Dan Chiras is probably the nation's leading author on ecological building. It was my privilege to be his publisher for The Natural House and The Solar House. Here's what he had to say about STRIPAH LOVE:
Read your book this weekend and wanted to "report back to you." As I may have told you in an earlier e-mail, I haven't read a novel in 15 years, although I used to consume them like peanut butter cookies when I was a bit younger. I was reading 20 to 50 novels a year at one point in my life!!!!
I have written three novels of my own, although was unsuccessful in publishing them in the early 1980s. It's then that I took to writing nonfiction. I say all of this only to let you know that novels are near and dear to me, but I haven't read any in a long time for a couple of reasons: For one, when I read novels there's a little voice in my head that say, "You should get your novels out and send them off to publishers, again...." Remembering the 50 or 60 rejection letters I received on each one, and the seemingly impenetrable wall that exists between a new novelist and a publisher, I've concluded that I should stay away from novels to avoid the pain of remembrance.
And there was this other voice that said, "Who has time for this nonsense! You have serious books to write: environmental science textbooks, natural building books, books on solar energy...and even book on how to raise children who care for the Earth," which is coming out in a few days.
Okay, so by now, you're saying what's the windbag getting to?
What I'm trying to say, is "Wow, what a fantastic book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read it every waking second till I was done. In fact, the minute I woke up each morning over the long weekend, I picked it up and read till my eyes said, "Time for a little rest, bucko." (I've got a lot of talking body parts in this letter to you.
This was a page turner. Like some of the other truly wonderful books I've read over the years, I was always eager to read on to learn more about these delightfully quirky characters and their plight in life...hence the "page turner" honor, which is the truest honor, I think, a novelist can receive. Then as I approached the end, I had that awful feeling...that it was going to end. I started to put the brakes on, to savor every sentence, every word, to suck the nectar from this wonderful flower you've given to me.
So, my friend, there's so much that I can say. I loved the way you wove this piece together. I loved the words of wisdom and observations about our times and the way much of what is beautiful has been destroyed by progress. I loved the comments on Madison Avenue's brainwashing of our youth (as to what marks a truly significant event in our lives) and so much more. I think one of the greatest lines was when Artie said something about "Add that to the list of things I don't understand in life."
Stephen, you're a first class novelist, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to read your book. How can I help? Can you send me another copy to pass around to friends (I couldn't possibly let my copy get out of my collection)? I will pay for it. Also, I would like to read Beyond Yonder. Can I buy a copy from you, too? By the way, I will also go on Amazon.com and post a review for you.
I'd love to talk with you sometime about the Public Press, too. I went to their web site and read the information, but wanted to learn from your own experience whether this might be an avenue for me. I've been writing a series of political essays on www.flaminggrasshopper.com, CG's blog, and would like to publish these. In addition, I might just like to publish one of my novels like you did.
Take care, and keep up the excellent work. I can't wait till your next book comes out.