Please forgive us, but we’re making an exception today at Books New Haven, by including a new novel, Hell on East Rock, a love mystery for Patrick Mascola. Normally we couldn’t include this because Mascola doesn’t technically live in Connecticut at the moment. Although he is a native of New Haven and he says his heart is truly with us, the fact is that he’s deserted us for South Florida, where he lives the high life publishing the Around Town Newspaper in Miami Beach.
But his book takes place right here in East Rock…and he’s coming to do two area readings and signings, so we thought we could bend the rules just a bit.
Hey, it’s summer. We’re in the mood for a steamy hometown mystery.
Here is Patrick in his own words:
Patrick: First I am a life time writer. 17 years with a Scripps Howard owned newspaper, two years with Miami Beach newspapers, and 36 years as my own publisher at the AroundTown newspaper.
My book is a love mystery in which I unknowingly created my dream girl, Jennifer Kendal, who has beauty, smarts, talents, sexuality, determination with compassion. And now that I have created her I am cursed for the rest of my life trying to find her.
I chose East Rock because of the fun I used to have there as a kid. My friends and I would try to scale to the top. Most of the time we couldn’t even get 20 feet. I broke my wrist and banged up my nose there. But at the top, you could see the whole city.
I am not a scholarly type writer. I also do not labor with second thoughts and rewrites. My first thoughts and drafts go to press, after proof readings. My only problem is that the wonderful New Haven school system taught us to spell phonetically.
Where did my story line come from? Well, I always knew I had a novel or two in me. However the cardinal sin of procrastination kept hacking at me. It took three months of a severe gout attack that drove me insane as a couch potato but also drove me to my computer to see if that ache in my heart for a novel could bloom.
It was indeed a tough start. I didn’t know where to go and how to begin. I just sat staring at the screen. Then I remembered an old newspaper story about a young kid wanting to become a writer. He goes to this famous writer and asks, “How do you become a writer?” The guy just looked at him and said, “I’ll tell you how to become a writer. First roll a piece of white paper in your typewriter (had typewriters in those days) and you just stare at it…and stare and …stare. Then you will feel clammy all over your face…then small beads of perspiration will cover your forehead…then bigger beads of sweat will roll down your face. But keep looking at that blank piece of paper and then!… beads of blood will form. When that happens you strike a key on your typewriter. And that’s how you become a writer”.. I just love that little story and it’s so true. I remember when writing daily columns how I used to sweat on a no-news day.
My characters came to life and told me where they were going and what they wanted to do.
It’s difficult to explain the magic that takes over your mind once you have developed a few characters in your story line. They come alive…believe me they do. I tell people it took me five years to write “Hell… but in reality it lasted over seven years. It just would not end by itself. These family and friends I created just wanted to keep doing things. Voices would awaken me in the middle of night, and I would get up and type away for five or six hours with no planned direction. The characters made up the story, I would just type it. I could not stop. The original manuscript on “Hell…” went to 965 pages. Publishers would hold it in their hands and look at me like I was nuts. It has been cut down to 545 pages. Every word I had to cut was like pulling teeth out with my bare fingers.
Have there been uninspired times in those years? You bet they have. Two or three months would go by before the surge to write came back. The magic of writing can not be forced. It is a happening and one just has to wait for its return.
What are my favorite and least favorites in writing? My favorite is to let my mind go free, unfortunately at times it goes crazy. Not in violence but in hidden desires and imaginations that are in all of us. I am sexually romantic. I love women and I have lived a glamorous life. The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel did a big spread on me a few years back. In it, it said I lived the life of Donald Trump without his money. I have been most fortunate. When Hell came out thousands of locals thought it was about my life as an Entertainment Editor and Critic. Doing newspaper work a ledger is no fun. It’s hard work. Dates, names and places have to be in place. With a novel you just make it up as you go along and have lots of fun. I love the family I created especially my Jennifer.
Do I procrastinate? You bet. I’d rather watch Law and Order than anything.
What do I tell people who want to be a writer? First I tell them the story about the beads of blood. Then I tell them to develop their characters give them a full rein and let them start to talk to you. It becomes very easy to write a novel when you get your characters to come alive.
See the book trailer: