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THE DICE MAN is a novel that in most all possible universes would never have been finished and never published. But Chance, ever busy, created a series of accidents in 1969-70 in Deia, Mallorca, that allowed a 222 page manuscript written over four years by an un-ambitious, unpublished 37-year-old college professor to be discovered and finished.

I understand that an introduction to a novel, especially one written for a first edition printing by a relatively unknown author, may seem egotistical; this of course presumes a reaction to this book passionate enough to warrant such a pre-defense. I am willing to gamble my humility on this presumption. Stranger Will is a book that will polarize readers, and I believe setting proper context for this novel is important.

How did this story come about?

Influences.The writers you love, and the writers you hate[1].The thing about influences is that writing or talking about them can easily turn into a list.And a pretentious list, at that.But there is a list of people who made work that mattered, and still matters, to me: Francois Camoin, Raymond Carver, Amy Hemple, Darrell Spencer, John Steppling and Chuck Jones.Then, there’s a the list of work that appeared at the perfect time in a person’s life…the most common would probably be, for the young male, “Catcher in the Rye” or “On the Road”…for me it was James Baldwin and Richard Yates.I haven’t read either of them for a while, but they were essential to me for many years. Hemingway. And, later, Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby is still the longest 169 page novel ever written…not a wasted phrase in there).