I thought I’d take a moment of this glorious day — it’s windy and cloudy, but not snowing, (which around these parts constitutes a minor miracle), and I’ve just discovered some new promotion of my novel via the Amazon/Omnivoracious blog, which is always a good thing (thanx, J. Vandermeer) — to write on the topic of my next novel. That’s right, instead of actually writing it, I’m going to write about it. I am aware of the irony, you needn’t point it out.
As I sit in the Northern Flavours coffee shop, The Police on my iPod drowning out the country music playing throughout the shop, I am currently on a quest to fulfill one of my hero Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s basic tenets of writing:
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
In that spirit, my protagonist is going through hell at the moment. A manufactured hell, a physical hell, a literal hell, not the nebulous religious hell parents frighten children with and leaders use as a weapon to keep down the masses.
And there’s more of this to come. As the novel progresses, he will have his soul stripped bare, and possibly, quite possibly, he will lose. I haven’t quite decided yet, but as the god of this little world, I am going to taunt my Job mercilessly.
In other words, I’m going to take a lot of personal frustrations out on the little guy.
Perhaps some of you have noticed the constantly changing tally of my output at the right-hand top of this page. Some others will notice (and have already commented) on the title, an ever-shifting designation which promises a sequel to Shelf Monkey. Sadly, this is not the case. I’m just being snarky, which is my right. The book may be a spiritual sequel, and it is a sequel in the sense of being my follow-up novel, but it is definitely not a sequel in the Rocky II, III, IV, V, Balboa sense. I just have nowhere else to go with it, and while the next novel certainly exists in the same universe, the monkeys will have no part in it. Aubrey will not suddenly pop up as a mystic offering advice, Danae is nowhere to be seen, Warren has likely died by now, and Thomas is still in prison. A part of me wants to reference it somewhere, like in a news item playing in the background, but it feels a little too self-congratulatory, too smug. I’m not Stephen King, I can’t shoehorn a Dark Tower reference in.
Or am I wrong? Doubtful, but it could happen. Write in, tell me what your think, and how I could seamlessly integrate Shelf Monkey into the new scenario.