SHREVEPORT TIMES -- So he focused on school, served in the Army and enrolled in San Francisco State University, where began publishing short stories in the University’s literary journal. He earned a spot in Stanford University’s graduate program for creative writing, then settled into a studio apartment in the San Francisco area. Though he had been writing short stories and working odd jobs, a mentor told Gaines that publishing a novel was the only way to publish a book of short stories or make money as a writer.
“And the only novel I could think of is what I had tried to write about 10 years earlier,” he said. “And of course, I’d burned the draft I sent to New York.” Gaines started writing a new version of the novel, winning the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award in San Francisco for submitting a few chapters of the novel.