Half the Child: A Demographic of One by William J. McGee

Posted: August 24, 2018 in guest post
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Heartbreaking, hilarious, emotionally raw, and still packed with suspense on every page… a laughthrough-
your-tears kind of novel.”
— Katherine Taylor, author of Valley Fever and Rules for Saying Goodbye

“Smart, funny, and deeply moving, Half the Child offers a fresh and refreshing take on the perils of
parenthood and the healing of damaged families.”
— Judith Stone, author of When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided By Race

A Novel

William J. McGee

* Semi-finalist, James Jones First Novel Competition

* Semi-finalist, William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition

HALF THE CHILD takes place over four consecutive summers in the lives of Michael Mullen and his son Benjamin, who ages from 2 to 5. Mike is an air traffic controller at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport who also is pursuing a graduate degree in Psychology. He and Ben’s mother are about to divorce, and the legal stakes keep dramatically increasing, ultimately culminating in abduction. The battle for Ben negatively affects Mike’s career, education, financial state, friendships, romantic life, physical health, and emotional well-being. Refusing to relinquish his parental rights leads Mike to personal bankruptcy, temporary homelessness, potentially catastrophic errors at work, and suicidal depression. Yet he steadfastly refuses to consider a life that consists of living apart from his son. With courts continually ruling against Ben’s father, it remains uncertain if their bond will survive. Ultimately, they will write their own love story.

 

Acclaimed debut novel explores custody, child abduction, and parental alienation — from a devoted dad’s perspective

William J. McGee, author of HALF THE CHILD, received an MFA in Fiction from
Columbia University and has taught undergraduate and graduate Creative Writing at
Hofstra University. An award-winning nonfiction writer as well, McGee is the author of
Attention All Passengers (HarperCollins, 2012), an exposé of the airline industry. He’s
following that up with AirFear, a scripted television drama now in development. McGee
has worked in airline flight operations management at LaGuardia Airport and served in
the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary. He is a native of Queens, where most of the novel is set.
McGee now lives in Connecticut, where he is working on another novel. He is also a
devoted father.

Follow or contact him on Facebook, Twitter, or his website.

“An irresistible page-turner but at the same time thoughtful, precise, and wise in its observations…It may
be the best novel I’ve ever read about a father’s love.”
— Tom De Haven, author of It’s Superman! and the Derby Dugan Trilogy

Contact:
Les Luchter
LL Communications
les@llcom.biz
646-591-5722

Published by: CreateSpace
ISBN-13: 978-0692145340 (William J. McGee)
ISBN-10: 0692145346
Available on Amazon: July, 2018
$15.95 trade paperback
$2.99 Kindle

 

 


Guest Post

DEMOGRAPHIC OF ONE

Are book publishing experts wrong?

William J. McGee

My new novel HALF THE CHILD is all about love and devotion and family and relationships. But you are going to hate it.

I have been told—repeatedly, vociferously, unequivocally—that men neither buy nor read books. As for women, they neither buy nor read books that feature a male narrator, even one like mine who is a loving, caring father making extreme sacrifices for the child he adores. And young adults, well, they have their own marketing silo. So when you take away men, women, and young adults, you’ve sort of knocked the hell out of a potential audience for an adult literary novel.

HALF THE CHILD is a tale of custody and abduction, and details a young father’s desperate fight to prevent soulless courts from driving him out of his beloved son’s life, while he also struggles to keep his high-stress job as an air traffic controller at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. You may like it. You may not. But those who are expressing admiration for the book so far represent every possible demographic.

At one point in the novel our narrator Michael is accused—falsely, it should be stressed—of having a temper issue and is forced to attend an anger management session with truly angry men, where it is woefully and comically apparent he doesn’t belong. And he sums it up thusly: “One more venue in which I don’t quite fit. I’ve never felt so alone. It’s as though I’m a demographic of one.”

I feel strongly that we need more diversity in book publishing, so we can hear more voices, representing more points of view, telling stories that haven’t been told. New voices are now being heard, in print and elsewhere, and I loudly celebrate it. And just as television, radio, and film are being remade by new channels and new independent artists, so too is this necessary in book publishing. None of us can be categorized in the way some literary agents and book editors think we can be.

So please don’t tell me what books I am likely to read, and please don’t tell me who exactly will or will not read my book. I’m not the summation of what I buy, where I travel, or how I vote. As Walt Whitman asserted:

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I suspect you contradict yourself too. In fact, each of us is our own demographic of one. And like Whitman, each of us sings a Song of Myself. Let our voices be heard.

—William J. McGee is the author of HALF THE CHILD, available in print and Kindle on Amazon.

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