Different Except for the Same

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, July 28, 2017, 11:01 a.m.

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

As I have recently realized, my novels have some recurring incidences, and several incidents. Over the course of writing six novels and dozens of short stories, my protagonists have characteristics I applied to more than one. I didn’t really realize the extent until I started hyping all my novels by posting short excerpts on social media.

Riley Mansfield (The Audacity of Dope), Frankie Hoskins (The Intangibles) and Barrie Jarman (Lightning in a Bottle) all have troubled relationships with their fathers.

(Monte Dutton sketches)

Illegal drug use is a subplot in The Audacity of Dope, The Intangibles, Crazy of Natural Causes, Forgive Us Our Trespasses and Lightning in a Bottle. Political corruption is in place in The Audacity of Dope, Forgive Us Our Trespasses and Cowboys Come Home. Crazy of Natural Causes, Forgive Us Our Trespasses and Lightning in a Bottle include gay characters in secondary roles.

Sports plays a major role in The Intangibles, Crazy of Natural Causes and Lightning in a Bottle. Mansfield, Chance Benford (Crazy of Natural Causes), Denny Frawley and Hal Kinley (both in Forgive Us Our Trespasses) are former athletes. Benford is a coach, as are Reese Knighton and Willie Spurgeon in The Intangibles. Since I’ve spent most of my career as a sportswriter, this is only natural. I expect I know what makes athletes tick better than most.

Mansfield, Joey Leverette (The Intangibles), Zeke Runnels (Crazy of Natural Causes) and Barrie Jarman (Lightning in a Bottle) all play guitar, as do I.

They all have love stories, crime, suspense and humor. The Intangibles, set mostly in 1968, and Cowboys Come Home (1946) are historical novels. Religion plays a prominent role in The Intangibles and Crazy of Natural Causes. The most menacing villain in The Audacity of Dope is a murderous religious fanatic. Politics is involved in The Audacity of Dope, Forgive Us Our Trespasses and Cowboys Come Home.

Racial interaction is a crucial factor in The Intangibles, Forgive Us Our Trespasses and Lightning in a Bottle.

All my heroes are flawed. They are independent, eccentric and unmoved by convention. The dialogue is frank and often profane. As I inhabit these characters, they speak the way I imagine.

I neither aspire to nor feel capable of doing it any other way. I’ve written thrillers, adventures, love stories, sports stories, and a western. Lightning in a Bottle will have a sequel, which will be my first. Barrie Jarman is the first character who instilled in me a desire to write more.


(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).


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