You Bring the Jack; They'll Bring the Coke: Interviews with Craig Davidson and Brett Alexander Savor
'Once you finish writing a four-page dog fight scene, or a scene where a guy gets his leg chomped off by an incensed killer whale, or one where an old porn star's penis pump explodes ... well, you sort of say to yourself, 'I've effectively eliminated myself from the mainstream.'' Craig Davidson and Brett Alexander Savory want to talk to you about Hell -- real and imagined. (If there's a difference.)
Craig Davidson and Brett Alexander Savory come from similar worlds: they're equally young, male, and Canadian. They understand endurance and sufferance when seeing through the desire to write. One runs his own online lit-mag and is thriving on the underground scene, while the other has been rewarded for his efforts with a deal from Penguin. Throughout their various successes and their struggles, they've cultivated a friendship reflected in their kind words for each other (both recommended the other as an admirable new talent), and their ability to explore strong male ties in their works.
Savory's The Distance Travelled and Davidson's Rust and Bone: Stories are Books for Boys. They're terrifying stories, divergent in plot, but universal in theme. Savory's narrator travels through Hell to find the doomed sister of a pig-throwing prankster, battling some uninvited Underworld visitors along the way. Savory's Hell-view is not unlike Earth, with its civil servants handing out scheduled tortures. It's also very hot, and air-conditioners down there are awfully unreliable. Savory's narrator is suffering penance for running down a young girl: "Then a crunch, and the car lifts on its right side, like I've just barrelled over a speed bump." Only he hasn't, and a distraught father sends him reeling with a vengeful shot to the head.
Down below, the narrator gets by in his world, but one senses early on he's a hero just waiting for a quest. Savory lets us like the man, regardless of his crime, by making the incident a horrible mistake, and subtly and tremendously, allowing the man authenticity in his grief and his regret. His mourning for the young girl is pivotal throughout the book, and challenging questions hit the narrative forefront about good and bad, right and wrong, and how punishment is best served and understood. Savory shocks with ripping horror, yet his story is most affecting in its exploration of guilt and remorse. His language is -- for a tale set in hell, anyway -- often poetic, and his dialogue is taut, emotional, and grounded in 21st century reality: equal parts Sam Spade and Stephen King. Our narrator, on his arrival in hell:
When I open these eyes -- these eyes that should no longer open, in my skull that should no longer be anything but splinter -- I am in a house. Not a house I have ever been in before. Someone else's house.
But now mine.
Now and forever.
It's hot. Hot as Hell.
I immediately start sweating.
Davidson, too, has a poet's heart, but he refrains from displaying it as visibly as Savory. Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk have already said it (and so has Savory), but it begs another run: Craig Davidson is gifted. His book of short stories, Rust and Bone, is a terror ride through humanity, as characters grapple with the price of self-loathing and the fear of living. It's exactly what it desires to be -- a literary uppercut, fist to the face that stings, bleeds, and blisters. No matter the depths Davidson's characters sink to, they're stories fascinate and intoxicate. Again, much of this success has to do with the writer's understanding of the down side of life -- our varied life-nightmares and other Hells.
Davidson manages, similarly to Savory, to build compassion for his ugly, sometimes nasty, characters. His dogfight champions, wayward fathers, sex addicts, liars, and other hustlers are rarely excused, but they're understood. The stories are hard going, but rarely are they gratuitous, and never is Davidson out of control:
It happened a few years back. Wayne was in a solo scene with this little acrobatic blonde: she was jerking and bucking and practically doing the loop-de-loop. Wayne was sweating buckets and holding on for dear life; now she's riding him, Wayne's thrusting up to meet her and the gal's biting her bottom lip begging for more but they come together awkwardly and something just went snap.
It's not all so in your face. Davidson's best story here is "The Rifleman", about an alcoholic father attempting reconnection with his unreceptive son. It's horrifying an altogether different way, as the narrator becomes more and more desperate, and the son backs further away. Fucking, fighting, or falling out of love, Davidson's attention to detail, his rhythmic structure, and steadfast focus on the compassionate show off marked gifts that his Hellish visits worthwhile.
PopMatters spoke separately to Savory and Davidson in the basement of Canada's number one underground boxing establishment, where the peanuts were plentiful, and everyone who was anyone wore gloves made of white tape.
