SHRIEK: AN AFTERWORD ENTERS THE PHYSICAL WORLD
It has been approximately 3,000 days since I started Shriek: An Afterword. I still have the original draft, which is 12 pages long. Originally, I meant for it to be a chapter in a projected series of Ambergris travel pamphlets (a really dumb idea). But then the characters got hold of me and I realized I had actually just written the rough outline for a long novel. Over the next eight plus years, I worked on it on and off, sometimes stopping because I couldn't solve a technical problem, sometimes stopping because, for example, I spent 10 weeks of my life in 2000 driving around Florida for my day job. Or, er, editing stuff (Leviathan, Album Zutique). All the time, ideas and images were accreting to the novel on little scraps of paper. If I'd kept all those scraps they would fill a large garbage bag by now. Sometimes I stopped because the personal stuff I needed to fictionalize for the novel had not yet been digested by my imagination. For a long time, as I have documented before on this blog, it was not clear to me that I would finish the novel. Still, I continued working on it because I knew the general ending of the book, and I've never failed to finish a story or novel when I knew the ending before I started writing. Sometimes I would re-read my 12-page original "outline" or look over my mess of timelines charting each character's life and wonder where all the words had come from. How had I even gotten this far.
So, now, with Peter Lavery at Pan Macmillan emailing me to tell me that the novel has arrived at their warehouses, that they have it in hand, and that I will soon see the Pan Mac edition, it’s even more surreal. Suddenly those 3,000 days have become compressed so tightly that there is only the original spark lingering in my mind and this end point and the hard work in between is so vague in memory that it’s like that time period never existed.
Anyway, it’s definitely cause for celebration—and just in time for the holidays!
BUY SHRIEK FROM FORBIDDEN PLANET
If you’re going to get hold of the UK edition, I suggest you get it from Forbidden Planet. Official release date January 26. Joe Gordon at FP has been very kind in his support for my work and FP is one of my favorite bookstores on this or any other planet. Right now they’ve not only got a listing for Shriek, but also a few words from moi on the novel (kind of a mini-interview).
Thus far advance notices have been excellent, sometimes ecstatic, and in January I’ll begin to share some of those as the Campaign for Shriek in 2006 kicks off. ;)
(Evil Monkey: "Dude. What's with the Straub quote on the cover. That was for Secret Life." Jeff: "I don't know. I think the actual book has it in context or something else on the cover, but I won't know until I see it." Evil Monkey: "If not, you'll have to get Straub to read the book and somehow get him to say the exact words in the prior quote, or he's gonna kick your ass." Jeff: "Yeah, or I could just apologize abjectly." Evil Monkey: "Dude, I think you're in for a major ass kicking. That Straub guy--he knows some kind of ancient kung-fu-judo-wrestling-boxing move that deflates your skull and rubberizes your legs in 2.5 seconds." Jeff: "Deflates your skull?!" Evil Monkey: "Yeah. I saw it in a documentary about him. Somewhere. Can't remember where. Apparently, skull deflating is three thousand years old as an art form." Jeff: Sigh.)