavior, why can't someone make money from essentially being pathetic?

   Once I started thinking about the inspiration I started thinking about the people I met and the things that happened during that period when I would spend my summer weekends and vacations at that little town on the Jersey Shore. Pretty, much everything, I could remember became part of the plot. A different writer would have taken this idea and wove it into a simple but nice love story. I tried to make the novel into a simple love and revenge story. But somewhere in the novel I realized that I had created a whole mess of difficult to understand relationships. These relationships were driving the novel.  So, all the things I could remember and the things I created all became woven into a complex plot about how relationships, all which involve people with good and bad goals, became a story about obsession, greed and murder.

   I didn't realize until I had written several chapters that I was not only going to finish the novel but give it the best I could do as a writer. By a strange twist of fate, I had to listen to someone who exploded in a full and ugly rant. Because of how this person had presented himself before the rant, he showed that beneath his pleasant personality, he had a darker side. Thus, he became the model for my sick villain: Allan.  And because of the subject matter of his rant, I realized who had to be the real mother of Jan, my main female character. And because I'm a person that likes to complicate things I also figured out who had to be Jan's real father. My novel became a lot more complicated after two of my minor characters became the real parents. Now I had Allan and a separate group of villains, both working together, but with two different motives.

   Once I established the main character, I knew that with my limited skills as a writer, my novel was going to be long and more than a detective novel where the main character only operates within the confine world of whatever the mystery involves. In my novel, you can see three distinct ways in which the main character looks at the world and at himself. As the world around him shifts so does the main character. Thus, the novel would have a journey element to it as the main character struggles to interpret the many things that happen around him while still sticking to his overall goal. Find out who murdered Jan and who and why that same person would do it again.

   There are many themes on looking at life in the novel but the first theme that shaped the direction of the novel was the idea that most of the people you meet will either get you killed or help you to grow as a person or try to move you in either direction. The challenge for Jan, the main female character was to find out who was going to get her killed, before it was too late. The second theme was the idea that at some point in your life, usually much later. You had to take a long look at what you had done with your life. And if you had not found meaning or purpose in your life, what were you going to do about it?

   I throw everything but the kitchen's sink into my writing and try my best to tie everything together. Some of the people in my novel are pretty nasty and talk even nastier. At the end don’t expect a civilized scene where the master detective unveils who put the poison in Colonel Mustard’s sherry glass.  A lot of the novel has that pulp fiction style of the detective novels in the thirties where lurking beneath picket fences and two-bedroom  homes things were pretty ugly and of course, there were always a couple of corrupt coppers. Perhaps I am delusional, but my dream is to have my novel end up as a big-budget film Noir Noir and yes a voice over is mandatory.

     Some of the scenes in the novel were created just because they would photograph well and add to the symbolism and mood of a movie. When I started the novel, I hadn't read a novel in 30 years, I took my idea of pacing and plot from the small screen(TV). At the end of the first chapter I leave my main character clinging to life with impending doom. I was taking my inspiration from TV shows like 24. Always leave the viewer hanging, so they have to come back next week or after a commercial. And yes, I wrote most of my scenes to be visual: man against or influenced by the environment - will he/she/they make it - stay tuned folks.

   I wrote my novel from the male point of view, yet most of the people who buy novels are females. Could a female understand the part in the first chapter where the main character describes his first impression of Jan in terms of various body parts?  Would a woman understand why in chapter 12 after having the best sex in his life the character has to moralize over what he did?  Most of the women in my novel are attractive and interesting. All of them are at least partially based on women I have previously met.   If you are a female who has read my novel I would like to hear from you. I might not like what you have to say, but I will give careful reflection on all viewpoints.Email address: 

   I knew the chance of finding a literary agent who understood what I was trying to do and who could see the commercial value of the novel ranged between slim to none. And that was the first step, getting someone to publish the novel and finding a group of people who would buy the novel all seemed like insurmountable goals. So I knew from the beginning, I wasn't going to write the sequel or any other novel unless the first novel had some commercial success.  So I wrote a novel, where 'I let it all hang out'.  I took a look at the world around me and it all became a part of the novel.  


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