So, first of all, you’ve got a new story out. What’s it about? The blurb–which seems pretty unconventional–obviously implies there’s some kind of story being told, about an investigation, maybe.
Let me put it this way: Imagine you’ve got something you really want to know–or someone you’re looking to find…You’re about to hire a private investigator you’ve never heard of before. And before you seal the deal, you obviously want to know a little bit about the person you’re giving your money to. How’d he get into the business? Why is he doing what he does? And most importantly, can you trust him to relentlessly hunt for the truth until he finds it?
In other words, you want to know why Manny Kant should get the gig. Well he’s got an answer for you. That’s The Will to Truth.
That sounds pretty hard-boiled.
I intentionally wrote it to be hard-boiled. If you know my writing at all, you know I like to blur the lines between genres. For The Will to Truth, I constricted myself a little bit because I wanted to do something new and fun. But no matter what I’m writing, if it’s got my name on it, then it’s going to be recognizably mine. I hope you’ll trust that, if I’ve delivered for you in the past, I’m going to continue to deliver, even if it’s something you might not have expected.
So you’re obviously continuing to release short stories, why not concentrate your creative energies into just novels?
I think short stories fill an important niche, maybe one that’s becoming increasingly important. There’s so much available for us to read, probably more now than there ever has been, and the longer a work is, the more time it takes to read. But maybe you don’t want to make a huge time commitment to try an untested author; or you want something you can complete on a bus ride; or maybe you just want to explore a bunch of different stories with different characters in a more disjointed way than you’d be able to with (most) novels.
Those are all reader-centric reasons; from my end, it gives me the opportunity to work on new characters and styles and to really flex my muscles in a different way. It’s kind of like the difference between sprinting and running a marathon or doing strength training versus toning. Plus, I’d have the writings hanging around anyway; might as well do something with them.
This was a busy week for you–not only did you post some fairly lengthy thoughts on the book of Job, but you’ve also announced The Will to Truth. What about The Lives and Death of Alexander McDougal?
As I mentioned (more than) a few months ago, McDougal’s done–look for an announcement about that within days of the new year. It won’t be out until the end of next year, but beginning with the new year, there’s going to be a lot more info about it leading up to the release.
I made a few announcements in July, about McDougal, the Job essay, and I also said I was going to have a new short story up before the end of the year. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really is a lot to produce, taking into account not just the writing and the editing involved in producing the book and story, but also reading and thinking about some really dense material and then making that material and those thoughts into something coherent for somebody else to read.
Sometimes there’s radio silence (and a lot of it), but there’s always something on the horizon. Stay tuned–the silence, and that static on the radio, is over. Happy holidays.