I started writing “The Roses Don’t Ask” in 2000, soon after a minor political miscalculation put me on the Harrisonburg City Council. It was about ten percent finished a year later, when a burst of productivity I’ve since tried and failed to duplicate enabled me to finish the remainder in the six weeks between the long July 4th Weekend and the middle of August.

This is the part where I say that no characters are based on real people, and everybody starts to snicker behind their hands. Because everyone thinks they recognize the one with too much makeup, or the dumb one, or the lawyer.

No, you don’t.

Because if you look carefully, you’ll find that for every similarity, coincidental or not, to a real person, living or dead, there are at least two dissimilarities. But if you still insist you see real people in here, then to Hell with you. Go read “The Fountainhead,” which is shamelessly about Frank Lloyd Wright, or “The Good Soldier,” which couldn’t be called “The Saddest Story” because it was coming out in the middle of a war.

Which is a good segue from the roman á clef to the changing title. This one was “Pipeline” at first, then “Dam-Nation,” as I began writing about a city that went through the same kind of municipal nervous breakdown that my city did, only about something that mattered. “The Roses Don’t Ask” became a better title after the novel was done, although around my house we just call it “Roses.” If you don’t get the title, try calling it “Eating the Bait.” Although, granted, that may not work either for a lot of people.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten


Last Revised: 01.31.07    Publisher: Joseph Gus Fitzgerald