Sunday, 10 March 2019

Announcing a Savage Generation

It always seems like the really big news you have to sit on forever and a day!  But okay, the cat's now out of the bag: The Bad Neighbour wasn't the only novel I sold to Flame Tree Press last year.  There was a second, and now it has a cover and it's up on their website, so I reckon I'm okay for me to announce it.

The book now known as A Savage Generation has been through rather a lot of titles and iterations since I wrote the first draft the better part of a decade ago.  For a long while it was just Funland, the first novel I wrote full time and the only one I've ever blogged regular progress reports on, what feels like half a lifetime ago.  Then it became War For Funland and sat on the metaphorical shelf for a long time, as the sale of Giant Thief and the need to write its sequels absorbed all my attention.  When I returned to it soon after I packed in the day job for good, it was with another new title, Degenerates, and a good deal more experience.  I wasn't wholly happy with what I found, but there was a ton of stuff that worked - so the only way forward was to tear what I had down to its foundations and build it up again.

Under any other circumstances, I'd feel wary about a novel that had gone through such tumultuous growing pains.  In this case, I genuinely think the result is something I couldn't possibly have written in any other way.  it's a sprawling, complex novel, stuffed with characters and ideas and plot threads, some of which belong to a much younger me, some of which came in later.  Perhaps it's not the most cohesive thing I've ever written, but it has an energy and sprawling ambition that I'm not convinced I could replicate if I just sat down and tried.  Possibly it's even two books by two different versions of me mashed together, but if so, I spent many a month neatening the seams until I was certain the results stayed glued!  In short, it's a crazy goddamn thing, but I'm proud of it, and I've glad it's found the home it has.

And here we are and I haven't said one word on what it's about, so here's the blurb:
Sickness is ravaging America, driving the infected to savagery.
Petty criminal Ben Silensky is determined to get his girlfriend Carlita and son Kyle free of the quarantined city they live in - determined enough to risk a foolhardy crime and then to team up with Carlita's equally desperate cop cousin Nando.  Once they're out, Nando is certain they'll find a safe haven in the prison, White Cliff, where his uncle works.  But unbeknownst to him, White Cliff has already become a survivalist colony named Funland under the management of entrepreneurial convict Plan John.
In Funland itself, guard Doyle Johnson is shocked when his ex-wife abandons his son Austin into his care.  Fearing the vulnerable position he's been placed in, he recruits the help of Katherine Aaronovich, the prison's doctor.  However, Aaronovich's traumatic past has left her with vulnerabilities of her own, along with a radical theory on the nature of the epidemic that will place all their lives in jeopardy.
As the last vestiges of civilisation crumble, Funland may prove to be the safest or the most dangerous of places, depending on who comes out on top - and what can't be held together will inevitably be torn apart.
Oh, and the fact that it ended up under yet another new title?  That's just because Flame Tree weren't thrilled with the previous one.  But hey, I'm happy with what we settled on, and it surely does look cool in bright blood red, smeared across that image, doesn't it?

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