(San Francisco Bay out to the ocean, from the Golden Gate, 2004)
A couple days ago, I turned in final edits on my first novel. Okay, not my first novel, but the first novel I've written that will be published by someone other than myself. I'm sure there's a little cleanup work to do still, but predominantly finished. I'm not going to pretend that this isn't anything other than a big deal to me.
It also makes for a relatively terrifying prospect, as this will likely be read by other people. I'm realistic about the reach of the self-published author who didn't build an army or jump from traditional publishing. It's, for the most part, completely and laughably miniscule. That long tail? Yeah, not a lot of readers out there, no matter what the cheerleaders would have you think.
So yeah, terrifying. It should be good terrifying, but really, just terrifying. Don't know if you've noticed but the world out there has a funny way of interacting with the art it consumes. And consumption is the accurate term here. Well, consumption as a basis to forge identity, which is an even more depressing prospect, yet one that are bathed in on a regular basis. It's a process I'm utterly uncomfortable with and will dissect at every opportunity. So if I don't react in the way you expect when you tweet a nasty review and tag me into it, I'm not likely to fight, but instead just mute everyone involved.
See, now that I've written THE QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS, it's no longer mine. It'll get read by twenty people and in turn, each of them is going to turn it into twenty books. Some of the books it'll get turned into will absolutely not be what I meant to write, but hey, authors are superfluous if not a hindrance, right? Yeah, I got my English degree in the middle eighties to early nineties, why do you ask? Intent is worthless. It's whatever the reader pulls out of the work that truly, deeply matters.
And given my typical reluctance to play the game of author-as-product (of the reader's imagination and consumptive desire) I expect this to go well.
Still, I had a lot of fun writing the book, even if it primarily happened over an incredibly stressful time in my actual life. See, this is one of the reasons why I often can't take horror seriously as HORROR and a reflection of a fallen world, etc etc. Cosmic horror is far less scary than the mundane and everyday. It thrilling, sure, to be considered the subject of a baleful cosmic gaze that promises…indifference. Or something. That way, you're the center of attention, right? And this "you" is really the audience insertion "you" but you folks all get that, right?
I wrote THE QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS as a (sorta) dark fantasy in an interesting setting with compelling and conflicted characters against not only themselves but an unnamable Other. Hope this doesn't disappoint. I'm not here to reveal the (hahahaha) truth of an absurd life in which unbelievable cruelties are visited upon humanity by humanity on a regular basis. I'm here to offer a fantastic diversion from that.
But my job is done (aside from the marketing.) Time for the readers to co-create.