Jeff Speicher, a newly published author living in
He’s quick to point out, however, that there are few parallels between his characters and himself.
“I just find it very interesting,” he says of writing about people living on society’s edge. “There are no similarities really at all between these characters and me. My writing is just an outlet for the kind of behavior that I find to be really fascinating —the way people like that think.”
Though he has been writing short stories “for [his] own edification” since he was a child, this was his first full-length manuscript.
These characters had been rattling around my head for several months,” he says. “And more and more layers came to mind. It kind of had legs and ended up being a novel-length story.”
Speicher’s book, “The Snitch,” was published about six months ago by Rockhouse Press. It’s about a former Marine sniper who has kicked homelessness and heroin addiction in order to take care of his mentally challenged brother. In order to turn his life around, the main character works as an informant for a rogue city cop.
Speicher, a stay-at-home dad, would work on the book in the afternoons while his infant son was at the nursery.
“It was the kind of situation where I would be feeding him strained peas in the morning, and then coming home and writing this gritty book set in downtown
Part of his research included hanging out downtown with the homeless, something he didn’t tell his wife about until after the book was finished.
One man in particular, nicknamed Noodles for his wiry build, served as Speicher’s guide into the recesses of
“He’d let me walk the streets with him in exchange for $20 and a blanket,” Speicher says. “We walked the streets, and he introduced me to some people. It gave me some ideas that I used for the book.”
Speicher has already finished his second book and is shopping it around to some of the larger publishing houses. Not surprisingly, the book — titled “Sliding” — is a “strange and twisted study of the downward spiral of an individual who’s been abused his whole life,” he says.
Though Speicher’s previous incarnations included working as Congressman Sam Johnson’s volunteer coordinator and campaign fundraiser and trading futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, for now, he’s happy to sit at home and write.
“My passion is to write,” he says. “And I did well enough during the dotcom boom to afford a couple years where I could sit down and really do what I love to do.”