WOLF LAND, the Novel Coming in November…

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.
The Fury Is Coming
The Fury Is Coming
  • 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.
One Influence.
One Influence.
  • 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?

Another Influence
Another Influence

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.

Night, all.

5 thoughts on “WOLF LAND, the Novel Coming in November…

  1. Why do I think you’re going to tell me that your hometown isn’t the true center of the universe? I can say that I’m looking forward to reading this story.

    Back to your hometown…I think some people realize the problems that are there, but they usually don’t speak up. My high school self wouldn’t have spoken up out of fear. Post-college, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself had I not.

    I can’t imagine the 18-year-old JJ having a ton of demons to exorcise. The JJ I remember was by far one of the kindest people with whom I graduated…but I understand trajectories, and I understand the dysfunction of which you write. Curious to see how the story shakes out.


    1. Thank you distracted (love that screen name, by the way). Yep, you’re right that I didn’t do anything egregious back then, but I still hate some of my attitudes, some of my values. The way I quietly sanctioned behaviors rather than speaking up against them. I think you said it best above with the fear of speaking up pre-college and the inability to not speak up later on. That’s a positive trajectory. 🙂


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