Your book is fascinating, funny, gross and confronting all at the same time, but the characters, their situations and resulting stories are always realistic, always truthful. When you approach stories like these, is it a conscious thing that you retain reality and truth -- is there a specific way to do that?
Well, I think it's a matter of -- please excuse the tired rationale -- putting yourself in your characters' shoes. I think I am a character writer; everything starts from the point of a character I can identify with, more so than a plot or setting POV. I guess the one rule I have is that I need to feel that, were I myself put into any of my characters' lives, had to walk around in their skin, that I would act as they act and do as they do. I mean me personally -- would I, Craig Davidson, do the things my characters do given their circumstances? If the answer is yes, then I write that story. Which may seem odd or chilling when you look at what my characters do. So I'm often a little ... dispirited is perhaps the right word, puzzled, when interviewers or critics or readers say the book is populated with dirty and disreputable, and unpleasant characters. I'm not sure how to take this: Either (a) that I believe myself capable of what others see as acts of deep and abiding awfulness, while still clinging to the idea of my own fundamental goodness as a human being, or (b) some people are unable or unwilling to plumb their own depths and frankly consider what they may or may not be capable of, good or bad, were their backs ever put to the wall.
I know these stories were written a few years back, but can you put yourself in the mindset of the 25-year-old Craig, who came up with this stuff? Were their specific influences, feelings to explore or expunge?
Yeah, these stories were written between the ages of 25 and 28, mainly, so they're a reflection of, I guess, how I felt at the time. Some might class them as "Angry Young Man" stories; I see them as "Confused Young Man" stories -- though anger and confusion go hand-in-hand in the realm of young men.
Do you have specific processes or approaches when writing?
I've been asked about my process before, and I'm not precisely sure what it means; I will say that, in terms of my writing discipline, I write every day. I used to write 500 words a day; now I just write until I feel I've done enough, have set myself up for the next day's writing and leave it at that. In terms of how I go about setting my ideas down: I look for two things -- a character I can identify with and something that fascinates me. In Rust and Bone, some of those things were boxing, dog-fighting, magic, the auto repossession biz, and sex addiction. Once those two prerequisites lock into place, I'm ready to haul ass.
How does that contrast with your writing processes today? With Rust and Bone behind you, how are you approaching your writing, your creativity?
Well, I guess I try to approach it like a job. My parents are hardworking middle class; my father's side of the family, I would say, are hardworking blue collar. I picture myself in the same way. Some people have this romantic idea of writing -- you sit out under a fig tree on a sun-dappled hillside waiting for inspiration to strike and when it does you scamper off and write your musings down with a quill and ink. And if inspiration doesn't strike, well, you just sit under that tree for a few days or a week until it does. And if you're a hugely talented writer whose books sell well enough that you can publish every 10 years and still live okay, then hell, do whatever suits. For my part, I need to keep writing and hopefully keep publishing regularly. So I'm like a any other guy who gets up in the morning and heads out to the factory or warehouse or wherever -- at least, that's how I picture my discipline. Roll in at nine, punch out at five.
And I'm keenly aware of how fortunate I've been with the editors and publishers I've been able to work with, who've accepted and supported and encouraged my work, but also aware that it's a different publishing world today. Most successful young writers are successful right off the bat -- if you look at Jonathan [Safran] Foer, Zadie Smith, Elizabeth Kostova, almost any successful new writer, they come out of the gate hard and cement their reps early. It's not like the days of, say, John Irving, who was supported until his fourth book hit big. And there's certainly nobody to blame for this; it's just the way it is, and I knew that coming in. But it does add a sense of urgency, even desperation, to things; not quite as much is riding on Rust and Bone, but certainly if my next book, a novel, tanks, well, it might be, "So long, see ya, it's been a slice." And if that were to happen, it's understandable: there are hundreds of talented writers who've never gotten a shot and deserve one, and publishers can't keep publishing an author whose books consistently fail to deliver readers. All any of us can ask for is one good shot at it.
How do you know when a story works, when your close to that good shot?
You know what? I don't. Often stories I think suck are embraced, and ones I think are God's gift to the written word are promptly rejected. It's sort of like high school: invariably the test I thought I'd aced I later found I'd tanked, and the one I thought I'd failed I ended up doing okay on. And though I've been writing for years and have made enough money to support myself for a few now, I'm still imminently capable of writing a suck-ass story. I'm not a good enough writer that if I set off down a flawed path I can somehow steer myself back. If I run off the rails, I run off hard and crash into something and my editor or agent or whoever gives me an earful about it. This is a bit more daunting with novels, as they take so much longer and nobody likes to think they've written a yearlong train crash.
