This is Lovecraftian Southern Gothic. It's got blues and family, horror and magic. I love this book. It doesn't shy away from horrors of family any more than it shies from the gibbering, squamous, eldritch-horror-from-the-stars type.
I asked John if he'd like to pop on over and say a few things about the book.
Take it away, John.
Second guessing yourself as a writer or author ain’t a good feeling. I don’t know about you guys, but now that my book is out, I do think, occasionally, “Should I have included that?” It’s not an all-the-time worry. But the question crops up at certain points as I go along my merry way.
Times when my mom, or her friends, or the family priest, tell me they’re excited to read Southern Gods. A little voice in the back of my head goes, “Oh shit, they’re gonna think I’m a monster. A godless monster.” Then another little voice, this one more insistent, says, “Hell YES! Another sale. GET MONEY.”
But I do worry about how folks will think of me after reading it. Will they think me a psychotic gore-loving freak? A sex-fiend? A perv?
There’s a pretty graphic sex scene in Southern Gods. While I don’t keep the camera on it long enough to describe the inevitable gooey end, i.e. the money shot, I’ve been told by people I respect that the sex wasn’t needed. A British author of considerable note said, “If I had any complaint about your book it’s that the sex scene was unnecessary. Was it truly needed for the story?”
I say yes. Those characters needed to have a little fun before the things I put them through. And, of course, the story had been building – rising even – to that point. Their dialogue afterwards deepens the readers understanding of them as real people and also furthers the plot. The money shot, however, wasn’t needed, so I didn’t write that. It might have been titillating, but not gratuitous. Heh. Titillating.
My gay friend who read the book said, “John, the sex scene went on for like…uh…thirty pages!” I checked. It’s a little less than two pages.
Do I care if people think me skeevy? Hell yeah I do. I’m only your average everyday business-as-usual typical male skeevy, not some slavering, moist-palm overcoat-wearing-jumping-out-of-bushes skeevy.
Yeah, I worry about stuff. The violence? Again, I think about my mom’s polite and powdered ladies of the Little Rock Country Club – wonderful women all – and their expressions when they get to the point when Bull is doing some revenant clobbering, or some money collection. They’ll probably like the sex. I worry about what they’ll think of me when they get to the end.
Hmmm. The end.
Without giving anything away, I do some things to characters at the end of my book – characters I’d grown to love in the telling of my tale – that were cruel and horrific. But not gratuitous. Never that. Writing the end was hard. I had to consider writing it in a way that was less harsh, more happy. In the end, I had to make the choice to keep the initial ending I wrote because, simply, bad things happen to people. Things do not work out as you want and there’s value to that lesson. Hell, from what I understand from my crime writer friends, that’s what noir is all about. To put these characters through hell and then pull the punch at the end would be doing myself a disservice. And, by proxy, my readers.
But I still worry what people will think of me.
Shit, not much I can do about that now.
I hope you buy a copy and make your own decisions. But remember.
I AM NOT A MONSTER. At least not in real life.
|TOTALLY A Monster|