Hal Fleming , Author

The Brides' Fair & Once Upon a Storm and other works


   I've always written stories, poems tucking them away to be retrieved another day. There was an early unfinished novel, a mystery, inspired by a two month stay in Paris when I was a graduate student. Another novel about the turbulent 60s in America made it as a finalist in a MacMillan first writers' contest. My agent and the publisher asked me to rewrite the first chapter, but it was off to Washington and the U.S. Foreign Service and a whirlwind career that saw no real let up until retirement. But I did managed to dig it out of some very dusty boxes, and recently spend two years editing and updating it. It's just out, September 2010, and is titled ONCE UPON A STORM. More about this later on. 

     My  first published novel, THE BRIDES' FAIR, May 2008, evolved from my nearly five years as a U.S. Official in Morocco where I came in contact with all levels of this fascinating society, and traveled extensively in all of the contrasting regions of the country. The book was specifically inspired by a trip I took in an Embassy van to a colorful marriage fair in the rugged Mid Atlas mountains. The van was driven by two intrepid young men from the U.S. Marine Guard unit who were otherwise unprepared for the difficult terrain and the several breakdowns. The other passengers in the van were perhaps not as colorful as those in the novel, but typical of those in a mid-sized Embassy community.

     We had at that time no terrorists stalking us. I included the terrorist element to reflect the current reality in that country as well as in most of North Africa and the Middle East.Nor did we encounter any young Berber brides trying to esacpe forced marriages. But I became quite familiar with the Berber culture through several local anthropologists and from numerous trips up into the mountains visiting various development projects.

     All in all, while the book is fiction, some critics have said that it is well-grounded in the authenticity of the people, the culture and the times.

     My new book, Once Upon a Storm, is quite different in theme and setting. It's a murder mystery set on New England's Cape Cod, in the late 1960s, in the era of Civil Rights and Anti-War protests as well as the Sexual Revolution.When a hurricane disrupts a music festival, two unlikely people are flung together:a West Indian folk singer and a white debutante. A fire-ravaged yacht beached during the storm contains three badly burned bodies. The debutante is suspected, and along with the singer becomes a fugitive of the law. Read more about this in the Synopsis and Press Release as well as the background piece.

     My career in the US Foreign Service took me first to West Africa, and herein you'll find two short stories and a poem based on my four years in the Ivory Coast:

        The Early Termination of Adrian Wilder

        The Gray Ape Who Loved Canape's

        Korhogo Road

       I hope you will enjoy reading these works as much as I did writing them .


                                    Hal Fleming

                                   September 2010