Do you find yourself, as a reader, drawn to your own genre, or do you read more widely?
Do you mean horror? Because Rust and Bone is, I believe, classed as "mainstream fiction" or even "literary fiction" or whatever, even though I feel it is neither. In fact, I feel if I'm fortunate enough to keep writing, I'll slip into that gauzy netherworld between genres -- which, not coincidentally, is the habitat of some of my favorite writers like Palahniuk, Joe R. Lansdale, Mark Danielewski, JG Ballard, Christopher Moore, Kevin Brockmeier, Clive Barker, and many others. It's a weird place to be, somewhat fraught even, because publishers and booksellers aren't sure how to classify you or your writing and I've been told can be a death knell if you're not as talented as the writers above.
If you're talking horror, then actually no, I don't read as much horror -- or at least traditional horror -- as I used to. Partly that's because writers I loved as a teenager -- Barker, Robert R. McCammon, Brian Hodge -- aren't writing as much as they used to or, like Barker, are focusing on films. Koontz is a phenomenal writer and much more humane and thoughtful that some give him credit for, but I read three or four of his books in a row and it was like eating too much candy: I glutted myself. I still read Peter Straub, who is fabulous. What I admire most about genre writers is their discipline and their ability to market themselves. Writers like Douglas Clegg and Brian Keene are hardworking writers who deliver quality books on time and go all out to promote them. It's a sort of lunch pail mentality you don't see much outside of the genres; "literary" writers have publicists and tours and probably see the whole idea of promotion as distasteful. I love that about the genre, and obviously I relish every opportunity to get word out about my own work.
What do you think it is about the horror genre that draws people? Most people I know who are big readers started out with horror -- I know so many people who say, "Yeah, I started out reading Stephen King". Why do we do that, and what do you think it prepares us for as readers, writers, people?
Partly it might be that King was the biggest thing going when you and I were growing up; you couldn't walk down the street without tripping over a stack of King paperbacks. Then again Danielle Steele was huge, also, and I don't recall her having the same impact.
It might be that King was, to my mind, a transcendent writer. I know critics and the literati had a field day when he was given the National Book Award -- Howard Bloom nearly had a goddamned embolism -- but I couldn't think of a more deserving honoree. Who else has had a bigger impact since we've been born? JK Rowling, is all I can think. At his best King not only scared the shit out of us, he made us care deeply about his characters. I think that's where a lot of horror writers go wrong: if you don't care about the characters, you don't really care if bad things befall them or root for them to surmount their circumstances. I read It a decade and a half ago and I could name you every major character's name, even the minor ones, scenes, everything. If there is a more poignant evocation of childhood than is stirred in that book, I haven't read it. Other novels, critic's darlings, I might enjoy but ultimately I couldn't tell you much about them a few weeks after I'd finished. King reaches out and touches some part of us. I'm not entirely sure of the alchemy behind it, but it's there below the words, beneath the surface, working on your heart and mind. It's a form of magic some writers have. John Irving has it, too, though not as strongly as King at peak form. Of course, in the circles I sometimes find myself in, to mention the name King or even Irving is to invite looks of deep disdain and whispered accusations of mental midgetry. Not that I really give a damn.
There has to be a link somewhere between the horrors of Misery or Carrie or Barker's Cabal or Books of Blood, say, with the Bret Easton Ellis, Craig Davidson-type horror, do you think? It's horror on a human, anti-fantasy level. King's work might be grounded in reality, but the notion of lawnmowers running over people and girls moving stuff with their minds placed them in a fantastical realm. There's no fantasy to your work, and yet I'm wondering if it's still a kind of horror. I know I put prepare equally for the splatters when I read Barker as I do when I read Palahniuk or Easton Ellis.
I think that all writers are influenced by what they read and in some way their ideas and style is formed on that basis. I started out writing horror and honestly thought I would always do so. Then I wrote a few non-horror stories for a degree I was taking, got a few published, got an agent and the stories sold to a non-genre publisher (Penguin Canada) and later foreign rights were picked up by other houses not associated with genres (WW Norton in the US). My editors are not genre editors, my agent doesn't represent genre writers. It is very much a fish out of water scenario for me.
