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My first published novel, written on a borrowed typewriter in a steaming hot garret in Iowa City while sucking down lukewarm Pickett's. Originally a "loose and baggy monster," it was beaten into some semblance of publishable condition by my first editor, Gary Fisketjon, and published with a suitably lurid cover that still makes me laugh when I see it at book signings. But it entitled me to say that I was a published novelist, and it marks the beginning of my career and my adult life.

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