Recently, a slight acquaintance from the gym where I work out asked me about my first novel, West of Tomorrow. I did what all writers have been schooled to do…I launched into my thirty second elevator pitch. He listened politely, then asked the question he really wanted answered, specifically: “Do you think I will like it?”
It’s the dreaded question every author faces, at some point. The obvious answer is, “I don’t know for sure, but I think you might.” Underlying my acquaintance’s question is the dilemma every author faces with (at least) his/her first work.
With the barriers to publication gone, anyone with the focus and the drive can write a book and get it “out there.” As a result, half a million titles (+/-) were released in English, last year. But with all these choices out there, why should you or anyone read West of Tomorrow? I thought you’d never ask…
West of Tomorrow is an intelligent, thought-provoking romance following nine pivotal months in the life of Clay Conover. Confronted with an unexpected end to his second career, we watch him deal with betrayal and misplaced love on the back side of middle age. Faced with the near-simultaneous disintegration of his love life and career, Clay confronts a dwindling set of options and limited time available to implement them. As happens so often in times of shifting paradigms and great change, he finds himself in position where neither his skills nor what he knows are enough. He must reinvent himself, personally and professionally…on the fly.
On the professional level, he is in no position to retire. Clay has savings enough (he hopes) to get through a prolonged unemployment, but it’s not inexhaustible. And he has a past he must confront and come to terms with before he can move on to the future he wants to create. Along the way, Clay deals with some of the disquieting realities of the new millennium and the elusive questions of fulfillment and how much control we have over outcomes.
Above all, West of Tomorrow it is about finding of the phoenix in ourselves when (as happens to most of us) we find ourselves standing on the edge of cliff, half an hour west of a future at once exciting and uncertain.
West of Tomorrow is a cross-genre story of a re-careered Marine turned corporate trainer deals with his tortuous past and an uncertain future in the turmoil that is 21st Century corporate America. While training Sheera Prasad, a rising star cherry-picked from another company, Clay Conover discovers Sheera has been hired by corporate to unseat their boss. Clay can keep his job, he learns, if he'll go along to get along. But the deeper choice is to whom should he be loyal...his boss, his career, or himself? Whichever Clay chooses, he realizes his choice will define him forever.
Dirk is the organizer/facilitator of the Advanced Fiction Group, an collection of published and aspiring authors living in South Orange County. His current projects include Through the Windshield, an anthology of short stories and Best Case Scenario, both due out in and 2017 Tier Zero, Volume I of The Knolan Cycle, a story of first contact between Earth and the Knolan Alliance, currently in editing and is slated for publication in 2018.