I almost feel guilty being a writer during the Covid outbreak, because writers already self-isolate by choice. It’s the only way we get any work done.
So I spent the early weeks of the pandemic hunkered in my office, finishing Squeeze Me. Set on the silly, rich, true-life island of Palm Beach, the novel features a well-fed, supernaturally tanned U.S. president and his vacation mansion.
Under the circumstances, I felt it was necessary to seek out Skink, the unhinged, fugitive ex-governor from some past novels. Also in play: giant freaking pythons.
Growing up in rural South Florida, my friends and I always kept wild snakes and other critters. But that was before the python invasion, which is now throttling the whole ecosystem of the Everglades. A snake that grows to eighteen feet and dines on adult alligators definitely demands attention.
The pythons are steadily advancing out of the glades, and I figure it’s only a matter of time before a few of them show up in Palm Beach. I wrote Squeeze Me for everyone who can’t be there when it happens.
Some early readers have suggested that character of the president in the novel resembles Donald Trump, both physically and in temperament. For the record, there are significant literary differences — for instance, Trump chugs Diet Coke while the character in Squeeze Me prefers Dr. Pepper. Also, they use different brands of golf balls.
The most challenging part of doing the novel was staying ahead of the daily headlines; we’re living in such a bizarre time that it almost defies satirizing. One way of surviving the torrent of grim news is to distract yourself with something funny, if you can find it.
I really hope you get a few good laughs from this twisted, not-so far-fetched book.
Stay safe, take care of your families, and please wear your damn masks.
Meet some of the zany inhabitants of Squeeze Me