Hal Ackerman author of Stein, Stoned answers a few popular questions about his book.
What inspired you to write STEIN STONED?
I had never written a mystery but I have a devious mind. I had one line rattling around in my brain for a long time that I liked but had no story to go with it: The phone rang too early for it to be good news. I was swimming at the UCLA pool one day and saw a kickboard with the name GOODPASTURE on it and thought, what a great name for a marijuana grower. Now there was a character for the name and a life presented itself and I knew who was calling and why. And while I have never smoked marijuana myself, I’m told by those who do that it’s quite pleasant and ought not to be illegal.
Harry Stein was an expert grower of marijuana in the sixties and planted hybrids across America, including in the rose garden of the White House. How much of Harry’s background is based on truth?
All of it…and none of it. Harry’s exploits are an amalgam of the spirit of all the Yippies and Merry Pranksters, the subversives and anarchists, musicians and miscreants that personified the era. And me a little bit.
Although STEIN, STONED is a mystery novel, it also contains much social commentary. What is the message and was it intentional?
Stein embodies an era of poignantly impossible idealism when people truly believed the world could become the place that John Lennon Imagined. Through Harry’s eyes we look at the shambles of entitlement and privilege, of conspicuous consumption and corruption, self-interest and self-delusion that the world has become. I hope it will make people long for that other time and move again toward its values.
What’s next for Harry Stein?
He will continue to be the lone voice in the wilderness. His next adventure will place him amongst the dying breed of BEEKEEPERS facing the crisis of colony collapse and the compromise of our food supply in STEIN, STUNG. While doing battle against AGROBIZ he will also be trying to keep his rebellion teenage daughter safe for another year in a world whose danger she underestimates, skirmish with his ex-wife, and once before it’s too late, to find true love.