Today, I am delighted to welcome Jeff Bowles to Robbie’s Inspiration for Day 2 of his WordCrafter Press Book Blog Tour.
For this tour we’re giving away 3 signed print copies of Resurrection mixtape and a $25 Amazon gift card. To enter, just tell
us the top three songs on your mixtape in the comments. Come on now. We really want to know.
Winners will be chosen in a random drawing.
Experimentation and Killer Tunes: Writing Resurrection Mixtape
Resurrection Mixtape represents nothing more or less than a personal dare. Every author has their own special way of producing books. Sometimes it varies from project to project, but more or less, we all have our preferred methods.
But I was interested in breaking my own personal mold. For years, I’ve been writing short stories without an outline. I wondered if I could do the same with a novel, which until that point I hadn’t. I was a traditional pen-and-ink, notecard system, outline guy. Especially when I crafted the thesis novel for my MFA. That process had been rigid as rigid could be, and for the most part, I liked the results.
Yet I was always haunted by something Stephen King asserted in his autobiography/magnum opus writing manual, On Writing. King has always maintained, and many notable authors would agree, that the best way to tell any kind of gripping, surprising, seat-of-your-pants story is to formulate an interesting scenario, a jumping-off point, a what-if, and then to begin work without any sense of where you’re going or how you’ll get there.
Like this, King tells us, we could theoretically drive from New York to Los Angeles with nothing but our headlights. Who needs a map? We’ve got too much ground to cover to even consider using a map.
The what-if scenario in Resurrection Mixtape came from my wife, as many of “my” best story ideas have. She has a knack for killer concepts, and when I ask if I can use one, she always jokes, ”Yes, but I get all the credit.”
So here I am, giving her all the credit. Resurrection Mixtape would not exist without of her. The original seed was this: what if the songs of a mixtape could bring someone back to life, bit by bit, track by track? Moreover, what if the deceased person in question somehow made that tape, or had it made for them, with the understanding that it could also resurrect a long-dead love that never quite made the right connection.
Now to be fair, my wife and I hammered this concept into place together. We always do. We work excellently together and always have. What happened after our jumping off point was anyone’s guess. I couldn’t have known, for instance, about the existence of a dark conglomeration of spirits interested in earthly domination. I also couldn’t have known the book would turn into such a twisted love story, all structured around the mutual appreciation for a large selection of pop songs shared by our two main protagonists, Jason Halifax and Emily Greer.
It’s Emily who arrives unexpectedly at Jason’s doorstep, having died in a house fire a full year before, looking pristine, naked as the day she was born (because really, if you’re coming screaming back into the world molecule for molecule, who’s got time for clothes?).
And yes, it’s the music that gives the story life. From The Beatles to The Weeknd, Billy Joel to The Temptations, Taylor Swift, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, I didn’t discriminate based on era, popularity, or even the relative cultural coolness factor of any given selection. Most writers who create worlds in which music factors heavily are very interested in picking tunes that are cool. Not me. First I wanted to include stuff I like for one reason or another, and my range of music appreciation is pretty broad, and then secondly, I needed songs that fit the scenes.
It could be argued (in fact, it’s argued all the time) that it’s a bad idea to write a book about music at all, because most of your audience won’t have heard every last song. Balderdash. There are ways of describing music that make its intentions and vibes clear and experiential. And you never know, maybe putting a few unknown gems in a piece of fiction will engender the need for readers to explore some pretty awesome tunes. That’s one of my high hopes for the release of Resurrection Mixtape, music appreciation for whomever comes across it.
This experiment of a book resulted in one bloated manuscript that needed to be paired down by half. That’s what I discovered about the process. That because I didn’t use an outline, it was easier to begin but harder to finish. That process alone took the bulk of the project timeline. It was arduous and slow, but sure enough, once the dead weight had been carved away, I arrived at something very much like a quality piece of fiction. I hope you enjoy Resurrection Mixtape for what it is, a humble and bored writer’s attempt at stretching his wings. And my wife hopes you like it to. After all, she gets all the credit. Every last ounce of it. It’s all in the music, man. Press play at your own risk.
Emily has been dead a year, but that doesn’t stop her from crashing in on her former best friend’s life in a whirlwind of mayhem, dark magic, and music. She’s been resurrected by a supernatural mixtape full of excellent but probably evil pop tunes. Amazing powers of transformation flow through her, piece-by-piece endowing her with abilities beyond anyone’s understanding. Within and without, a dark presence dwells, ready to express itself in all sorts of colorful and destructive ways. It’s all in the music, man. Press “PLAY” at your own risk.
About Jeff Bowles
Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Love/Madness/Demon, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars.
Follow the tour here:
Resurrection Mixtape – December 5 – 9
Monday – December 5 – Interview – Writing to be Read
Tuesday – December 6 – Guest Post – Robbie’s Inspiration
Wednesday – December 7 – Review – Writing to be Read
Thursday – December 8 – Guest Post – Roberta Writes
Friday – December 9 – Guest Post & Review – Carla Loves to Read