Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at The Bawdy Book Blog. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story.
My name is Danny Bayle, I’m twenty-eight years old and it’s been four years since I completed my last novel – a novel that earned a unanimous reception from critics in that none of them bothered to read it. Too slim to use as a paperweight, too fat to serve as a fan in hot weather, my book could be considered a domestic success, but only for the reason that my mother kind of liked it.
When people used to ask me what my novel was about, I’d get frustrated, not with them, but with myself. I didn’t have a good elevator-ride synopsis on the ready, a one-minute description to snag their interest. It’s about a boy, I would say, or a man, or a boy-man. It’s about work, love, friendship, family, an empty apartment, an annoying neighbour and a teenage runaway.
The novel was a personal story and smattered with my own experiences, though still unrecognizable to anyone who knew me then. I wasn’t the main character with a different name, or his witty best friend, and I didn’t try to conceal myself as someone wise in the periphery.
As time wore on and people continued to ask me what it was about, I would sometimes say something stupid like, “It’s about a group of rogue architects” or “It’s about a family of cats who find difficulty assimilating into sixteenth-century England.”
I would make a joke or do whatever it took to thwart any follow-up questions because I’d become too embarrassed to talk about the book that never really was.
For years I tried to write again, but I just couldn’t find the momentum. It even got to the point where writing was all I could think about. From morning to night everything I saw became a narrative in my mind. I began to describe my surroundings, and give people I passed a life inside my head. It happened almost automatically. Where people came from, where they were going, what was in their shopping bags and so on. I spent an entire thirty-minute subway ride conjuring the back-story of a sleeping Asian woman.
But when I would sit at my computer to try to put thoughts to paper – my blood racing, my stomach swimming with anticipation, my fingers twinkling above the keyboard – my mind would go blank. I would just stare at the stark white screen, the vertical cursor taunting me with each monotonous blink: Loser. Loser. Loser.
I would sit in my chair, and though I didn’t believe in God, it was as if I were waiting for some sort of divine intervention, some sort of inspiration to just strike me down like a wayward bus on an icy road. I could never get past an opening line.
I would sit in front of my computer wondering how the thousands of books that lined the walls and filled the shelves of all the colossal bookstores were ever started at all.
One sad day I came to the realization that it had been four barren years, and I still didn’t have it. It was a terrifying moment, a moment when I stared reality dead in the face. Perhaps I never had it, I thought.
It was then that I decided I had to do something.
If inspiration wasn’t going to come to me, I was going to have to go out and get it. Coming up with a first line wasn’t the only problem I had; all the lines that followed would have to be written, too.
You may be asking yourself why I’m telling you this.
It’s because from that sad day forward I vowed to make it my mission to follow the paths I would otherwise not have taken in order to meet those ends. From that day on I resolved to explore everything around me, including myself, until my head was overflowing with new thoughts and ideas. I didn’t have the words, so I was going to have to go out and find them. I decided that the one novel I had given premature man-birth to was not going to be my unhappy legacy. Sitting at my desk that day in my underwear, I finally had the motivation, or the fear, to go out and make a new legacy – one that I wouldn’t be un-proud of.
Dear reader, the names and places described herein have mostly been changed for the usual reasons, but the events that follow are the ones that stemmed from that decision.
I know the self I present in this book may seem to you immature, even self-absorbed. And while the former might approach the mark a little more than I would like to admit, the latter, I assure you, is not my true nature. I am instead someone beset in life by things like love and guilt and sensitivity. But I was, as you will see, enduring an emotional state that required me to be a little selfish. I regret to say that selfish I was.
The following is what happened to me in the weeks and months after I got up out of that chair, and put on some pants.
About the Author
Follow Brad Cotton around the web: Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter
Born and raised in Toronto, Brad Cotton has been writing professionally for over a decade. An average guitarist, a subpar painter, and a horrible juggler of anything larger than a tangerine, he is currently married to a woman, but does not have a cat, a drum set, or any children.
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