Louie & Women (1983)
My third published novel, Louie & Women, was initially purchased by Simon & Schuster during the glory days when they were convinced Forgotten Impulses was going to be a big success. When Sales soured on Forgotten Impulses and my editor, Jonathon Coleman, resigned, Simon & Schuster unceremoniously dropped Louie & Women. Once again, the indomitable Dorothy Pittman found a new home for the book at Dutton with Bill Whitehead, and the book was published in 1983.
Bill Whitehead was one of the fathers, as it were, of Gay literature in America, having been among the first editors (and then publishers) to champion gay writers and publish their work. He championed good heterosexual writers, too, though he told me at the outset of our collaboration that mine would be one of the last non-gay novels he would edit. He was hopeful there would be movie interest in Louie & Women to help the book, and he was especially fond of the character of Louie's ex-wife, a lesbian, and the sexual confusion that imbues the novel with much of its angst.
Alas, the Sales folks at Dutton imitated their brethren at Simon & Schuster and decided Louie & Women was not worth supporting. A minimal number of copies were printed, and despite wonderful reviews, the book was never advertised and barely distributed. A few months after publication, the novel was remaindered. However, Dell bought the paperback rights and in 1984 a sweet little paper edition came out for a few months to ease the pain of another infanticide, as it were. Both editions are available from good used bookstores on the internet (such as Amazon).
This novel about a charming drifter/piano player returning to the scene of his previous and more conventional life, did eventually attract movie interest, and in 1987, I wrote a screenplay version of Louie & Women. Robert Dalva (The Black Stallion Returns) was set to direct the film with a cast of well-known actors, when, on the first day of principal photography, the money for the project was withdrawn and that was the end of that.
In 2004, I dusted off my screenplay of Louie and rewrote it. I wanted to give the characters more room to reveal themselves — and I think I succeeded in that.
An unabridged audiobook edition of Louie & Women is available from Audible.com
Available from Penguin Random House.