A teller of middle-class tales

Authors are taught one basic concept: "Write what you know." I focus on the American middle class. Too mundane? A placid surface hides raging storms that batter well-intentioned individuals and leave deep wounds. Can it contend with today's taste for comic-book escapism or raw erotica? I believe so. Why do I write about such things? It's my background. I was born and raised in The Dalles, Oregon (photo below), an agricultural and working-class town with dirt under its fingernails. I followed my middle-class dream and became a newspaperman (photo on left), but lost that job and career to the avarice of a hedge fund that called the financial shots for my last employer. I know how much that loss hurts. The Search for Circe examines personal loss and other rampant societal ills. Sean McNabb is broken by several factors, and he takes it out on Darrington Circe, the main character in his first novel. It appears McNabb is headed for success, but that dream collapses. In the resulting chaos, McNabb and Circe must face two questions basic to today's American life: What is fact and what is fiction, and what is worth our time and commitment?



Enter the world of Circe

Author and protagonist is a dynamic combination even in the one-sided relationship of fiction, but every author knows this creation must feel real. I do that with Sean McNabb, and he understands that about Darrington Circe. The author also must provide an engaging supporting cast. I give McNabb two strong women, Nadine Walker, a Minnesota transplant living in Mississippi who becomes a lifeline when Sean's times are toughest, and Melissa Clark McNabb, his compassionate and often confrontational ex-wife. McNabb gives Circe a woman, Cecilia Carson, who also sees a sign of impending death on people. Then there are all those fascinating soon-to-be-dead in Circe's world, such as the alluring Ommi Martin; the Bacinskis, a seemingly comfortable married couple from the suburbs; and Kat, a diminutive street waif with a back story that would frighten anyone. There's also Edwin Sanderson, a fire-and-brimstone traveling preacher whose words might hold the key to all these worlds ... including McNabb's real life.


Sean McNabb and Darrington Circe

Sean's life is a train wreck. His marriage is kaput, his job does nothing but pay the bills, and he has deep mental scars from his youth. He anesthetizes his pain in two ways. He prowls taverns and jazz bars for female flesh to pleasure him, and he creates Circe, his psychological piñata.

Nadine Walker and Melissa Clark McNabb

McNabb believes he can carry life's burdens without flinching. What a fool. His ties to sanity are under attack. Nadine is there when his times are darkest, and Melissa provides a necessary emotional slap in the face. Circe finds something intriguing in many of the soon-to-die, but they all walk away to their deaths. Why is he so cursed? Is there a way to escape?