MAPS AND LEGENDS - 01
Okay, well that took longer than I thought, but we're finally getting into analyzing that influence map I put up a couple weeks ago, over here. Note that it says "one of six" and that's a filthy lie. I'm spreading it out over eight weeks or so.
Which, coincidentally, is about how far out we are from the release of QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS. Remember you can still pre-order direct from the publisher right here. You'll also be able to get it from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but if you order it from there, you need to promise to leave an honest review. They help a lot. Probably too much, but this is the algorithmically-derived world in which we live now.
On to the influence map. I'll be taking it one vertical row at a time, starting from the left. I'll reproduce it here.
You might know Bill Wray as a comics artist, or perhaps as one of the artists who worked on both REN AND STIMPY and SAMURAI JACK. He's also a fine artist (no matter what you think of the distinction between "fine art" and anything else), specializing in landscapes around Southern California. His paintings make the ordinary extraordinary, even such mundane subjects as urban parking lots or refineries. That's one of the things that I've always aimed for in my writing, but pushed particularly hard in QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS, making the familiar into something like the fantastic. Sure, that's an old trick, as old as writing itself. But it seems to me that lots of writers try to ground in reality to the point where getting things to really fly becomes difficult.
GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
I first caught this film on Netflix a few years ago, not knowing exactly what to expect. And when I watched it, I instead found that someone had been taking pictures inside my brain. Okay, not exactly, but in terms of atmosphere and setting? Sure. Talk about making the mundane into the strange and weird. The streets and railroad pass-throughs of humble Bakersfield instead evoke cities half a world away. And sure, the cast has a lot to do with that, but the camera has even more to do with it. Huge spreading shadows of luminous blacks follow the titular girl as she moves through the night, not fearing it at all (and no surprise as to the reason for it.)
That's not any particular old book, just something I came across and probably snagged for the paper texture to use in a later project. Let's not overlook the existential pleasures of old books, though. The smell and texture, the weight when you set them down on the table before you. Granted, these are pleasures borne of privilege or at the very least age (as I'm old enough to have gone to college in a time where there were still paper index cards and the digital card catalog was still a treacherous novelty) but it's still easy enough to experience this simply getting to a library or used bookstore (or combination video game/record/bookstore, which is a thing I see more and more of all the time now. Being that Cait, the main character of QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS is a forger of books, she first has to appreciate them. Hopefully some of that sense got conveyed, though I probably underwrote that aspect of things. Which is in keeping, as I tend to underwrite just about everything.
Can't remember the name of the store, but it sits along Broadway in downtown Los Angeles (as do a number of the photos I took in this photoset.) I really dug the unearthly glow of the neon on dresses and glittering stones in the store window. Part of that whole making the familiar unfamiliar and trying to give it just a little bit of power from an unexpected source. It helps that Ariela, the Queen mentioned in the title of the book is very into dressing the role, though she wouldn't be caught dead in white. My photo, taken in 2015.
Befitting one of her station, the Queen has one sweet ride. In the case of the book, it's a blood-red Mercury, kept in original condition with only minor customization (that I really didn't dwell on in the pages of the book.) Still, LA is the kind of place where you can see these beauties cruising down the street in the middle of the week. Gotta present. It's also a car that once got Ariela and Alondra into a lot of trouble, but that's a story for another time.