I’m very, very, very happy to announce that St. Martin’s Press has acquired the rights to my debut novel, FALLEN LAND, for publication in 2016. It’s been a long road, and a hard one, and I can still hardly believe it.
The hardcover publication date is going to be in January of 2016. You can now pre-order the book on Amazon here. If you’d like a sneak peek, the title story of my collection, In the Season of Blood & Gold, is also the first chapter of the novel.
Here’s what was posted in Publisher’s Marketplace:
Montana Prize in Fiction winner Taylor Brown’s FALLEN LAND, pitched in the vein of early Cormac McCarthy and Tom Franklin, in which a pair of orphaned lovers–a desperate horse-thief and the pregnant daughter of a mountain doctor–flee a vicious band of Confederate marauders down out of the outlaw high country of the Blue Ridge Mountains and through the terrible wake of Sherman’s March to the Sea, searching for a home in a ravaged land, to George Witte of St. Martin’s, for publication in 2016, by Christopher Rhodes at James Fitzgerald Agency (World).
I’ll keep you guys posted on more news as it comes up.
Press 53 was well represented, as Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, edited by Clifford Garstang, was the finalist in the Fiction: Anthologies category.
Fallen Land is due out January 12, 2016. You can now pre-order it. Here are some of the blurbs:
“A shattering debut that puts one strongly in mind of the young Cormac McCarthy, and the best historical fiction I’ve read in ages.”
–Pinckney Benedict, author of Town Smokes, The Wrecking Yard, and Dogs of God
“In Taylor Brown’s riveting novel Fallen Land a young man and woman wander south through a post-apocalyptic landscape that portrays the horrifying ravages of the Civil War. It is rare thing for a writer to have the talent and scope to exhibit both the worst and best of humanity in one book, much less in one scene, but that’s what Brown does here: He literally floods the page with violent beauty and devastating grace. Well-known and oft-praised writers will look back on long and storied careers only to wish they had written a debut novel as flawless as Fallen Land.”
–Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy
“In Fallen Land Taylor Brown brings Civil War history alive with a special intimacy and intensity. A story of love and loyalty set within the madness and chaos of war, the novel is also a thrilling fugue, in both senses: of flight, and intricate composition. It is also the story of a revenge quest, the horrors of Sherman’s March, a noble horse named Reiver, of sacrifice, endurance, and redemption. No one who reads Fallen Land will ever forget it. In this first novel Taylor Brown proves himself a fresh, authentic, and eloquent new voice in American fiction.”
–Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek, Boone, and The Road from Gap Creek
What: Messages & Bottles Reading Event
Who: Authors Steph Post, Schuler Benson, Beth Gilstrap, Taylor Brown
When: Friday, May 29 7:30 PM
Where: Palate Bottle Shop and Reserve
1007 North 4th St, Wilmington, North Carolina 28401.
I’m thrilled to be reading with three of my favorite writers at Palate on Friday, May 29.
Steph lives in St. Augustine, Florida, and she’s one of the most gracious writers I know. Here’s the rundown on her book:
A whirlwind road trip across the desolate Florida panhandle, as James Hart tries to stay one step ahead of the vengeful Alligator Mafia and keep his brother alive.
I actually blurbed Steph’s novel:
“Steph Post delivers a 12-gauge shotgun blast of country noir from the gun-shaped state, a grit-rich tale of blood and citrus sure to have you recalling the rough beauty of Daniel Woodrell’s work.”
Schuler, an Arkansas native, lives down in Myrtle Beach, where he’s completing his Master’s at Coastal Carolina University. His book was perhaps my favorite story collection of 2014. Here’s the rundown:
Twelve stories, fraught with an unapologetic voice of firsthand experience, that pry the lock off of the addiction, fanaticism, violence, and fear of characters whose lives are mired in the darkness of isolation and the horror and the hilarity of the mundane. This is the Deep South: the dark territory of brine, pine, gravel, and red clay, where pavement still fears to tread.
Here’s what I wrote about it:
“I honestly can’t remember a voice this thrilling and fearless since Barry Hannah. These stories sing out at the edge of abandon, at the very edge of catching fire and burning you up. Schuler Benson is the real thing, and you should read this book before it internally combusts.
Beth lives in Charlotte, and she’s Editor-in-Chief of Atticus Review. Here’s the rundown on her book.
This is a collection populated by characters at the fringes of contemporary society — working-class characters with a raging taste for self-destruction. Many of the stories take place in Charlotte, North Carolina — a place people rarely end up on purpose. These characters aren’t bankers or old money, nor entirely belles or rednecks, but some kind of poetry in between, always stumbling, and trying to survive. These are stories of how folks press on and reinvent themselves in a time when textile manufacturing is dead, and most of their friends and family have long since moved on.
