Wednesday, September 15, 2021

My debut novel, "The Cypress Club"

Four years ago, I decided "for fun" to begin writing a work of fiction. I'd toyed with the idea for a while, having maintained this blog for close to six years by that point. There's no question I'd been influenced by my staunch attention to Meryl's film career, and to the characters she so poignantly portrayed. It was with this fascination that I set out on what I first expected to be a short story. Fast forward to today, and I'm thrilled to share that I've published my first novel, The Cypress Club. 


I'm sharing it on my blog because (aside from it being a great venue to shamelessly plug the book), like so many other stories on which I've speculated over the years, The Cypress Club includes a main character whom I'd love to see portrayed onscreen. Having dissected so many of Meryl and her contemporaries' performances over the past decade, I feel like I was armed with an understanding of how to portray a believable character from a certain generation. Betsy was fun to write about, as was the setting that surrounds her and the rest of her family. A brief synopsis:


Ben Apt has given up on the relationship his mother, Betsy, has never allowed them to have. School, career, his choice in boyfriends--she's always found an excuse to pull away. Pushed to reconcile by a deathbed request from his beloved grandmother, Ben accepts an invitation to visit his parents for their fortieth anniversary party. Destination: their new retirement home in the tony Cypress Club community of Palm Beach. 


Ben's efforts to reconnect are quickly tested when Betsy greets him. She's gone platinum. Her face looks. . . new. And instead of hashing things out with her son, she spends the weekend going to deceptive lengths to impress the other nouveau-riche Boomers in residence--whose greatest concern is where to enjoy a mimosa-soaked brunch after their first eighteen holes. 

As Ben struggles to navigate the minefield of the club's peculiar culture, greater secrets are revealed, until he's no longer sure whether reconciling with his mother will provide the peace he'd been seeking, or only serve to destroy the Apt family completely. 

The Cypress Club is by turns funny, irreverent, and heartbreaking. An often-satirical tale that explores the painful prospect of severing ties with a parent and invites readers to rethink what it means to live the American dream.


I'm not ashamed to admit that an early driving motivation to continue the drudgery required to actually complete, edit, and revise a novel was helped by the fantasy of it getting optioned for a film. If you can't dream it, no way it'll happen, right? That idea sort of waned as I got further into the process, and I was able to simply enjoy the craft, and the fun of daydreaming. Through all the work, I've gained a better understanding of how to go about writing quality future stories (which I've already begun). It's been a rewarding process beyond my expectations. I hope folks feel inclined to take a look. 

The novel is currently available pretty much anywhere books are sold online, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and many more. Enjoy. 



4 comments:

  1. Jeff, huge congratulations! I am thrilled for your achievement and I will be getting my copy, looking forward to hearing your voice in the story :)

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  2. In a recent interview on his show, Stephen Colbert thanked Stephen Sondheim for having inspired him to be an artist. Colbert said: “I will always be grateful to you for laying out the desire and the beauty of the act of creation itself regardless of where that may take you.”

    There’s so much desire, daring, beauty, joy, imagination, depth, generosity, and sheer hard work in what you do here on your blog—same with what you must have done to finish and publish your novel. So congratulations and (again) thanks, Jeff! Will get myself a copy ASAP.

    I am not Colbert and you are not Sondheim, but I, too, am very very grateful for your beautiful, inspiring acts of creation.

    — Danny

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    1. Danny, thank you so much for your kind words. It thrills me to know you've enjoyed this blog. Please know it's such an encouraging thing to know readers like you are out there thinking about, watching, reading, and discussing the same things I hope to convey on this forum. I appreciate you!

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