Would you like to experience the godlike powers of a publisher, to choose whether to make an author’s heart sing or crush an author’s hopes and dreams? Well, Amazon’s Kindle Scout publishing lets you, the reader, do just that! My client and fellow author of genre-bending fiction, Jack Wallen, has submitted his novel Suicide Station to Kindle Scout, and you have until April 7th (if my math is correct) to read the preview excerpt and nominate the book, if you so choose, to be published. Oh, and nominators get a free e-copy if it goes to publication! “What kind of book is Suicide Station?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ve read it (and edited it) and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I can promise you it’s not quite your average romance! Here’s the blurb:
The world of stand up comedy was too much for Foster Donovan. Leaving a note behind for his wife, he wrapped a noose around his neck, and changed his life by embracing death.Turns out, the after life was nothing like he’d expected. Those who’ve taken their own lives find themselves temporary residents of Suicide Station, where they receive counseling, friendship, and (for Foster) the prospect of love. Suicide Station is a paranormal romance with a twist even the Grim Reaper wouldn’t see coming.”
SM: Suicide Station is pretty different than your other work. What sparked the idea for this book?
JW: Believe it or not, it was a nightmare that sparked the idea. I dreamed that I’d died and, in the dying, realized the worst part about it was that I’d never get to spend another second with my lovely wife. That led me to wonder what happens to love when we pass on. Not knowing if there is an “afterlife” or not, I decided to answer all the questions the nightmare brought up. There’s no better way for a writer to answer the big questions than to write about it. In the end, I realized that death was not the end of love.
SM: You’re a very versatile writer, with quite a few genres/subgenres under your belt. Was there anything about writing this book, branching out into paranormal romance, that was challenging for you? Or was the story just “there” and the genre was secondary?
JW: To me, genre is always secondary to telling a good story. If you consider reality, you’ll find the horrific in romance and romance in the horrific. I’ve always found books that set aside the multi-dimensionality of reality to be rather 2 dimensional. With regards to romance, it’s not all about steaming passion, abs, long legs, glistening skin, and the soft moans of seduction.
If we’re going to escape, let’s really escape from reality and twist the narrative to better match the landscape of our dreams…not our wishes. Dreams can be gritty, dirty, even ugly. That’s life.
To answer the other part of this question…this story really wrote itself. I think the imagery that so quickly developed (as I wrote) helped this story to flow out of me with incredible ease.
SM: Do you think you’ll write a sequel, or other books set in Suicide Station?
JW: Initially this was going to be a one-off. But shortly after I dove into that other-worldly realm of the Suicide Station, I knew this had to continue. This book barely scratches the surface of possibility for what I’ve created and I’ve no intention of letting it die. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this world as well as the characters within. I want to explore and develop the relationship between Foster and Candy and (especially) visit some of the other Stations.
SM: How did you go about setting up the world and the rules and workings of the afterlife?
JW: One of the best parts about being a writer of fiction is that we can toss aside the constructs of reality and forge our own worlds. Before going into this, I knew one thing and one thing only – that Foster Donovan would have to go through counseling in order to move on to his “Forever Station”. That was the original intent. I had no idea this would turn into a love story. The second I started writing this book, in my mind it quickly evolved into a sort of Tim Burton-esque world where anything was possible. So…I allowed anything to be possible.
I’ve always found it unfair that we writers expect readers to suspend their disbelief, when often we’re hesitant to do the same while writing. I pretty much suspended every ounce of disbelief I had for this one.
SM: As a book set in a sort of purgatory for suicide victims, this could have been a very depressing read, yet it’s actually very hopeful, sweet, and funny. How did you maintain the balance between tastefully addressing depression and suicide and keeping the book upbeat and romantic?
JW: Confession time. I’m a helpless romantic at heart. I truly believe in the human heart and the power of connection.
Suicide has such a stigma attached to it. For some, the challenges of existing are simply too much to bear. There’s always help to be had; and I highly recommend anyone flirting with suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. But being that helpless romantic, what I really wanted to address was that the power of love reaches beyond the veil of death. When we pass, people will remember us fondly; they’ll tell stories about us, smile and weep for the loss. To me, that is the afterlife…those memories. There’s a sweetness in that. I can pass from this mortal coil knowing my wife and my friends will smile when they think of me, that I will continue to bring them some form of joy.
So to me, it wasn’t so much about the act of ending one’s life, but of moving beyond that and dealing with whatever might come next. And underneath it all, it’s about knowing your own truth and that things can always work out.
SM: What was the most fun about writing this book?
JW: The interplay between Foster and Candy was so much fun. Considering what I usually write, I don’t often get the chance to make with the flirtations. This is one of the reasons why I also enjoy writing my steampunk series…because underlying all that heady stuff, there’s a sweetness to power it along.
Also, in this book, I found David David to be so much fun to play with. Not being a stoner, it was pleasure to dive into that skin and see how far I could take it.
SM: What’s next for Suicide Station?
JW: I have entered the book into the Kindle Scout program. Kindle Scout is a new program, started by Amazon, that puts the weight of Amazon promotions behind those books they’ve accepted for publication. What this means is that readers can go visit the Suicide Station campaign page, read the sample, and (if they think the book is worthy) nominate the book. Amazon takes into consideration how many nominations a book gets, how much traffic is directed to the book campaign, as well as the quality of the book and the ability of the author to promote the book.
Should Suicide Station win a contract, everyone that nominated the book will get a free ebook copy! Win-win!
SM: How can we find out more?
JW: I’ll be releasing blogs and videos so you can keep up with the progress of my Suicide Station campaign. Find out more on my website.