Note: This is the blog I'd intended to post last week, but put off after the events in Newtown. To remain consistent, I'm a day late again this week. Anybody who follows my writing knows this is a habit. A bad habit, but fuck it. I apologize to those I've tagged. They're free to say bad shit about me.
So, if you have any writer Facebook friends, especially those who write speculative fiction, you’ve probably seen the “Next Big Thing,” blog gang bang that’s been passed around like a cheap hooker at a bachelor party. And guess what? It’s my turn. Thank you, John Mantooth! I call sloppy seven-hundred and seconds.
Anyway, the idea is I answer a few questions about my work, and tag a number of authors who I’m interested in and they do the same next week.
Confession, like everything I do, I’m a day late. For some reason, I must have missed the day they taught how to read a calendar. I apologize to my vast sea of readers and to those whom I’ve tagged (not in the nasty way).
Without further adieu:
Question: What is the working title of your book/work in progress?
Answer: The Nines. Which is significantly more tame than the last project I finished in November – Mondo Blood Presents: Escape from Shit Town.
Q: Where did the idea for the book come from?
A: It’s a story that fits into my Money Run mythos (see American Gomorrah or, ebook). I’d realized I’d set stories in the southwestern desert, the Nevada desert, the corn fields of the heartlands, rural Louisiana and an unnamed large metropolitan area from the northeast, but nothing in my native Colorado. Thought it was time to write about someplace I’d actually seen.
Q: What genre does the book fall under?
A: While I’m probably mostly known for darker speculative fiction, I’d have to say it’s a magical realism piece with crime/suspense components. And no, magical realism doesn’t mean elves and unicorns. The explanation given to me is that magical realism deals with an element or elements that are bordering on outrageous, but treating them like they’re perfectly normal and socially acceptable in your setting. Of course, the person who explained it to me coulda been full of shit, too.
Q: Which actors would you choose to play the characters from your book?
A: There’s a lot of viewpoint characters in the book. It’s kind of actually how I structured it – for each chapter to be told from one of a cast of rotating characters.
He’d be too old to play them now, but Warren Oats (Sergeant Hulka in “Stripes”) would be perfect to play the dual roles of Henry and Artimus DeVine.
Tien Howard would be ideally suited to Lost’s Yunjin Kim, and Tien’s husband, David Howard, reminds me of Judah Friedlander.
The easiest one to pick out of all these would be for one of my favorite Money Run characters – Sister Dazy. Way, way easy – Christina Hendricks. Anybody who’s read any of the Money Run stories is going to immediately agree with me on that one. Let me take a second to catch my breath.
There’s several others, but in the interest of time and your attention span, I’m just going to move on.
Q: What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A: Like synopsis aren’t bad enough, but one sentence? I can make it a run-on sentence right? Fuck it, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to.
A down-and-out “cop” is charged with keeping a vital highway clean from "complications" so a very special shipment can go through with no interference or witnesses, but a mishap leads to complications and the assorted characters must deal with trying to secure the cargo reaching its destination, the possibility of a domestic terrorist permanently closing down their critical highway, and with every other characters’ competing (and usually not-so-savory) motivation.
Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?
A: The plan is to try and lure one of them agent thingies. I’ve published several things in the small press, cracked several pro markets with short stories, but if I want to put on the big-boy pants, I’m going to have to try the agent route sooner or later. If it doesn’t work out, I do have a couple of publishers who have already expressed interest.
Q: How long did it take you to write the first-draft of your manuscript?
A: I’ll let you know when I’m finished. I have about ten chapters left – they’ve been coming in at an average of about 1200 words. So, literally, I could be finished any day now. However, I think I began the thing over four years ago.
I’ve put it aside several times to work on other projects that, you know, pay and stuff.
The story started out as a flash fiction piece, then I decided I needed to show a little more and it was going to be a short story. Then more – novella. Finally, I said fuck it, let’s go for the whole enchilada. I know these changes in structure tripped me up more than they helped. And I had one character that my instincts told me to stay with, but her story wouldn’t reveal itself to me. I ran into a wall on that several times. However, I know the rest of the story now. I’m past most of the difficult parts to write.
Plus, I have an odd disadvantage on how I write when it comes to first drafts, but because my process is that way, final drafts aren’t usually far behind. That’s a story for another blog post, though. The one where I celebrate finishing this damn thing.
Q: What other books in your genre would you compare this story to?
A: I’m not so sure if they’re in the same genre, but I’d say it’s a mix of Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD, Palianiuk’s INVISIBLE MONSTERS and Hunter S. Thompson’s FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.
Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A: I’m not a big believer in inspiration. If you want to write, sit down and write. To this point, I’ve been more of a short story guy. I believe that maybe I’m a sprinter and not a marathon runner (although I’d probably have a heart attack if I actually tried either of those right now). But I couldn’t go without giving novel writing a try. This is that try. I’m hopeful I’ll like the result enough to give it another shot – especially since I’m excited as hell about my next idea (but I have three short stories due first – see how that works?!).
Q: What else might pique the reader’s interest in your book?
A: Oh, it’s got something for everybody. Well, the depraved side of everybody – hookers, nuns, alcoholics (and that’s all one character), lot lizards, car crashes, sex slaves, ‘roid rage, explosives, speed knitting, strippers, dudes shot from cannons, dudes not shot from cannons, Winnebagos, nest eggs, domestic terrorism, hand puppets, explosive dildos and Nipsey fucking Russell. That should cover it.
This concludes the first part of our show. If you need to use the bathroom, now would be ideal.
Cue intermission music - doobie-doobie-doo...
You back? The second requirement to this is I tag five writers. It wasn’t made clear to me that I can tag people who’ve already participated, so I went with some that haven’t been. And yes, I can count, but I only went with one less. I figured if I’m going to be a day late, might as well be a writer short. That’s how I roll.
With even less further adieu than before:
First, Jason V. Brock, an opinionated, conflict-loving writer and editor and film maker and...all that stuff. His most recent work has just been released from Bad Moon Books, but I'm sure he'll tell you about that.
Brett Williams is a very promising and prolific young writer, and a hell of a nice guy. FROM MURKY DEPTHS is his latest release, but at the pace he writes, there might be six more available by the time I post this.
A guy whose been banging around the small press for years, John Paul Allen, is a veteran writer with a ton of "street cred." Good effin writer.
The wild card here is Cindy Leimgruber. She's new. She's young. She models, she acts, she sings, she writes paranormal romance. She'll also be interesting to follow.
And, with that, ladies and gentelmen, our show concludes. Thank you for your patronage and drive safely. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!
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