Monthly Archives: January 2019

Italy

If you follow this blog, you probably stopped. Because I don’t update it. But I have a pretty good excuse. 1.) blogs are pointless, and 2.) I’ve been busy with writing. This doesn’t mean I’ve been writing, like, non-stop. But all the hours dedicated to writing have been sopped up.

I just returned from Italy on a book tour for Lamentation, which was translated into Italian by CasaSirio (more on that later). While I was touring Italy I basically wrote a new book on high-speed trains. Which was unassailably cool. The book, THE LAKEHOUSE COVENANT, is also my longest/biggest to date (85K). It might suck. My beta readers will let me know shortly.

In addition to touring Italy and writing a new book, I also landed a variety of cool assignments, the most rocking of which was writing a piece about The Hold Steady for Rare Bird Books new book: Going All the Way: Making the Case for Power Pop (Fall 2019). I think that’s the title. But the best part is I got to interview of my rock-and-roll idols, Franz Nicolay, the band’s multi-instrumentalist/keyboardist. He’s also a wonderful writer. I’m really proud of the essay I contributed, “Never Got to Say Goodbye to You: The Power of Pop.” Not only is it a glowing testament to the band I consider America’s BEST band, but I got to talk about my brother Josh, who most of you know died a couple years ago.

Italy was nuts. I can’t describe what an amazing experience. Marti, the publisher, is fucking awesome, and we became good friends. I am pretty sure he’s buying Junkie Love, too. So I get to go back. More than the packed bookstores, radio and TV interviews, the panels and accolades, the best part was the Italians really love Jay Porter. I know I have fans of the series here, and I am grateful. But I also know the series has its detractors who find Porter unlikeable, dour, bleak, miserable (unwisely, I read my reviews). I am not a moron. I love my publishers for the series, Oceanview, but I can also read between lines. They were hoping for more. So was I. It’s hard not to be disappointed when you write five books, which you feel get better and better, only to be read less and less. I guess I have a lot of Porter in me. I gravitate toward depression and the darker side of life. But on a positive note: I’m also not full of shit.

All the crap I take from American readers who diss Jay Porter–the bleak, dark, black depressing parts (which honestly, encapsulates the actual definition of the term “noir,” the hopelessness of a life in which you are born to die but not before you suffer an awful first)–the Italians love. It’s bleak! It’s dour! It’s like real life!

I know I’m not alone. All these memes were culled (stolen) from Benjamin Whitmer’s page. Ben is also, not coincidentally, big in Europe.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.

“Thanks for listening, thanks for understanding.”
Craig Finn, The Hold Steady