As I’ve said…BAD LAND is off to my agent, and I’m digging into a new WIP. It’s loosely based on two real life crimes that I’ve kind of merged and morphed together. Many of the things I write use a real incident as a touchstone – sometimes, the truth really is stranger than fiction.
To some extent, I see this book as the third in a series – the natural extension of the familial themes I explored in TAIGA, and later BAD LAND. None of the books share story lines or characters (although in the current WIP, I’m using the name of a character from TAIGA as at least a placeholder – it will probably change in revisions), but they mine some of the same material – small towns, troubled families, “letting go”, and which is worse – the presence of a bad parent, or the loss of a parent altogether?
In TAIGA, the main character is already grown (but still suffering from the suicide of his father during high school). In BAD LAND, there is a teen protagonist dealing with the loss of his mother, but he’s just one of many POV voices. In the current WIP, the entire book will be told from the voice of a teen character, recently reunited with a father who’s been in prison for 10 years. (A casual observer might think I have a really miserable relationship with my own parents, but that’s far from the truth). These family situations are not the crux of these books, but they do inform many of the decisions the main characters make. Like in real life, they’re the prisms through which they see the world.
I’ve promised my agent that after this next book is done, I’ll be done with small towns + lousy lives (well, at least one of two). For fun, I’m throwing up the opening and first chapter of my WIP. Remember – this is raw, unedited, first draft stuff…
….but I like where it’s going.