It’s 2006 and Peter Wilson, 24, has a big dream: to find success on the other side of the “lettuce curtain,” namely California’s Monterey Peninsula. Growing up the son of a poor farmer in Soledad, he’s witnessed the explosion of high-end wineries and smells opportunity. But his father scoffs at Peter’s idea to turn the ailing family lettuce farm into a lucrative vineyard. To prove Dad wrong, Peter sets out to earn the money to start a winery himself by taking a job selling sub-prime mortgages in a red-hot real estate market.

Peter’s ambitions, though, run into a major roadblock when he falls head over heels for Chelsea Livingston, 33, an attractive Pebble Beach millionaire. Chelsea and her crowd know how to live—a ten room Pebble Beach mansion, new Bentley, Party’s on a 74’ yacht, and contact with celebrities. Desperate to keep up with her high spending crowd, Peter finds himself stealing company leads and selling them to shady independent brokers for fast cash—lots of it.

For Peter, his finances come to a screeching halt, as the mortgage industry tanks, and he loses his job. Meanwhile Chelsea (her crowd unaffected) arranges him a job at her father’s company, and starts talking marriage, while simultaneously partying harder and engaging in her crowd’s insatiable appetite for debauchery. Peter realizes that the opportunity to slip into a life of luxury will likely be a life with a spider web of strings attached—and may be more than he bargained for. With his perceptions shaken to the core, Peter must decide what he truly wants out of life—and what his next move should be.

From 2006 to 2007 I worked for Countrywide Home Loans in their sub-prime lending division. I witnessed firsthand the implosion of the largest home loan company in America. I also witnessed, first hand, the indifference of the American financial elite. This book is a fictional account of these observations.

This novel is complete at 86,000 words. I have written and edited this manuscript through Stanford’s Writer’s workshops, as well as one-on-one with former instructors. It has been through multiple developmental edits, and writer’s group critiques over the past couple of years. I am excited to share this manuscript with the Inkshares community as it is a truly fantastic forum for independent writers.

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