Before I get into this long diatribe about my own work because I love talking about myself I’ll just say if you read the book/are going to read it THANK YOU. I love you. Straight up. Make sure to share a link to it and/or review it! If you have any questions about it I would love to answer them on this blog or on Twitter @RyanBrady13 or in real life.
I’m going to be doing a giveaway after people have had a chance to read it – I have the actual pair of shoes (new, bought specifically for this purpose) that Grant’s shoes are based on. I’m going to randomly choose someone who asks me a cool question about the book/has a favorite quote and give the shoes away – and if the winner wants me to ruin the shoes by signing them I’ll be more than happy to.
My new book Odessa Red started as a free write I did in June 2011. The first chapter that exists now is about 80% of what it was the first day I wrote it. On that day I had one image in my head I wanted to convey on paper which was one guy in the middle of a street with a knife in his hand and police helicopters shining down on him. At the time I had no idea what this guy’s name was or why he just killed a bunch of people. All I knew is that he was a good guy.
This my first shot at Fiction and for very good reason. It’s so much easier to write my normal thoughts down and then mold them into an essay or a short anecdote. Writing fiction is creating an entire world which brings along intricacies such as time and physical placement and back story and emotional involvement etc. All things I never had to think about.
This book was more for me than it was for anyone else. You can tell by the end of the book I’m a better writer, which makes sense because it took me a year and a half to write 45,000 words and make them somewhat decent. (For reference a good day for a normal novelist is 4000 words, not saying they always do so, but that’s what a good day constitutes)
Writing Fiction is an extremely lonely process. My Editor Abigail is one of my best friends which made it easier so I had someone to talk about this world that was constantly being expanded inside my head. We tried to talk about it alone though because when you talk about a book that’s not a real thing at a bar in front of your other friends and you’re not a world renowned author it just gets annoying for everyone else. If you’re not living it every day it’s tough to get excited about it.
It’s for that very reason that the book is how it is and I am feeling the way I feel now. Odessa Red does not have a proper ending. It is a cliffhanger that will most likely frustrate a few readers, but that’s how it has to be. I’m very clear at the end of the book – if people like it enough I’ll keep writing it but for now I will just enjoy this moment.
This moment is a big one for me. It’s the first time other people will be able to be fully inside my head for a short period of time. I wrote an essay book in the middle of last year that was a little bit like that but not quite. The amount of time and effort I put into my last book as opposed to this one is astonishing. That’s why I HOPE everyone likes it but I don’t NEED them to like it. I got it to a place that I was very proud of and that’s what mattered to me the most. That’s also why it has a cliffhanger ending – I knew if I kept writing it the quality control would go downhill because basically…I got bored. Doing the same thing for a year and a half is tough for me and without Abigail pushing it would have never happened.
Which reminds me: Thank yous are in order. Alex Meeske had a big part in editing the first quarter of the book, and Adam Carner did a great job on the front cover with very little guidance from me. Much thanks to both of them.
I can’t say enough about Abigail so I won’t. It’s very simple: without her I would have never finished this book which has turned out to be the most proud of anything I’ve ever done. Somewhere near the middle of the process I told her, “As my editor I want these characters to be as much yours are they are mine” which absolutely happened. She rewrote a good portion of the scene that I think is the emotional center of the entire book (When Grant confronts Syd about the concept of hope on top of the police station) – I can do a lot of things well, but deep emotional turns are not one of them and she helped quite a bit to make it real.
This moment is amazing but scary. When you release a book it’s not yours anymore. It becomes the intellectual property of anyone who reads it and grows with them. My current estimate for people who will read this book (seriously) is about 30 – which is fine by me. As long as it’s more than two I’ll be just fine.