Had such a great time at the Chuck Palahniuk reading last night in Naperville. Got to hang out with Chuck and Irvine Welsh, two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, so very generous and supportive. The lit up balls really show you what a crazy night it was, Chuck giving away so many cool prizes to his fans. Admission got me the signed book and comic, but I was lucky enough to finally catch the severed arm. I edited Burnt Tongues with Chuck (and Dennis Widmyer) which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award, and Irvine Welsh was kind enough to blurb my novel, Disintegration, calling it, “A stunning and vital piece of work.” I’m working on Irvine and I sharing a stage in the near future, since he’s in Chicago now. So much fun. Grateful to both of these guys. Also got to hang out with Jason M. Fylan who has an excellent story in Burnt Tongues, and Kirk Clawes, who helps run ChuckPalahniuk.net and LitReactor.com.
I can’t even believe Disintegration is finally here, six years in the making. I started this in my MFA program back in 2009, writing the first half with my professor Lynn Pruett, who knew nothing about neo-noir. After I gave her copies of work by Will Christopher Baer and Craig Clevenger, she got what I was going for, and was extremely supportive. When I got to Dale Ray Phillips, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he said it might not be thesis material, which means—not good enough. I put it aside to work on literary short stories with him, and it was worth the wait. A year and a half later, I had a week between gigs and wrote the second half, 40,000-words in five days, my fingers bruised, my arms aching, practically in tears when I stopped, feeling like I might throw up. That began the year search for a small press, where it was rejected 20, 30, 40 times. Running out of options, I decided to try and get an agent, and over 100 rejections later, Paula Munier at Talctott Notch called me, only 100 pages in, to say she loved it and wanted to sign me. I said finish the book, it’s kind of dark. She did, and she signed me, and we went after the big six and their imprints. So many close calls, coming down to board votes in some cases, and then we got the offer from Random House Alibi. I knew we were taking a chance on this eBook only imprint, but it has been a fantastic experience, my editor there, Dana Isaacson, so supportive, helping to make this book so much better. A team of three copy editors, and four marketing/PR associates, gave me more support than I’ve ever gotten. Now, the day is here.
I hope you enjoy the book, this neo-noir, transgressive thriller that is the first book in the Windy City Dark Mystery Series. It’s kind of Dexter meets Falling Down. The second book, The Breaker, is also set in Chicago, with a different protagonist (out in late 2015, or early 2016). It’s more like what Stephen King did with small town Maine novels than the F. Paul Wilson series, and his Repairman Jack.
Here are some early reviews:
Here are some excerpts:
Check out this amazing illustration by Glenn Chadbourne that will accompany my story, “The Offering on the Hill” which will be appearing in Chiral Mad 3, edited by Michael Bailey, at Written Backwards. Who else is in this anthology so far? Some pretty amazing authors—Stephen King, Gene O’Neill, Ramsey Campbell, Jessica May Lin, Paul Michael Anderson, Jason V. Brock, and Mercedes M. Yardley. More news to come.