So Frank Wheeler tagged me on this for yesterday and I plum forgot with my excitement over the snow. So here it is today. This isn’t technically my current work because I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t started anything new yet. Deal with it.
1. What is the working title of you current/next project? Murder Boy
2. Where did the idea come from? When I first got the idea for this book almost 8 years ago, I was in a graduate creative program and becoming more and more frustrated with the limitation of what I was able to create in that program. I was writing shallow, humorous, slice-of-life stories for my workshop and whacking away at a sad attempt at a PI novel in my spare time. Neither were any good. At this same time I discovered the online crime fiction community through Plots With Guns and Thuglit and the blogs and began to see a whole different direction crime fiction could take. I read great stories with violence and sex and other goodies from writers all over the country, including a few from prestigious creative writing programs. I knew I wanted to start writing stories like that and had what I thought was a cool idea but it would be several years before I would finally give in and write Murder Boy
3. What genre does your book fall under? Crime Fiction
4. Which actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? I don’t know. I love movies and I love casting other people’s books, but I don’t think much about what my characters look like beyond a few basics so I don’t have any specific measuring points to go with.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A disgruntled creative writing student enlists the help of a deranged bounty hunter to kidnap his thesis adviser and take him through the streets of Detroit to show him crime fiction is a legitimate artistic endeavor.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I’m working on that now, but it won’t be self-published. I’ve not been impressed with it as a viable model for debut novelist and I think that model has been saturated and we’ll see a modest swing back to popularity for traditional publishing over the next couple of years.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft? On and off about six years. I went back and forth between this book and the PI novel I mentioned for a long time and never really committed to either of them. Even when I finally committed and finished the first draft three years ago, I didn’t trust myself or the idea enough to put in the effort to get it right. Finally at the beginning of this year, after reading Lawrence Block’s great installment plan autobiography Afterwords, I got my ass in gear and pushed to the end.
8. Which other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I like to tell people it’s a seedier, more violent version of Wonder Boys. I also think it has a strong Catcher in the Rye vibe but with guns and strippers.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? As I mentioned before, this book grew out of my love of the online crime fiction community. Two specific books though that I read back-to-back really were what pushed me forward. Those were The Wheelman by Duane Swierczynski and The Pistol Poets by Victor Gischler. But again, I really consider this book my magnum opus so far because it’s been inspired by everything that’s ever happened to me and by every book I’ve read to this point in my life.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest? Here’s the opening sentence:
On the Saturday night before Christmas, after the creative writing department holiday party, I showed up for the second time at a warehouse store on the outskirts of Detroit drunk on cheap scotch and self-righteous bullshit looking to buy supplies for a kidnapping.
I’m not tagging anybody because I swear to God everybody I know has done this thing and I just beat it into the ground.