Ever More Distant From Me

Crazy of Natural Causes is set mostly in Kentucky. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Crazy of Natural Causes is set mostly in Kentucky. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Ah. Inhale. Exhale. Relax. Sigh. Control enthusiasm. Remain calm. All is well.

Publication of my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, beckons. As part of a process that began with the nominations of “viewers like you,” (thanks, PBS) it will be published electronically through the KindleScout program of Amazon. I’m about to have my first discussion with a representative of my new publisher, and then will there be an editing process, and a publication date will be set, and you will have a chance to reserve your copy in advance, and it will go on special from time to time, and I’m very happy that such decisions will be made by professionals, not me.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Let me list a few areas where Crazy of Natural Causes differs from my first two attempts at fiction, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles.

The title doesn’t start with “the.”

It’s less based on personal experiences. Audacity was a yarn I dreamed up, but a little of me seeped into the story. Some people I know seeped into the story. The Intangibles grew out of events of my childhood. Some of it is based on incidents that really happened. Lots of it isn’t. I’m unlikely to write another novel as significant to me as The Intangibles, but my life is not suitably interesting to support an endless string of novels. Many have tried, but literary history is littered with the ruination of writers who could not get beyond themselves. Pat Conroy has succeeded marvelously. He’s obviously had one hell of a life.

No one in Crazy was created with a specific person in mind. Not the main character, Chance Benford. Not the impetuous athlete, Wally Ruff. Not the wife who ran away. Not the woman who replaced her. Not the ambitious TV babe. Not the world-famous evangelist or his drug-sniffing son.

It’s only make believe, as Conway Twitty sang. Lots of readers have speculated about from whom characters in the first two novels were inspired. A good many guesses were wrong.

I’ve never lived in Kentucky. I’ve spent some time there. I even spent some time there with this story in my mind.

When I started writing Crazy of Natural Causes, the intention was to be more satirical that it became. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity, and it has its amusing moments, but as I got into the story, I stopped playing it for laughs. I started playing it for smiles.

Religion plays a role. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Religion plays a role. (Monte Dutton sketch)

I read the Bible from cover to cover to prepare for it. It’s not a religious novel. It just has religion in it. My reading had some effect on Chance Benford’s reading, not because Chance has much to do with me, or me with him, but because I lived and wrote through the Chance I created. I like Chance. I liked Riley Mansfield when I was writing Audacity.

Chance is a good guy, but not at the beginning. As I wrote several drafts of the story, the toughest part was creating a story that would keep the readers’ interest long enough for them to begin to like the main character. I guess I’ll find out soon enough how that worked out.

              In the meantime, as you ache for that day Crazy of Natural Causes becomes available, I wish humbly to remind you that most all my earlier books are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

 

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