It’s about a guy, a kid, really, whose world literally starts to fall apart around him. It’s a pretty psychedelic story, actually. Imagine waking up in a Salvador Dali painting. What would you do? How would you stop it? This is more than just a quasi-magical realism story, though; as this kid’s world is literally trying to drown him, he’s got to try to talk someone close to him down from doing something serious, something you can’t undo. There are some pretty high stakes on the table here; our hero’s getting hit from all sides.
Looking at the cover, it seems that there’s a little bit of a stylistic change, a break from the vein of The Dichotomy and “The Dig.”
I think that everything I’ve published so far has been abstract in its own way and the covers reflect that. The Dichotomy is this intense, surreal, psychological horror story; it’s very atmospheric and draws heavily on the dread that surfaces when you’re focusing on what lies just out of view, on the unknown, on what might be lurking in the darkness. It’s very much like an old school horror movie, like a silent film. So I think the cover’s particularly appropriate there. “The Dig,” on the other hand, the color palette of that cover involved tones of brown which really suits this tale about two archaeologists uncovering something that’s been buried for years and years.
Here, we’ve got a very moody story, it’s about a guy whose dealing with some very dark things, some surreal, some all too real. So the dark blue, being something I associate with cold weather and rain and moody themes, it was really a no brainer. I think that it’s abstract just like the other covers, but maybe a little less so because there were some changes to the fonts. I think this story is a little less experimental than The Dichotomy and “The Dig,” so, accordingly, the cover is also a little less experimental too; it’s more conventional.
So you’re releasing a series of short stories in between novels. Why?
I think that it’s important to build up a back list so that there’s a wellspring of material for readers to draw on. I’m not that prolific, though; I can’t pump out a few novels a year, or even a novel a year. Part of the joy of being creative, to me, is being able to just let the creative drive flow as it will. So I have deadlines, for instance, my next novel is slated for release next year. There’s a deadline there, but it’s a flexible one and that gives me the freedom I need to write something I’m going to enjoy creating—and it gives me enough time to tighten it up, edit it, sit on it for a while, come back to it…It’s important to me to be able to go through this long cycle so I can put out the best product possible, something I’m proud to have floating out there in the public sphere.
So, I plan on releasing novels every few years. And during the writing process, sometimes I do writing exercises to keep sharp and either those naturally turn into stories, or they get incorporated into my next big project. And sometimes, they sit around gathering dust; why not make something out of them?
How many more short stories before your next novel?
After “Prayers for Rain,” there’s going to be at least one more which I’ll probably release toward the end of this year. It’s possible that there could be a second released before my next book, but I can’t make any guarantees.
How are things going with the novel?
My attention has been divided between a lot of different things lately, between compiling the short stories, planning out my release schedule, and all of the other things life throws at you…My goal right now is to have a draft of the work in progress done by the end of summer.
I can imagine your resources are spread a little thin between your philosophical essays, your short stories, the next novel…
That’s right. They all take a lot of effort; I don’t just hammer them out in one sitting or something. If it’s an essay I’m working on, I have my argument in mind, which I outline, draft over the course of a few days, then I let it sit for a bit, cite check, edit, and then proofread. Short stories and novels tend to have a little bit more of a free-flowing process—so there’s no formal outline for them and they take much longer to write, but they’re less formal, they’re not logical arguments really, so the editing and proof-reading process is less cumbersome.
I need to be really careful about all of my works so I don’t mess up and lose credibility, and I take that responsibility seriously.
Montag’s next story “Prayers for Rain” will be available in late March (2013).