It’s funny, I never set out to write an epic fantasy series. I never really wanted too. I mean, come on, can you imagine how hard that would be? First, there’s the planning of the world that you want to create, then there are the characters that need to literally come alive off the page and drag you into their world. It all needs to be rich, and lush, and you need to care about the characters and what happens. Of course, something bad needs to happen somewhere in the story or you just don’t have a story and then, what’s the point?
Goth kids complain about how life is nothing but pain and conform to their nonconformist ways by wearing black, but the devil is in the details, really.
Like I said, I never set out to write an epic. Just the name is enough to send chills through any rational person and send even more running. Terry Prachett, Terry Goodkind, George R. R. Martin, J. R. R. Tolkein, all of them and more wrote fantasy epics, one of which I am currently reading.
So, how did it happen to me?
Ipswich Road, once I got into it, was easy. All I had to do is sit there and figure out what happened, how to set up what was going to happen later on in the series. In a nutshell; Melanie Jacobs gets a call from a guy she used to date telling her that a woman named Dama has died. Melanie has to go to Boston and tell her ex that his mom has just died, setting off a whole chain reaction of not very nice things that eventually end up in her death and an all out manhunt for her son. What was supposed to be one book has sudden become two and I’m betting two is going to be three. Is it going to carry much further than that? Maybe, if I can keep the story line fresh and interesting.
I also had a soundtrack to help me out. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy literally helped me write Old Ipswich Road and if it gets published, I will sit down and write them a thank you letter for that very reason. Their music breathed life into Old Ipswich Road by making the Big Easy come to life for me. Based in California, but they brought back the big swing bands of the 1950’s and synthesized jazz and swing music together in perfect harmony. For me, New Orleans is in their music and so is Old Ipswich Road.
But while Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is in Old Ipswich Road, I’m having a helluva time finding who can breathe life into its sequel Red Riding Hood.
That’s right. Red Riding Hood. It started out as a short story where everyone died at the end and turned into Old Ipswich Road, which turned itself into a retelling of the fairy tale. I’ll be damned if someone is going to take that title away just because someone else turned it into a werewolf version of Twilight. Maybe it’s because I am still trying to figure out how this story is going to be told and how I’m going to get from point A to point B, but I am of the firm opinion that music is an essential part to writing. Lyrics or no lyrics, music strikes a chord within us all. I’ve used it as therapy, had a playlist for running, identified with a particular song at a particular phase in my life, and certain songs will bring back memories, some better than others. Like the sense of smell, music is deeply ingrained into our psyche, helping us to recall things we’d thought we’d forgotten, hazy memory or not. It’s the spark of recognition that matters. Old Ipswich Road eventually ended up settling itself into where someone can read it and listen to the songs used as chapter names and get the idea of where I was coming from when I wrote the particular chapter. Are the names going to make it into the final cut? Maybe, maybe not, it really depends on the red tape as far as song names go.
Like any artist, musicians and their respective recording companies are notoriously protective of their work. But, if I’m right, you can’t necessarily copyright song names just like you can’t copyright book or movie titles. Just doesn’t work that way.
Old Ipswich Road was all swing, zydeco, and jazz all the way. The question is, what’s Red Riding Hood’s soundtrack going to be?