A: A couple of years back, one working title for my poetry collection actually was THE NEXT BIG THING. The title poem it was named after, however, was anything but. Plus, what tone is that supposed to be taken in? literal? ironic? satiric? paradoxical? I finally settled on THE BLUE DEMON. My agents and operators are standing by. Anyway, the talking point for this “interview” is a novel that I completed a first draft of one year ago. I now need to do the harder work of digging in deep, finding the soft spots, and connecting more dots. The novel is SIMON KRIMPLE’S WAGER.
Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?
A: Life events and things I’d been reading building up I guess. The ripening of time. Everything from theology books I read in Seminary, to psychology texts, to psychology of religion stuff like Eric Fromm and William James. As self-discovery, I find through writing that I return to the dualities between faith and skepticism, the myth-making and scientific mind, what “really” happened and how we piece it together.
Q: What genre does your book fall under?
A: It depends. There is a LOT of autobiographical material here. But anything that we arrange and unify and emphasize and set boundaries upon is fictionalized. I guess we could call it a novel to protect the guilty. Or we could call it nonfiction to protect the innocent. Or is it the other way around? What I would prefer is that it just be called “a book.” You can print that.
Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
A: I think it would be kind of tough because of the two intertwined narratives between the past and present. Plus, it’s hard to find leading roles for someone the likes of Simon Krimple, who is quite large, fat in fact. The best I can come up with for him would be Jonah Hill pre-Moneyball. For the narrator and minor-character protagonist, Chad Denning, I would say, Luke Wilson.
Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A: Chad Denning, firstborn and only son of an aspiring mega-church Baptist Pastor, is confronted with whether he’s really a Christian or not when his high school friend and social outcast, Simon Krimple, claims to be the Son of God—and then goes on to perform a series of miraculous deeds before his untimely death. Chad is left to pick up the pieces and make sense of the past lest he repeat it.
Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
A: I have no idea.
Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A: 20 weeks. 105,000 words. I was aiming for 16 weeks, but the holidays happened.
Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A: Well, there are some thematic comparisons that can be made to A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, but that’s a lot to live up to and it’s very different at that.
Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A: I can’t remember what exactly sent me running toward that first page. I think it’s the same answer for “where did the idea for the book come from.”
Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
A: Some really amazing real-life things happen which challenge a reader’s very belief system. There is an electrocution in the baptismal pool, levitation, demon expurgation, and someone in a chicken suit gets beat up, just to name a few intriguing moments.
Readers tagged are: Anis Shivani, Terence Hawkins, Kim McLarin