No really. For the last two years I’ve been working on a novel about Stuff, and now I’ve summoned the sheer gall to publish it (on pre-order – so one last chance to draw back from the brink). The novel is called Shame (and maybe I should be).
It has some excellent qualities. The subject is powerful – in fact, it’s power. I’ve always been fascinated by the apparent need some people feel to control and manipulate other people, whether it’s through outright violence, implicit threat (the whole ‘careful with those eggshells or I’ll lose my shit’ thing), negging, or whatever. I’m no saint but I have no desire whatsoever to make other people do stuff, so the urge fascinates me.
The characters are interesting. Full of guilt and hurt and history and innocence and sheer evil for the fun of it. I guess if I had a favourite, it’d be Alix, the spiky-haired, tattooed loner who enjoys violence, hates cops, and has a nasty secret even her big sister doesn’t have a clue about. But I like Fitzwarren, too, the smooth-tongued villain who loves nothing better than watching hapless mortals get their knickers in a twist. It’s like going to the theatre!
The plot…began as a mystery. A dead novelist. Was it an accident or was it murder? If it was murder, who did it and why? Halfway through I realised that it didn’t really matter to me who did it. What interested me were the contortions everybody was going through on the way to finding out. In hindsight I probably would have written it differently.
Some of the writing is beautiful (if I say so myself). Dark, bitter, true. Some of the writing is blech….when I had to tie all the ends together and I didn’t really feel like it. There are way too many flashbacks. In fact, you could say that half this novel takes place outside the story. But then, it’s all about the past. What is it they say about your mum and dad? They fuck you up. Well they sure do, in Shame.
So given the above, why’d I decide to publish it? Don’t I have any respect for my audience?
The answer, unfortunately, is a mystery, even to me. Probably it’s the same reason I finish all the stuff on my plate, even if I don’t like it. Someone (me) went to a lot of trouble for that, so you should damn well eat it! And also because I have none. Shame, that is.
Have you ever written a novel you’re not sure you like? Or worse, published it?
For the curious, Shame is on pre-order here. When it’s actually published, I’ll probably put the price up to $20, to discourage the reckless reader.