We’re six months from the paperback release of The Far Empty…And I’m more than excited! Not just to have the book out there again (with a brand new cover), and the chance to expose the story of Chris and Caleb and America to a wider audience, but also because The Far Empty sets the stage for the next book, High White Sun, in March. Although each novel was written to stand alone, there’s a definite story arc at work – one that carries on into Book 3, This Side of Night.
One of the questions I’m occasionally asked is why I structured TFE the way I did: specifically, why I named each chapter after one of the main POV (point of view) characters)?
The answer is a little known fact, but surprisingly simple:
I’m a huge fan of a George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)!
Back in college I used to imagine one day writing epic fantasy or sci-fi (and I still have lots of horrendous, loose-leaf pages to show for it). Although my work to date hasn’t really taken me in that direction – despite the fact that the length of a few of these Big Bend books might suggest otherwise – I still love Martin’s novels, and wait eagerly for the next book in the series. Not to mention Tad Williams’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, which has just seen a new release – The Witchwood Crown – as well as Julian May’s The Saga of Pliocene Exile, and a host of others, far too many to name.
So, when it came time to write The Far Empty, I “borrowed” the chapter convention from Martin, plus his willingness to “off” important characters at a moment’s notice (another side note, TFE’s structure was set up to facilitate just this sort of “surprise” death). The other Big Bend books don’t use the “name” convention, but they do tend to lock POV – one chapter, one character, one voice.
Despite its flaws and rough edges, I’ll always be tremendously proud of The Far Empty. I threw everything I had into it – it’s a love letter to authors across all genres I’ve enjoyed my whole life. Their influences – their DNA – fills its pages. Not just Martin, but William Gibson, Cormac McCarthy, James Lee Burke, Stephen King, Robert McCammon, and James Carlos, to name a few. Any list won’t do justice to all those who influenced me early on, and continue to do so now, but if you read enough of my books, you’ll find them all there – their echos and shadows are everywhere.
The Far Empty hits shelves – again – on February 27, 2018. Even if you bought it already, I urge you to grab it again (trust me, it’s cheaper!) Or buy it for a friend. Each re-release of a book is really a new lease on life, a new chance to be discovered, and I’d love to for TFE to have a very long and happy existence!