And the results haven't always been pretty. The reviews have been scathing, such as the New York Times, or middling, or somewhat baffled, like the recent Washington Post one. Part of this may come from the fact that it's unlike a lot of collections to cross a reviewer's desk, in that there are a lot of ... well, I would call them "visceral," but critics have called them "lurid" or "grotesque" details and scenarios. And I'm as surprised as anyone that the collection was picked up at all -- frankly, once you finish writing a four-page dog fight scene, or a scene where a guy gets his leg chomped off by an incensed killer whale, or one where an old porn star's penis pump explodes ... well, you sort of say to yourself, "I've effectively eliminated myself from the mainstream." As with every writer, it's a matter of finding one's audience. I don't think I've found it yet, and I may never -- or I may be incorrect in the assumption there is one out there to be had for me. Time will tell.
You've said that your next novel is similar to Rust and Bone in that it, too, pulls few punches, and is quite graphic -- did you feel a need to outdo Rust and Bone's visceral imagery, or was the graphicness simply a natural part of the storytelling?
I think the latter. I have a deep vein of stubbornness that cleaves right through the heart of me. If someone says I shouldn't do something, it's unseemly, there is no better way to get me to do it. And I feel that, in a way, I'm like a kid from the other side of the tracks (the horror ghetto) who's somehow snuck into the upper crust's mansion, and I intend to run amuck for as long as I can before the Powers That Be get wind and turf me. And again, I've been in academic writing programs, and the experience has tempered me -- I really dislike the intolerance that exists, you should read this and not that, so-and-so is a shit writer because of this or that reason -- often simply because they're popular, because their work is accessible -- but also for other reasons and I guess I'm on a bit of a crusade. Like many crusades through history, this one has the potential to end badly for me. But again, you or me or anyone can only write what feels genuine to them, and this feels genuine to me.
I think, as far as the novel is concerned, it is important to get across the fact that many people my age have no real conception of suffering. Physical suffering in the form or labour or deadening factory work or fights is less than in previous generations; many of my friends have never worked a physical job or been in a fight. Our idea of violence is formed by movies and video games and so forth, all of which present a hyper-stylized, over-the-top and unreal depiction of violence. So this was what I was trying to tap into with the novel, and why some sequences -- especially the final fight scene, which might end up the longest and most graphic ever set on paper --- are the way they are. Of course, when it comes out I'm sure some will call it needless, or lurid, or pulpy. Not that I'll argue with them, or think they're wrong. I can only write it; the impressions of my or any writer's intent is and should be the privilege of the reader.
Do you welcome criticism? You mentioned that few female reviewers have enjoyed you book -- what have been some of the reactions and how do you answer them?
Oh, absolutely I welcome it. I've always thought if the book did well, go ahead and hammer me. Lamentably the book is probably only doing so-so; average sales coupled with critical drubbing is a hard row to hoe. But even when I was writing horror, it seemed a love/hate thing. If the wrong person picked up my book (and I mean wrong for both the reader and myself), it would get savaged. But whereas my horror novel might get savaged on a message board or some smaller venue, Rust and Bone gets ripped in far bigger venues.
Is it easy? Quite honestly, no. But I find that very little of writing is easy -- it's cutthroat sometimes and even those with the most leathery of skins can feel gutted from time to time. You pay to play. Most of my worries come from the idea that I'm letting someone down. My parents, who've always encouraged me, and my publishers and editors, who've put their faith in me. Success matters little to me, personally, at this point. I realize this may sound like a crock, and there's no need you believe me, but the fact of the matter is that most of what I do at this early stage in my career is motivated by a desire to appease those who've helped me get to this point, not any personal reasons.
I feel my book will appeal mostly to men. I understand the rationales and fears and needs of men more clearly, and the collection reflects that. I can't really answer it any further. Someone asked me why women might want to read the book and I said if they wanted to know why some male in their lives acted in bizarre and capricious fashion, my book might provide a few insights.
In your experience, is it true that young men don't read fiction?
I think the answer to that might be that not enough young men read fiction. Certainly the majority of my readers so far, those who've emailed and sent letters, are young men. But men in general don't read as much fiction as women. I wish I'd known that before writing the stories -- maybe I could have done something to curry a more diverse audience. But I think young men do read fiction, and go out there and talk about the writers they love, so certainly it would be great if more of them knew about Rust and Bone.
