Hey, friends. Blogging has been sparse lately, as has been Facebook, as has been Twitter, as have been all things not family, teaching, or writing. Because as much as I love interacting with everyone online, the three things I just listed matter far, far more to me. Particularly family.
So it occurred to me today that I haven’t said much about WOLF LAND yet, despite the fact that a great many folks have already preordered it (you can do that here or just about anywhere else), and several folks have already posted reviews (all of them five stars or four stars thus far). Given these facts, I thought I’d tell you a few things about it.
- I thought the book was going to be one thing, and it turned out entirely differently. I thought it would be a fun, bloody romp that largely took place in an amusement park. Well, it turned bloody alright, and I still think much of it is fun. And sure, the last quarter of it’s in an amusement park. But “romp” doesn’t really capture the book’s vibe. “Vicious” does, as does “shocking” or “tragic.” I simply had no idea how dark the novel would become, but I follow where the story leads me, and pitch-black is where this story wanted to go. I suspect you’ll agree.
- I didn’t realize this, but this book transformed into a means of exorcising some demons from my mind and memory. This’ll sound weird, but I killed my high school self in the book. I’ll talk more about that later, but yeah…I basically took a large part of what I was in high school and slaughtered it in spectacularly bloody fashion. That was after I projected what I would have become had my life taken a different path (one clue: on this other, thankfully imaginary trajectory, my life became something really bad).
- Speaking of exorcisms…I didn’t realize until I wrote this book how much about my home town and the dysfunction that I witnessed there bothered me. Mainly, what bothered me was how I convinced myself that it didn’t bother me. No one else seemed to mind, I figured, so why the hell should I? But on some level, I was deeply bothered by several facets of small town life, and I suppose this comes back to how bothered I was by what I was starting to become before I met my wife.
- And in WOLF LAND, I killed myself a second time when I killed a different character. Oh, don’t get me wrong—I have never and will never harbor a single suicidal thought. What I’m talking about is my tendency toward punishing myself emotionally for every mistake I make. I didn’t consciously write myself into my novel (through two different characters) any more than I murdered these versions of myself in a conscious, volitional, writer-taking-the-wheel-away-from-his-characters kind of way. If anything, WOLF LAND is proof of how I never get in my characters’ way. But without realizing it, I was working through all kinds of residual emotional angst. And killing my eighteen-year-old and twenty-five-year-old selves in the process.
How’s that for strange and maddeningly nebulous?
I gotta scoot now, friends. The editing of my first 2016 release is going splendidly. Like, so splendidly that I’m dying to start sending a version of this out to my pre-readers.