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Spa City man's debut novel hits shelves

It took five years of writing and revisions, but the book that emerged was well worth the time and is something first-time author Jack Nolan is proud of.

I'd always had the urge to write a novel and I carried along with me different scenes and different ideas, said Nolan, of Saratoga Springs. "As they developed, it almost developed as a movie script in my head and when it came down to writing the story, I had some strong elements to pull on," said Nolan.

"A Drink Precedes A Story" hit shelves three weeks ago and spans generations, cultures and countries to weave a tale of love, violence, friendship and history.

Set in the 1960s, Nolan describes it as "a coming-of-age story of two teenaged boys, one white, one black, and their journey to adulthood" and combines events from Ireland, Troy, North Carolina and Southeast Asia.

"There were many political and ideological turmoil that took place [during that time] and because of all those it was an interesting time in that whole decade and you could draw on many different historical events," said Nolan.

The story takes place during the Vietnam War but Nolan said it's not distinctly a historical fiction novel.

"There are elements of mystery, intrigue, romance love, religion, politics and race," said Nolan. The book takes no position as it touches on those topics but rather chronicles how they came into play in the lives of central characters."

It's a character driven novel and while Nolan doesn't insert specific personal experiences, any type of writing is bound to contain glimmers of reality.

"Part is personal experience and part is definitely just the creative process," said Nolan. "It's very difficult to write and not pull on your personal experiences but it's definitely not autobiographical, though it certainly does bring in some aspects of life as I experienced it."

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