Cover Design by Colin Wright
In 2011 I wrote four short stories that had absolutely nothing to do with one another.
- An alcoholic man who turns into a woman after a certain combination of drinks
- A 15-year-old girl’s creepy crush on a senior girl
- A boy who imagines the circumstances behind his own conception
- A group of old people plotting to break out of their retirement home
Even after a few revisions these stories felt incomplete (I’ve never really gotten the hang of the short story), but I liked them enough to keep tinkering away. A few months later I ended up taking a character from #2 and making her the protagonist of #3. I took the guy from #1 and located him in the retirement home from #4. Before long I was imagining all these stories taking place in the same town, at roughly the same time. Meanwhile, a larger plot line was slowly taking shape in my mind, and these four stories turned into chapters that would become the building blocks of a new book.
Three years later, Shapes the Sunlight Takes is finished and due to launch through Asymmetrical Press on January 20th, 2015. Much of the book’s first draft was written while traveling throughout Europe in the fall of 2012, and I wrote the last sentence in the summer of 2013 while living in the Flathead. Since then it’s been a lot of rewriting, editing, and tearing my hair out. The book draws a great deal from my own high school experience. In many ways it’s probably my most personal work of fiction so far, which might explain why I’m so damn nervous for anyone to read it.
“Nine million different shapes for the sunlight to take. Nine million different ways that light slows itself down to experience time.”
From the publisher’s website:
“Lexie, a fifteen-year-old outcast, believes she can see the future.
When her best friend’s dropout brother Derwin rides back into town, Lexie has a vision that he and her senior crush, Mirielle, are destined to have a child who will grow up to save the world. Even though Mirielle and Derwin hate each other, Lexie believes it’s her job to bring them together if only for one night.
As she navigates between fantasy and reality, Lexie struggles to make sense of her visions, seeking answers from the old folks at a high-tech retirement home, a clique of self-proclaimed eco-terrorists, and a story her ex-girlfriend once told her about a grotesque tongue that seduces souls at the world’s end.
Lexie’s conflict between her desire for Mirielle and the belief that she must give her up drives her at last to a furious and bizarre climax: a dramatic nursing home jailbreak, the retoxication of a transvestite alcoholic, a confrontation with a bear, and a final showdown between Lexie’s imagination and the destiny of the universe.
Shapes the Sunlight Takes is about the relationships we make with our past and future selves, and the way our passions and delusions shape who we are and how we engage with the people around us. A story of anxiety, paranoia, coming of age, and finding perspective in a culture of self-deception.”
Release date, excerpts, and other info to be announced soon.
And yeah, I’m pretty flippin’ excited.