I recently finished writing the third and final book in a family saga that I’ve been working on, off and on, for the past fifty years. To be more accurate about this, the three books were all written during the past nine years (intermittently with several other books); but I have been chewing on the stories, legends, and gossip of this one fictitious family for all the time I’ve been a writer. I’ve published more than a dozen stories about various members of the family, using an assortment of different names for the same characters, and I’ve always known I would eventually have to write a novel about them. The novel has become a threesome: Elephant Lake, Geronimo’s Skull, and Promises, Promises, Promises. At last the books are written and are now published on Kindle and Nook. For more information, go to my Amazon author page: amazon.johnmdaniel.com. You’ll find pictures of the books and links to more information about them.
These books each stand alone, and they can be read in any order. For the purpose of this post, I’ll briefly describe them in the order they were written.
Set in the summer of 1950, Elephant Lake takes place at an elegant country estate eighty miles southeast of Dallas, Texas. Davy Llewellyn, an eight-year-old boy, is trying to figure out the adults in his life: his mother, Rose, an alcoholic and depressed widow; his Uncle Fergus Powers, an oil industry giant and Republican power broker who does magic for children; and his Uncle Mike, a has-been athlete and Hollywood playboy. Davy’s ally is his cousin, Lily, a self-conscious adolescent with enough sense to know her elders are fools. Davy’s escape is an eerie imagination that gives him the power of flight and leads him into encounters with a crimson dragon, a human skull, and an elephant named Boola Boola.
Geronimo’s Skull takes place over twenty-five years in the early twentieth century, from the Saint Louis World’s Fair in 1904 to the stock market crash in 1929. It tells the story of Fergus Powers, and his development from a boy of nine, fascinated by energy and machinery, to a young man in his thirties, poised to take charge of a failing company and turn it into the largest manufacturer of oil drilling equipment in the world. The central event of the novel happens when Fergus and four of his fellow classmates from Yale rob the grave of the Apache warrior Geronimo and steal his skull. Fergus is haunted for years by Geronimo’s ghost, until he fulfills a promise that he made to the Indian when he was a boy.
Promises, Promises, Promises is made up of three novellas set in 1963. Combined, they form a three-part novel about love, promises, family, the controlling power of generosity, and the importance of home. The three characters dominating the novel are Fergus Powers, a sixty-eight-year-old bachelor and a powerful and wealthy businessman; Rose Llewellyn, his younger sister, a widow who suffers from alcoholism and depression; and David Llewellyn, Rose’s son, an art student at Yale. In the first novella, “Bluebonnet Meadows,” Fergus has decided to marry Louise Blake of Columbus, Ohio, whom he has secretly loved for nearly fifty years; but first he must announce this decision to his sister, his niece, his secretary, and his cook. In the second novella, “Art Class,” David spends the summer in Los Angeles, painting a mural for his movie star aunt, and having affairs with two very different women. “Days to Remember,” the third novella, takes place on November 22, 1963, and is dominated by the news of John Kennedy’s assassination. Rose Llewellyn is living in Minneapolis, and has been sober for eight months when she gets word of the tragedy. She has lunch with her sponsor in AA, and they both fall off the wagon. The book concludes with an epilogue that ties the three novellas into a cohesive novel.
Now that these three books are finished and released into the reading world, I feel I can quit making up and writing down stories about Fergus, Rose, and Davy. I hope the three of them will now leave me be, so I can get on with writing other stories, other books…