Our Last Chance by Bob Keaton
What happens when the old college gang—many of whom haven’t seen each other in 20 years—get together for a weekend?
Tommy, their host, is leaving the country, but he hasn’t told anybody why. That—and a lot more—gets revealed during the last barbecue at Peckerwood, his plantation south of Atlanta. He bought the decaying Southern relic 10 years ago and put a lot of money into the restoration. Now he is ready to show it off. So, he invited the old college gang for the weekend, hoping to relive some memories and maybe even create a few new ones, as he sees his friends for the last time.
Lovingly referred to as “the family,” the gang includes a soap opera star from Los Angeles with a colorful past love life; a prominent Seattle attorney still trying to overcome damage done by one of the guys back in college; an evangelist from Charleston whose ministry is based on getting high on drugs instead of Jesus; a famous New York actress with a mysterious past; and a well-known model from the 70s who now has his own agency. Everybody’s favorite professor back in college who was always there to listen to their problems shows up, but now he needs someone to listen to him.
During the weekend old rivalries are reignited. Secrets get revealed. A young guy meets his birth mother for the first time and discovers who his dad is. Old love interests get rekindled. One member of the group reveals a sex change that nobody knew about. Oh, and there’s a murder, but who, and who did it?
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I’m originally from upstate South Carolina, but I don’t think that location influenced my writing as much as other places I’ve lived, including South Florida, the setting for my newest book, Grayer than Grey, and obviously San Francisco, where I lived for 12 years and serves as the location for my first novel, SEX is nothing more than a game of tennis. I currently live in Atlanta where my second novel, Our Last Shot, Family Business at Peckerwood, takes place.
Where do I get ideas for my writing? When I’m exercising at the gym or in the shower. Maybe that gets the blood flowing to my brain? I need to work out an idea or scene in my head before I sit down at the computer.
Best advice I’ve ever been given? Trust your readers. Having worked as a reporter for three daily newspapers, I tended to provide all the facts, explain everything, leaving nothing to the reader’s imagination. Learning to back off and not reveal everything so quickly has been a challenge.
I also had to learn patience. Unlike writing an article for a newspaper or magazine, you’re not going to finish a novel in a day, or a week, or even next month. Writing a novel takes time, and often many rewrites. You keep coming up with new ideas and ways to improve. My first novel took four years.
After I lost my chief editor, Bailey, a 17-year-old dachshund, working without his input became difficult, but I’m slowly moving forward as I work on my fourth novel which should be out later this year.