I rediscovered writing during a two-year "retirement" from my real-world job. The creative process carried me through the turmoil of leaving the scientific community that I had enjoyed for almost thirty years. But what began as just an outlet for my energy became, instead, the production of something tangible, and at the end, holding my first book in my hand, there was a deep sense of fulfillment.
Change of Possession had begun as a response to two different stimuli - observing how the changing culture was impacting one of the most intransigent of all institutions - NCAA D1 football, as well as how that same culture was destroying a generation of children as they travelled through adolescence. I was angry when I created the plot of the book, and I embarked on the tale with boo-hiss villains set to pop up, wreak their havoc, and then suffer terrible consequences.
But that didn't happen. Instead the characters came alive for me, and as I entered their lives, and learned their histories and their motivations, I came to better understand them. And thus they didn't do the things that I wanted them to. They made strange decisions, consistent for them but not for my plot. The villains became better people (mostly), while the good-guys did awful things. In fact, I had no idea who the protagonist was until I finished the third book in the series. Maybe I still don't know.
Speaking of the series - Change of Possession spawned a sequel, which then became so ponderous that it split into two, leaving me with a trilogy. Of course, no sooner had I finished the third book then the plot for a fourth came to mind, but I'm going to leave the Norris family alone. They've suffered enough (and so, probably, have the two or three readers who have finished the books).
As I wrote, I came up with ideas for several other books, and you can find them on the forthcoming works page. But, in all likelihood, these works are not forthcoming at all. While they are all in various stages of development, and I really love the ideas, I have had to return to the world of real work, with a massive career change requiring my full attention. Maybe in a few years I'll retire again and thus the world will be treated to Tiresius Rising, Fifty Seasons (which might end up being called The Martinhouse), or The Narrative.
As noted above, the themes that I explored in Change of Possession involved corruption, redemption, and mercy. Hedonism in its various forms is on display with (probably) excessive detail. This realism cost me a chance at a major Catholic publishing house, where they loved the work but couldn't abide the obscenity. Well, quod scripsi, scripsi. The next two books are, perhaps, worse in this regard. But I realized that, in writing Change of Possession, I had avoided certain themes out of fear, and this might have forced me into confronting "third-rail" issues in Original Sin and The Holy Innocents. There's certainly a lot there to piss people off. But I hope not. No... I hope that, if I've accomplished anything, it's in opening my own eyes, and those of my readers, to different perspectives and different truths, and provided in my stories a common base for humanity to stand on, despite our differences and our strong beliefs. We can become better - as people and as a society. Or we can cling with pride to our original sin and declare it to be virtue rather than vice, while the walls grow higher, the voices grow harsher, and we sink into an ocean of blood.
Upon the completion of each of my books, I have realized that I have offended everybody. Absolutely everybody. In fact, I have offended myself. That's how I know these stories are true. Not factual, but true. I bet I've offended you. Feel free to tell me what a piece of crap I am. If you do so, then I know that I've reached you at some level - at least enough to motivate you to tell me what a piece of crap I am. Compliments are also welcome, although, given my personality, I will not believe them.
J.T. Dwyer lives near Asheville with his wife Elizabeth (who is NOT Anne Norris), two dogs, and an ever-growing number of chickens. J.T. is Southern born and bred, a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in History, and is a big fan of mercy, being so often in need of it.
This is a picture of me, as a dandy, wearing my German güiltenhatten, a Gucci scarf, a custom-tailored cashmere long-coat, and the Ray-Ban San Diego Sunglasses of 1995, purchased in the airport in a fit of self-indulgence and jealousy after visiting a friend and riding in his Porsche 911 and staying in his beach house (Pacific Beach, so you know the sort of place it was...).