Here’s the public url for the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/
I’m honored to be the first guest of the year for Prologue, the monthly book club co-sponsored by StarNews Media and WHQR Public Radio. I’ll be speaking, reading, and fielding readers’ questions beginning at 7 p.m. next Monday with Ben Steelman in the WHQR studios, upstairs at 254 N. Front Street (Wilmington, North Carolina). Admission is free, books will be for sale, and there will be refreshments. Come ask me about In the Season of Blood and Gold, Fallen Land, and anything that will be embarrassing for me to answer on air! More coverage on the event from WHQR and The Star News.
A little taste from the pre-interview:
Much of his fiction is set in the old West, or during the Civil War, or in a post-apocalyptic future — a reaction, perhaps, from his regular day job managing an internet marketing firm. “Watering your horse in a stream is really different, aesthetically, from ordering a Big Mac at McDonald’s,” he said.
Old Books on Front Street is a Wilmington institution, located at 249 North Front Street in Wilmington, NC.
Recently Sheldon Lee Compton of Bent Country and Revolution John was kind enough to ask me for an interview, which you can read here. If you don’t know SLC, he’s the author of The Same Terrible Storm (Foxhead Books, 2012), nominated for the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Excellence in Appalachian Writing, and Where Alligators Sleep (Foxhead Books, 2014). His novel Brown Bottle comes out in 2015 from Artistically Declined Press. He is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a judge’s selection winner for the Still: JournalFiction Award, a finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction, and an associate editor at NightTrain. He’s also a stand-up guy and great interviewer.
My favorite question of the interview:
SLC: Who would you fight – Hunter S. Thompson or Charles Bukowski? Give me a breakdown of how that fight would go.
TB: Well, the wise men say to pick the fight you think you can win, and that would probably be Buk since I’m not bulletproof. But if a metal-detector was involved, I might pick HST just for the hell of it. I think I could better live with myself after being worked over by a high-powered mutant than beating up on old Buk. I’d have to get my sometime office-mate, Peter Maguire, author of Thai Stick and black belt in both jeet kune do and jiu-jitsu, to train me up. HST would definitely have the reach advantage, so I’d have to get inside his hands and bulldog him. If I could do that he might have to watch out. My hope is that whoever won, we’d come out of it sufficiently bloodied and evenly-matched to be friends, and then we could get gloriously drunk and he could squint at me through his purpled eye and tell me about the savage heart of the American Dream and it would be probably the best day of my life.
I don’t usually review the books I read, but when I do it’s a book as good as Eric Shonkwiler’s Above All Men. There is a lot of comparing done these days of writers to Cormac McCarthy, and I find most such comparisons unmerited, to be honest.
Not in this case.
Rarely does a writer achieve heights that seem almost superhuman, that stun me because they’re just so damn good. Eric Shonkwiler does that, and does it with vicious restraint. I will not give you a synopsis; I will give you a passage:
Another bolt of lightning wired down and brightened, disappeared and flickered back. The sky and ground darkened and in the cloud were seams and wrinkles of cobalt that glowed as if the whole thunderhead were alight. The air shook. David took Samuel by the collar and guided him indoors. From inside they could only see the green air bright as neon. The wind bent the trees and the house creaked. Samuel went to look out the window in their bedroom and David followed, Helene behind him, and they watched a black cloud the shape of a slug twist down from the sky and a plume of dust rise to meet it.
I mean, Jesus Christ people. Now combine that with dialogue like this:
He breathed in and stabbed the fork into the meatloaf, let it stand.
Why don’t you stick around for the day?
They said this guy moves around a lot.
Danver’s face pinched. You’re giving me gray hairs.
You’re givin’ someone gray hairs.
Probably myself. I haven’t looked in the mirror lately.
Maybe you should.
The family dynamics are handled exceptionally well, as is the inner strife of the main character, and the images of a dust-ridden Midwest are not to be missed. Above All Men has my highest recommendation. I can’t wait to see what Shonkwiler does next.
Steph Post, author of The Hunter, the Hunted and the Thief (2012) and A Tree Born Crooked (2014, Pandamoon Publishing), was kind enough to interview me about In the Season of Blood and Gold. Steph is one of my favorite bloggers, and she asked some really great questions. We discuss Daniel Woodrell and the “country noir” genre, violence in my work, and how I went about ordering the stories for the collection–among other things. Give it a read if you get a chance, and be sure to keep an eye out for Steph’s new novel, A Tree Born Crooked, coming out this October.