Asymmetric Worlds (2023)
Ron Fritsch was born in 1939, at the end of the Great Depression and before the Second World War began in Europe. Ron grew up with his two sisters and brother on a 200-acre tenant farm in Big Rock Township in Kane County in northern Illinois. His family were among the hard-working poor.
Ron graduated from Big Rock High School in 1957, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1961, and Harvard Law School in 1964. After he finished his formal education, he moved to Chicago, where he has lived ever since.
Ron worked as a lawyer for 37 years, mostly representing persons who couldn’t afford to pay for legal assistance. He was happiest during his last six years when he toiled in the Cook County Public Guardian’s office, representing abused, neglected and dependent children.
In January 1976, Ron met David Darling. In May 1977, they commenced living together. In July 2011, they married. In February 2023, they still live together in Chicago, caring for one another in their old age.
Hi Ron, welcome to Reader Views! Tell us about your writing journey.
I’ve written fiction for my own entertainment since I was in high school. Only after I retired working as a lawyer in 2001 did I produce novels I wished to share with the reading public. I published my first, Promised Valley Rebellion, on October 19, 2010, when I was 71. I published my eleventh and latest, Murder Garden, on January 4, 2023, when I was 83.
What is Murder Garden about?
It’s August 4, 1966, in Chicago, IL. Ted discovers his boyfriend Warren in their backyard garden—dead. Ted soon learns he’s a suspect in Warren’s murder. The date is important. This is a 1960s story.
What was your inspiration behind the storyline?
I first wanted to write about relationships. The persons in one, gay or otherwise, can sometimes have widely different views of what they are. In Murder Garden the difference leads to a tragedy. I also wanted to write about LGBTQ people becoming visible in the 1960s. Many of us could no longer put up with the lies the past required. I believe our increasing visibility led to greater acceptance.
How did you develop your protagonist, Ted Linden? What motivates him?
He’s deeply in love with his boyfriend, Warren Hadley. After blissfully living with him for fourteen months, he finds him murdered in their backyard garden. Facing reporters and television cameras at his front door, he doesn’t hesitate—this is 1966—coming out to the world as gay. After that, the story is his quest to learn who murdered Warren and hope—this is 1966—he isn’t charged with doing it himself.
And your antagonist, Tim Conway, is such a charming fellow. What’s his story?
Ted gets lucky with Conway. He’s a well-read detective with a degree in criminology. He’s friendly toward members of the LBGTQ community at a time—this is 1966—when many Chicago police officers were blatantly hostile.
Do you base your characters on people you know or are they entirely made up?
The characters are entirely fictional. They aren’t based upon people I’ve known.
Our reviewer said the strength of Murder Garden lies in accurately depicting the struggles gays faced on the threshold of acceptance and equality. As the novel is based in the 1960s, what kind of research did you have to do for the story?
I was very pleased reading what your reviewer said about this. As for research, I was 20 years old when the 1960s began and 30 when they ended. I was an openly gay man living in Chicago during the latter half of that decade. My research was minimal.
Are many of those struggles faced by the gay community still relevant today? It seems like for every step forward society does indeed take two steps back.
Unfortunately, some rather loud, attention-seeking people in the 2020s have taken more than two steps backward across the board. I hope I live long enough to see them reduced to the crackpot status they deserve.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Like Ted, I can’t imagine the cold-blooded murder of a human. Still, it happens every day. When the victim is someone we love, and we don’t see it coming, are we naive or merely unlucky?
I love entertaining stories with a message as I think readers want more than entertainment. What do you hope readers take away from Murder Garden?
I hope I inspire readers to hang onto their lives, despite whatever setbacks arise, as lustily as Ted Linden and all my other protagonists do.
You’ve been writing close to a novel a year for the last eleven years! Where do you get your story ideas?
During my life I’ve read a great number of books and viewed a great number of films and television programs. The problem for me isn’t too few story ideas but far, far too many to settle on any one.
You write in different genres. Which one are you most at home writing?
Historical fiction. I liked your reviewer’s comment that “Murder Garden is so much more than the everyday whodunit, it is also a noteworthy historical fiction.”
What does your writing routine look like?
At least once every day I sit down at my desk, turn on my PC and write, taking up where I left off the last time I wrote.
How have you grown as a writer since that first novel all those years ago?
I’ve become much more comfortable writing in the first person. When I started, I only wrote in third person limited.
What do you like to read and which authors have inspired your own writing?
I read everything that holds my interest. Far too many writers have inspired me to list them here.
What do you like to do outside of writing?
Doing my daily exercise, almost always soon after getting out of bed, eating healthy and delicious meals many people would consider snacks, and taking care of my partner.
What are your plans for future writing projects? What are you working on now?
I have several ideas for my next novel. I’ll have to decide soon which way to go.
Based on your experience, what advice can you give aspiring authors?
Never give up.
Is there anything else you’d like to add today?
I’d like to thank Reader Views for its great reviews of my eleven novels.
CONNECT WITH RON FRITSCH!
My website is https://ronfritsch.com I receive email messages at firstname.lastname@example.org