A little less than 14 months ago, I started writing novel #3, working off my disappointment in the worst display of free-throw shooting ever witnessed, in N.C. State’s collapse against St. Louis in the NCAA Tournament. Three hours later I had a solid start on Chapter 1 of what became Sorry I Wasn’t What You Needed. It is now available for the Kindle, as of early this morning.
This book is a bit of a departure from my first two novels, which both centered around baseball. C.J. Neubauer, the protagonist this time around, is not a baseball fan. Not much of a sports fan at all, outside of his passion for broomball, a bastardized version of floor hockey played in the living room of his boyhood home. He’s not passionate about much, which is why, ten years out of college, he’s underemployed, constantly broke, and spends most of his nights flicking cigarette butts out the front window after yet another quarrel with his girlfriend.
The story begins on an average Friday evening, which unfolds like so many others in C.J.’s life, up until the point he receives a rare phone call from his father. Here’s the description posted on Amazon:
Ten years ago, C.J. Neubauer fled his family, trading coasts to provide himself three time zones of buffer space. Random email and social media posts yield all the contact he needs. Until a late-night phone call from his wistful father. Unaccustomed to hearing his dad say “I love you,” C.J. freezes, vowing instead to reciprocate the next time they speak. But when the phone wakes him the following morning, it’s his older brother informing him their father has committed suicide.
Sporting a nagging conscience and a chip on his shoulder, C.J. books a flight home on his girlfriend’s credit card. All he wants is to bury his father and try to make sense of what led him to take his own life. All he has to go on is a note that reads, “Sorry I wasn’t what you needed.” Was it intended for C.J. and his siblings? The mother who walked out on them twenty-five years ago? Or someone else altogether?
Alternately heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny, Sorry I Wasn’t What You Needed explores the familial bonds that obligate us for life—and beyond.
So, yeah, quite different from the first two. More fun to write in a sense. I wouldn’t want to be in a family like C.J.’s, but they provided no shortage of drama to propel the story along.