During the first Gulf War, I was hidden away in a cabin in a very small town called Bolton Landing which is up in the Adirondack Mountains next to Lake George. It was the middle of the winter and I was writing War Heaven, which turned out to be one of my best-selling books. I watched the entire Gulf War on CNN while I was writing the book; that’s why no one gets killed in the story. I thought it would be cool to write a war-book where no one gets killed, while I was watching a real war on TV.
The local newspaper asked if they could do a story on me. I said sure. The reporter interviewed me in a local restaurant, and because this place really was small town, everyone knew about it right away. They took my picture a dozen times, made a big deal out of it. During this time, I used to go to a local donut shop every morning to get coffee and the newspaper. There was a cute girl who used to wait on me all the time, and we used to chat briefly and I could tell she used to wonder who the hell I was.
The day the story came out in the newspaper, I went into the coffee shop as usual and bought a few copies to mail home. She saw me coming and as I walked in, she was all smiles and saying things like: Well, it’s the Mystery Man. I knew you were a celebrity, and so on. Quite taken with me, as they say. And I was all, Pish-posh, it’s no big deal, that kind of crap. I paid for the papers, we chatted about books and things, and I left, felling pretty good about myself, though she seemed a little odd at the end.
When I got back to my car, I looked at myself in the rear view mirror and found out why she’d suddenly gone cold. There was a booger the size of a B-52 hanging out of my nose.