Hedge fund pioneer releases debut novel

DARIEN — Hedge fund pioneer Jerrold Fine is ready to release his debut novel.

“I’ve been thinking about writing this book for quite a while,” Fine said. “I’ve always viewed myself as a storyteller.”

Fine, 76, is the founder of Charter Oak Partners Management in Westport. He moved to Darien four years ago to stay close to his family.

“We have four married children and 13 grandchildren all living within 15 minutes of us,” he said. “It’s 23 of us.”

Around the same time he moved to town, Fine got started on his debut novel, “Make Me Even and I’ll Never Gamble Again,” a coming-of-age tale about a young man named Roger Stout.

Fine began writing the novel in 2014 and it took around two years to complete.

The story follows Stout, who has a gambler’s gift and an uncanny ability to read people. Readers will follow Stout’s journey from attending college at the University of Pennsylvania to Wall Street, where he faces challenges as an outsider.

“I didn’t want it to be autobiographical where I’m telling all about me,” Fine said. “I think we’ve seen enough of that in the world.”

Fine said when Stout came into his mind, he knew he had something. Once he created his main character, Fine made sure to surround him with a strong supporting cast and decided to write the story in first person.

“As I started working on him, I realized how complex and interesting he was,” Fine said. “The light went on. I’ll have him tell the story and it’ll be the Roger Stout story.”

Though he didn’t want the story to be autobiographical, Fine used some of his life experience to create the world around his character. Stout grows up in Cincinnati, which is also where Fine grew up. He chose the 1970s and 1980s as the setting for the novel because of his familiarity with that time period.

“It was places and times I knew well, but I had it through his eyes,” he said.

Fine spent mornings running his company — now known as the NCN Group Inc. — and would make time to work on his novel after lunch. During the week, Fine said he spent three hours a day writing. He would write throughout the day on Saturday and use Sunday to revise his work. During this time, he turned off all phones and machines to focus.

“I was totally committed to it,” he said. “I would sleep with a yellow pad and a flashlight through the night. It was the only way I could sleep through the night sometimes.”

Fine said there are differences between his two occupations, but he has enjoyed both.

“Writing is a solo thing,” he said. “Whereas investing is a big bad world and you’re competing in it.”

Having to balance these two worlds has only made him sharper, he said. Since he has less time to spend on writing, he makes sure he doesn’t waste time once he starts working.

“It’s not like the harder you work the better you’ll do,” he said. “What you’re thinking is getting it on paper and making it read well.”

A few who have already read the book are looking forward to Stout’s next adventure, Fine said.

“A lot of people are asking me to write a sequel to it. But I’m working on my next novel now,” he said.

The book is available on Amazon for preorder and will be released on Aug. 14.


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