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Brett Alexander Savory:
How do you begin a story like this? Are you a planner?
I think the idea for the story itself came from the talking thermometer in my mom and step-dad's house. They don't have it anymore, but they used to have this electronic thermometer that periodically told you the temperature inside and outside. I imagined what it might say in Hell: Really fucking hot inside; even fucking hotter outside! Pigs worked their way into the storyline, as is not uncommon with my fiction for some reason [Savory recently co-penned the crazy-pig opus, My Eyes Are Nailed But Still I See with David Niall Wilson], then away I went.
I didn't outline this novel, nor the first novel I wrote, In and Down. But I have outlined my next two novels, which was more as a result of wanting to sell -- or at least get interest in them -- before fully completing them. Distance was slightly different than my other projects, though, because it was based on the novelette of the same name that was released in 2001 through Prime Books. Basically, the structure for the novel was that I kept the same basic opening and the same basic ending, but then stuffed an additional 65,000 words into the middle.
By not outlining my first two novels (especially In and Down), I figured if even I didn't know where the story was going, the reader would have a harder time figuring it out, too. It seems to have worked, 'cause both novels have twist endings and, from what I've heard so far, no one has guessed them beforehand.
Hell is a good to place to set a story in order to create your own world view -- how was that for you, constructing this place that does exist or doesn't exist, that some believe in, some have clear ideas about -- was it a free-for-all for you, or did you come to your vision of hell with a specific objective?
I've always considered the idea of Hell pretty absurd. I mean, come on, how corny. Some red dude with a pitchfork and a pointed tail tortures you forever? Boring! Big yawn. You'd both get sick of it within the first few millennia and then what? You'd just play cards or maybe some PS2 together to pass the time. The idea just seems so ludicrous. So when I was writing it, I wanted Hell to be very practical, sort of bureaucratic, with the scheduled torture sessions carried out by government employees. I wanted the characters and the narrative to be the focus, with this ridiculous vision of Hell as the backdrop.
Do you believe in hell? Did your own beliefs ever compromise your storytelling?
Well, I'm agnostic, so I officially neither believe nor disbelieve in it. That said, I think the concepts of Heaven and Hell are far too black-and-white to be real. The line between "good" and "evil" is pretty thin in my experience, and the idea that there's someone with a cosmic check sheet and rating scheme somewhere seems laughable to me. What acts of kindness or evil swing the pendulum one way or the other? There're so many variables. Is there really just some creator up there who's keeping up with all the minutiae of six billion lives? And if so, has he nothing better to do than judge us after creating us in his image? I mean, seriously. Dude, get a hobby. Go knit something.
Also, the fact that there's no proof of either realm keeps me from dedicating my existence to it. But again, all that said, since I'm a fairly nice guy, I like to think I'll go someplace nice when I die, see dead loved ones. That'd be sweet. But maybe we just get extinguished like cockroaches. Who knows? For now, I'll just make fun of everything and hope any possible gods are -- as they're purported to be -- merciful.
What do you like about a character like this one? Your guy here is deeply flawed, self-aware for the most part -- what do you like about this guy, why did you want to tell his story?
I like that Stu is a borderline bad guy -- he barely squeaked into Hell, 'cause he's got a fair amount of good in him. But at the time of his death, he had just run over a little girl after not paying attention to the road, so on his cosmic check sheet of life, he was currently in the negative column. That's why he's willing to help find PigBoy's little sister -- guilty conscience, plus his sorta bad, sorta good personality. He knows he's a bit of a shitheel, but he tries to curb that part of him -- only he's generally not that successful. There are parts of Stu's personality in me, so I guess I was telling my own story to a certain degree. Though he's certainly more of a dick than I am. He's certainly crippled more people than I have, anyway.
How do you make a likable character, a hero of sorts, out of such a bad guy? Is it about altering how we view people, how we judge people? I just watched The Devil's Rejects, which made me think a lot about this -- who am I rooting for? What is this writer trying to tell me about fear, and judgement, and hatred -- you know? Your heroes are, essentially, awful people -- how does this work, what is behind the creation of the unlikable hero?
Making a mostly bad guy do something charitable is the way to get people rooting for him. It humanizes him. The audience thinks, "Well, sure, he ran over a little girl, pushes people downstairs, crushes their craniums with speakers, belittles them 'til they burst into tears just to make himself feel superior ... but hey, he's trying to rescue someone's sister here! He ain't so bad!" I think the fact that he's trying to make amends, even though he's already condemned in Hell, helps endear him to the reader.
