FORT WORTH, Texas, May 9, 2013 — What do men really think? What do they discuss when on male-only adventures? Here’s your chance to find out.
The golf course, for one, is a perfect place for men where they can express themselves in greater depth than they might elsewhere. Writer and avid golfer Jeff Bacot noticed the memorable repartee among guys on the fairway. Some he heard, and other anecdotes and stories came from his own conversations with friends. Once realized what was going on, he began to index the dialogue, and that, in turn inspired him to make a book out of his material.
Jeff is President and fellow member of the Greater Fort Worth Writers group and it’s a privilege to share his talent and thoughts with our readers. His new book, On the Hole, proved to be a riveting read from the get-go.
With a clever hand and poetic grace, he introduces us to protagonists Jay and Nick, best friends and golf partners. They discuss and explore not only the usual obsessions of whiskey, women and work, but go deeper still to reveal their hidden selves, where they are going and what values they hold, ultimately leading them to confront life-changing inner truths.
Amid these revelations, we also discover a mystery with a cast of interesting and authentic characters as well as a surprise ending.
I talked to Jeff recently about On the Hole, the story behind it and how it came about.
Claire Hickey: What inspired you to write a book?
Jeff Bacot: My wife, at the time, asked me after a particularly long day of golf: “What in the world do you guys talk about out there on the golf course for so long?” After pondering I answered, “A zillion things. Everything you can imagine actually and the conversations might surprise you.” She was irritated, so I wrote down a few things we talked about and gave it to her, as an olive branch. She gave it back to me and said: “Whatever. Write a book.” So I did.
CH: What made you actually sit down and start putting your inspiration on paper (screen)?
JB: My father became very ill, and near his death he said to me, “Leave something behind Jeff, for people to enjoy. You’re a good writer. Write something meaningful.” I hope I did. Sadly, he never read it.
CH: How did you come up with the characters of Jay and Nick?
JB: The two central characters in the story are very different. As with most protagonists, there is a great deal of the writer in their characters and it is the same with me. I’m 50% Jay and 50% Nick. There is duality in us all. Jay was inspired by two friends, Roger Claxton and Dennis Flint. Nick was inspired by two other guys as well, Kevin Smith and Walt Suberg.
CH: What is your favorite part of On the Hole?
JB: I loved writing the description of each hole. The dense dialogue and jabbing banter between the two protagonists was enjoyable to write. But the description of Jay’s most memorable sight on the first hole, first chapter, was particularly gratifying. Wrapping up the ending was turmoil. I changed it ten times, but it was exhilarating.
CH: How did you come up with the title?
JB: I chose the title name because it is eighteen conversations on eighteen holes, so it fit naturally. Also, it was a sound familiar and pleasing to people’s ears, as in “on the whole.” The original title was the The Hole 18 Wholes, which actually made the most sense, based on the ending and the story line. But everybody thought it was backwards, which it was, intentionally. The meaning of the story was really about their final conversation on Hole 18, which was about the “whole thing” of life.
CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
JB: (1) Male friendships are complex. (2) Life is love and love is life; they are both about details. (3) Golf is fun and really frustrating.
CH: Is there anything you would like your readers to know about you or On the Hole?
JB: Each chapter originally began with a song lyric epigraph that foreshadowed the conversation coming. Jay is a record company exec, so it made sense to the story and was fun to include. I have song lyrics in my head constantly. Everyone loved it in the original manuscript. Sadly, the publisher feared lawsuits so we took them out. They gave depth and character to the story, but weren’t critical to the whole or hole, as it were.
CH: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
JB: The hardest part was taking out the real subjects discussed on the fairway: bigotry, misogyny, violence and other taboo subjects. The publisher would not allow it. It’s horrifying sometimes, but reality. I understood, though, begrudgingly.
CH: What are your current projects?
JB: A follow up to On the Hole, a new book called F___ing and Fighting Words. I write copy for a few businesses, which pays the bills. Also, a non-fiction banking book called In The Bank. I am also still trying to get a screenplay for a World War I documentary into publication called In a 100 years, Who’s Gonna Care?
CH: Is there a writer or writers that would you consider a mentor?
JB: My brother, my father, my mother.
CH: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
JB: Greater Fort Worth Writers group. Period.
CH: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
JB: Bryan Grubbs, Kim Walton, Susie Sheehey, Chrissy Szarek.
On the Hole, by Jeff Bacot. Fort Worth, Tx.: Outskirts Press, 2012. 256 pp. $21.95 (list). Also available in a Kindle edition, $2.99. ISBN: 9781432791247
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