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    Floridian Nights

    By Michele Karlsberg–

    Michele Karlsberg: After many well-deserved literary awards for his novel Flower of Iowa, author Lance Ringel has released a new bestseller, Floridian Nights, which captures a unique moment in time: a pre-digital age when easy public affection and equality in marriage remain faraway dreams. But an organized community has finally emerged into the sunlight, and a gay man can find complete acceptance within his own family. The terror and tragedy of a killer epidemic stalking the land will be all too familiar to contemporary readers, even as they enjoy a culture-clash romance that ricochets between the unexpectedly comic and the deeply poignant. 

    I recently asked Ringel where he finds his inspiration. I wondered if it was from personal experience, things friends tell him, or just all pure imagination. 

    Lance Ringel: I think any honest novelist or playwright is likely to tell you that they write from a combination of personal experience and pure imagination. It’s finding the right balance between those, to create something compelling, which is so challenging. I might also add that history has often been an inspiration for me to start a new project.

    Michele Karlsberg: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

    Lance Ringel: In terms of the writing, just do it. Don’t talk about being a writer; actually write. And then edit what you’ve written, rigorously, until it shines for you. If it doesn’t shine for you, it won’t shine for anyone else.

    Please enjoy this excerpt from Floridian Nights:

    The electronic warble of his office phone brought Gary back to land, and to the present. “It’s Julia Stern?” came Anita’s voice, in its half-stating, half-asking tone.

    “Okay,” was all he said, and then Julia was on the line: “All right, caught you. Looking out the window at the storm, weren’t you?”

    He had to laugh at that. Julia, his best friend, worked in the Empire State Building, and her office faced south. It was a running joke between them that they could see what was going on in each other’s offices, some fifty blocks apart. And with surprising frequency, she, at least, guessed right. “Yeah,” he admitted.

    “And what were you thinking?”

    “How glad I am the heat wave’s over.”

    “For now.”

    “For now,” he agreed, “and how foul it’s going to be out tonight.”

    “You wouldn’t let a little hurricane cancel a meeting of the Merry Widows’ Club, would you?”

    The Merry Widows’ Club was a joke-that-wasn’t-a-joke between them. Julia tended to use the phrase more often than Gary. Her husband Ira had been killed in a sidewalk mugging on a beautiful night this past spring. Ira had looked like a stereotypical accountant—he was, in fact, involved in banking, as Becker had been—and maybe that’s why the kids had taken him for an easy mark. They hadn’t expected him to fight back, and he hadn’t expected them to have knives. So Ira had died on a side street in NoHo, just a few blocks from where Becker had died; had died alone, without Julia, just as Becker had died without Gary.

    Lance Ringel is the award-winning author of the novel “Flower of Iowa,” as well as an accomplished playwright whose works for the theater include the plays “In Love with the Arrow Collar Man” and “Flash/Frozen” and the musical collaborations “Animal Story” and “At Home in the World.” www.lanceringel.comMichele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBTQ+ community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates 32 years of successful marketing campaigns. For more information: https://www.michelekarlsberg.com

    Published on November 18, 2021