It's the same kind of thing at work with The Sopranos. Tony is a fucking thug and a murderer, but the writers also humanize him, show his weaknesses, maybe try to explain why he is the way he is, which gets the audience on his side to a certain extent.
It's testament to your ability to develop your characters that, when awful things happen, or when we're reminded of these people on the Upside, we have to stop and reconsider -- as in, oh yeah, this is a terrible person, why do I want him to succeed? Why am I afraid for him when the twist occurs at the end?
You want Stu to succeed for two reasons, I think. One is that you want him to save the innocent little girl who's been kidnapped and taken to Hell. The second reason is that you want Stu to redeem himself by saving the little girl -- which would kind of karmically balance out the fact that he ran over that little girl on Upside. It's what's driving his beneficent side, and the reader naturally wants that aspect of him to win over the petty, cruel side he exhibits at various points throughout the novel.
Aside from hell, you've got so many themes battling here -- that forward momentum idea, the ability or inability to change, judgement based on horrific acts that don't always represent our core selves: did you have these ideas in mind as you began?
To some degree, yes, because I was basing the novel on the novelette. But I didn't set out to write the novelette with those themes, so not really. Helpful, aren't I? Anyway, since I didn't outline the book, I'd have to settle on saying that, no, I didn't have these themes in mind -- even when writing the novelette. I just sort of started writing and I let the characters and the themes develop naturally as I went along. Of course, once I started seeing the themes develop in the narrative, I wrote the rest trying to bring them out, connect them to the story, etc.
You write with a sharp, noir-type voice here -- are you inspired by that style of writing?
Strangely, I'm inspired by it, yet haven't read much of it. I've barely read or watched any noir-type stuff, yet I seem to write in that style or voice. When Stewart O'Nan blurbed the novel, he said I'd invented a new subgenre: Actual Underworld Noir. That was nice of him, but it struck me as strange because of my lack of experience with noir. I know the general voice it's written in, but I don't try to use '40s-style dialogue and narrative, I don't think. Not consciously, anyway. So I'm not sure what about it comes across as noir. Maybe just the snappy dialogue and tough-guy characters are enough to put people in mind of the noir style. I won't dispute it, though, because from what I do know about noir, I dig it a lot. It's sparse and to the point, no time for flowery language and such. And that's how I generally tend to write.
Can you talk a bit about what drew you to this genre?
I can't put a finger on it, but for as long as I can remember, I've been attracted to dark stories. I wrote my first bona fide horror story in grade seven. It was called "Fright Night" and it sucked, but it was hyper-violent and I got an "A" on it, so that was apparently all the encouragement I needed to keep at it. If a kid handed in that story nowadays, he'd probably be sent to the office, then to a guidance counselor to determine whether or not he was going to grow up to be a serial killer.
With respect to this novel, I've always been attracted to utter silliness, as well. So combining the two was very natural for me. That said, this is the only work of mine that is a horror-comedy -- the rest of my stuff is quite serious, for the most part. So I guess I just needed the right combination of ideas and characters to make the horror and comedy combine satisfactorily enough that I felt compelled to write about it.
What has been your experience in the publishing/writing world? How do you look at your career right now, your goals, your hopes as juxtaposed with your desire to create art and keep writing? How do those things work together, writing to live and living to write?
Well, like a lot of writers, I have a day job (as an editor at Scholastic Canada), which enables me to pay the bills while I write after hours. I think trying to make a living from the weird shit I tend to churn out would be a very tough row to hoe. Maybe someday, but right now, I'm sort of at the point where things are beginning to pick up for me, but I'm nowhere near able to write full-time on the amount I make from my writing.
My experience in the publishing world has mostly been with small presses, with the occasional short story sale to a larger market, like a Penguin or Warner anthology. The print runs I'm used to for most of my work are limited editions, ranging around 200-400 copies, maybe a bit more. But with my most recent novel sale (details of which I can't divulge until the contract's been signed), copies of said novel will be available in most major bookstores across Canada come Fall 2007. It's still a small press deal, but it's a literary small press and a literary novel, rather than the horror material with which I'm generally associated. So it'll be a new readership for me, with much more exposure, and likely reviews in major newspapers, so I'm really looking forward to that.