Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Backside of Nowhere

Jack Butler is a great poet and one of America’s best novelists. His book Living in Littlerock with Miss Littlerock was nominated for a Pulitzer prize. Sadly, his books are now out of print and he’s having a hard time finding a publisher for his latest book. Geeze, what’s with the publishing industry nowadays?

… But that’s a rant for another day.

I sent Jack the prologue of my latest novel, The Backside of Nowhere, and he raved about it. Jack said:

“First of all, the writing is delightful. I hardly know where to start. From the wittiness of the name of Lawrence's movie-star girlfriend, Jasmine Jones, to the freshness and vividness of the descriptions. I loved the inventory of all the different kinds of water. I chortled at the description of the mosquitoes. Was impressed with the observation that allowed you to talk about raindrops hitting so hard they bounced, the sheet metal blowing away in the wind, the terrifying bigotry and blind fundamentalism that pervades--if you read nothing but James Lee Burke, you would think the Gulf Coast was full of goodhearted people who deplored the violence and depravity of the few, but your description reads a lot truer to me. I lived there, and it was a terrible place culturally. I was sickened by the violence and ignorance and squalor.

“You also have, from the opening, a full gallery of distinctive characters, and your dialogue is dead on. Don't know where the book is going from here, but you have definitely piqued my interest, and I can't wait to read more.”

I hope this also piques the interest of readers of this blog. And now if only I could find an agent or a publisher (30 rejections so far).

It's a family saga set in a fictional town on an island near the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It tells the story of a popular movie actor who goes home to be with his dying father, whom he hasn't spoken to in twenty years. Back home in the swamplands he meets again with old enemies and old lovers and is forced to come to terms with past events he thought he had buried long ago. And oh by-the-way, there's a flood and a couple of little ol' hurricanes and two football games, both of which end with big fights between teams and the crowd and a crazy, trigger-happy sheriff.

I’ve posted a couple of sample chapters on the ClaytonWorks website for anyone who might want to read more.

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