RETURN TO SHEPHERD AVENUE, AND THE ETERNAL QUESTION: CAN YOU GO HOME AGAIN?

You’ve written millions of words since “Shepherd Avenue” was published, but there’s something really special about that first novel.

You still remember that magical phone call from your agent, all those years ago: “Go celebrate! ‘Shepherd Avenue’ has been sold!”

Oh, man. You can hardly believe it. You’re going to be published! You say it to yourself over and over, right until the day you actually hold a copy of that novel in your hands, hot off the press.

The book gets good reviews. It’s the story of a sensitive ten-year-old boy who spends a turbulent summer at his grandparents house in a rough Brooklyn neighborhood after his mother’s death in 1961.

The house that inspired the story is the one your real-life grandparents lived in, on Shepherd Avenue in Brooklyn. You spent a lot of good times there when you were a boy, and one morning all these years later, a strange thing happens:

You wake up and can’t stop wondering if that old house is still standing.

You do more than just wonder. Like an aging homing pigeon, some primal instinct has you in its grip, taking you on that long subway ride back to Shepherd Avenue.

Your legs tremble as you reach the red brick house. It’s a different neighborhood, now. The windows have bars over them and the driveway is gated, but otherwise the house looks just as it did when you were a kid.

Everybody you knew from the old days is long gone, but the memories come flooding back, and that’s when the craziest “What if” of your literary life strikes like a bolt of lightning:

What if the troubled little boy from ‘Shepherd Avenue’ is now a troubled man in search of peace he’s never been able to find? What if he thinks he can find that peace by moving back into Grandma’s old house?

And as long as we’re being totally crazy: What if he knocks on the door of the Shepherd Avenue house and offers to buy it from the startled present-day owner, just like that?

There’s your story. That troubled man buys the house and moves into it. Nothing but strangers on the block, now, but he doesn’t care. He’s on a mission to make sense of his life with this trip to the past.

Meanwhile, the present will prove to be just as exciting as the past, with a beautiful and passionate young woman living just across the street….she’s every bit as lonely as he is….

Oh yeah. Now you’re cooking! You get back on the subway. You can’t wait to get home and start typing.

That’s how “Return To Shepherd Avenue” was born, fifty years after the original story.

The legendary Thomas Wolfe famously said You Can’t Go Home Again, but you know better than that. You can indeed Return to Shepherd Avenue.

Just don’t be surprised by what you’ll find, because many things can happen in fifty years. Amazing, heartbreaking, wonderful things.