**Update, 10/6/06--cover art posted above.
Later this year, Fires will come out from Impetus Press.
I like Impetus--my conversations with them, with Willy Blackmore and (by e-mail) Jennifer Banash, the publishers, made me happy about what they are going to do with the novel and relieved that I will be working with smart and dedicated people. The book will be a high-quality paperback. There are a few other excellent independent presses that also publish high-quality paperbacks--Soft Skull & Melville House, for example--and Impetus, I hope, will be on that level. I want a book that feels good to touch.
Fires begins with a regular college romance and ends with a whole mountain on fire. It has herds of deer running through a subdivision, a boy kept prisoner in a suburban basement for ten years, sex, a ghost neighborhood, a kabuki mask, and a gratuitous sushi-eating scene. Sushi is almost the only thing I like to eat; I'm about to eat it right now, after I type this.
This is in Fires.
Fires will be the first novel of mine that gets published, although it is not the first novel I wrote.
The first novel I wrote as an adult (that is, after age 18) was called The Rapists, which started with a scene where the main character's lung collapses. That happened to me.
My agent at the time only sent it to five publishers--then said, "Some of these scenes are way too violent, and people I send it to are getting upset." He showed me the notes that editors had returned to him and they were getting a little upset. But it would have been a mistake to take out the violence. Those characters would have done those things and it would've hurt.
Fortunately I was writing Fires at the time. Fires is not that violent. When it was finished I sent it to him and he said, "This is great, but it needs to be less violent."
I said, "It's not going to be any less violent."
He said, "Okay. Well, if you ever write another book, feel free to give me a call." He was honest & straightforward and I didn't have any ill will toward him.
Then I got another agent for Fires.
I have no idea what that guy did with it; maybe spill whiskey on it; I guess he sent it to places but I don't know almost any of them because his communcations with me were mostly just emails that appeared to have been written by a person not in his right mind.
(But I did kind of like that he said, "Make it more violent," even though I didn't take the advice.) I was stuck in a contract with him for a year.
Anyway. Buy Fires when it comes out. You, reading this. Actually, if you are reading this, you are probably a person, one of the very few people, to whom I will give a free copy. Very exciting. Have no doubt: it is a good book. Better than most books. You'll probably like it, unless you only read "chick lit" or something (in which case you wouldn't read Fires) or unless you know me personally and we don't get along (in which case you shouldn't read Fires).
Fall/winter 2006, depending on how fast I get the edits/revisions done and how fast Impetus puts it together. Too fast wouldn't be a good thing.