It's always interesting to catch a glimpse inside the process of one of your favorite authors. My friend and writer Beau Johnson has a new book coming out. ALL OF THEM TO BURN takes us back into the dark and violent world of Bishop Rider. He takes this opportunity to let us in on what goes through that noggin of his. Buckle up.
YOU’RE NOT OUT OF ORDER. I’M OUT OF ORDER! WELL, SEQUENCE, ANYWAY.
So, we meet again. You look good. I mean, I’m not a stylist or anything, but I really like what you’ve done with your hair. Anyway, when last I wrote, Bishop Rider was just about ready to “eat”, my second collection mere weeks from release. And eat he did. So much so that I somehow ended up taking parts from the man in an attempt to slow him down. Which leads me to the question: how much can a character endure?
If you’re Bishop Rider, the answer seems to be quite a lot.
I’d already taken his sister and mother from him in A BETTER KIND OF HATE, you see, and this is what I call his “birth.” Then, within the pages of THE BIG MACHINE EATS, Bishop is not only betrayed by one of his own---leading to him losing what I’ve come to call his kicking foot---but begin hinting that his partner in crime, Detective John Batista, will one day soon begin to lose parts of his face.
Lots to keep track of indeed.
And to be honest, I never set out to write Bishop’s story this way. Out of sequence, as it were. It just sort of happened. Each adventure having the power to spawn a prequel or sequel in equal measure, and in the rarest of moments, a throwaway line from years ago creating a whole new character. This character being Jeramiah Abrum, the son of the man who killed Rider's sister and mother in the first place.
This revelation here, as you might infer, has kept me on my toes as well.
Which leads me to what I really wanted to discuss. How one writes. Or goes about writing. There are three ways I know of. Plotter, or outliner if you prefer. Pantser, which is what I have always been, a writer who writes by the seat of his or her pants and going where the story takes them. The third is a combination of the two, which, if I’m honest again, is what I’ve morphed into the longer I’ve been writing Bishop's tale. i.e., his story becoming far too large for me to contain in my head as I had been.
There is hope, however, and it’s something I also wished to discuss---how part of any journey, fiction or otherwise, will always include the end. This didn’t happen by choice either. Well, it sort of did, as it was me who wrote it, but it felt right the more I pondered it. The only question that nagged at me was whether I’d allow Bishop to go out in a blaze of glory in ALL OF THEM TO BURN or if I’d let him continue to do what he has since he saw that video of his sister.
This, of course, is where you come in.
Pull up a chair, click that link---let me show you how it ends.