My new novel The Outcast Gully Morgan has reached a bit of a milestone, both in wordcount and events within the narrative. I surpassed the 85k mark recently, of a projected 110k finished length, and have just entered the final era of the time-travelling aspect of the story, namely Victorian London. Each era I’ve visited has put the brakes on the writing process. A ten to fifteen-thousand-word toe-dip into history takes a ridiculous amount of research, especially if you don’t want your Wild West saloon to have batwing doors and yee-haws, or your prohibition speakeasies to be overrun by no-good derdy rats. It’s even more mire-wading when you choose to add factual characters into the mix.
Including Izzy Gomez’s infamous café as the setting for the San Francisco prohibition era section made it particularly slow-going for many weeks, as I couldn’t do it without Izzy Gomez himself. Novelist and playwright William Saroyan used to frequent Izzy’s place in North Beach, and in fact used it as inspiration for his Pulitzer-winning play The Time of Your Life. Saroyan didn’t write Izzy into his play, but I couldn’t resist. That’s a whole lot of research I had to collate, prune, filter through Saroyan’s eyes and then through Gully’s, but I think it was worth it. Giving the reader a Bugsy Malone knockoff (whilst still fun) would’ve left a nasty marshmallow taste in both our mouths. Same goes for the Western era: less spaghetti and more McCarthy.
And that’s not to say I’ve forgotten what this novel is about: fun. It goes quite deep sometimes – philosophically – and there’s a beautiful theme I want to thread through the story, but above all else I want the reader to have a good time reading it. There are gunfighters and gangsters, dinosaurs and cyborgs (and Amish?). Uh-hmm…yeah. It’s a post-apocalyptic, time-travelling sci-fi fantasy with colourful characters who may or may not be what you think they are, and I’ve tried to give it to you straight and real and fucking epic.
I’ll post the blurb soon, and may add some excerpts. Stay tooned, folks.