This writer is looking for an agent.
This is to introduce you to RIDE, a 67K word novel of autobiographical literary fiction, a book you’ll be enthusiastic to market, and one the reading public will be eager to buy.
RIDE is about a non-stop hitchhiking journey from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Asheville, North Carolina, a clock-racing trip that took 17 separate rides, in which I meet an assortment of fearless characters all willing to pick up a strange-looking man three decades after anyone in their right mind hitchhiked—or dared to stop for hitchhikers.
I ride with a mapmaker, a magician, a gypsy welder, a gentle giant who digs Fidel Castro, a lovely woman who talks with dolphins, a fundamentalist preacher, a cowboy with a very special pair of boots, a cocaine caravan of truckers, a terrifying trooper who tried to convince me that he was going to murder me, an Andy Griffith and Barney Fife, and finally my own Dark Self who keeps appearing in the reflected surface of things. What is real and what is imagined? As the book’s disclaimer says: “All of this is true, but some of it didn’t happen.”
Here’s the synopsis:
It’s the Nineties. Two days before a scheduled poetry reading a thousand miles away, a poet’s car breaks down, so he attempts to hitchhike twelve hundred to make it on time. RIDE is a work of autobiographical fiction based on that journey which becomes an odyssey through fifty years of American culture. It is the coming of age story of an American activist during the height of the Civil Rights struggle and the protest movement against the Vietnam War. It’s one man’s resolution of a marriage that ended with the death of his wife.
I’m the best person to write it because I lived it. Not just the hitchhiking journey, but the life recalled along the way: from my first run in with the cops at three years old, through the tumultuous days of student strikes and my work with the Black Panthers, to the death of my wife Sally. RIDE fits Vivian Gornick’s standard for memoir, but with the added fuel of fiction: “Truth in a memoir is achieved not through a recital of actual events; it is achieved when the reader comes to believe that the writer is working hard to engage with the experience at hand. What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to makeof what happened. The shaped presentation of one’s own life is of value only if it dramatizes and reflects sufficiently on the experience of ‘becoming.’ ”
Similar books or writers in my genre to give you an idea about how best to market my novel.
RIDE began as non-fiction, evolved into memoir, and was completed as a work of fiction. In truth, it retains elements of all three. As a literary work, RIDE is part of a tradition called Road Novels. Its counter-cultural spirit most resembles Kerouac’s On the Road, but with this difference: the high bar of suspense. The destination has a deadline.
In On the Road, Kerouac is off to discover America. In RIDE, Richard is in search of where America went, or rather, what happened to the idealistic cultural values embodied by his generation that no longer seem to be evident. You’ll also find touches of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways, Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There is a thread of magic realism as well.
I hope I’ve managed to persuade you to take a look at RIDE. I can send the opening chapters, if you’d like, or an msword doc of the novel.