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What is Suburban Fiction?

Any author worth his salt writes with a genre in mind.  I’ll make no claims about my saltiness either way, but The Point of Escape was written with a couple genres in mind, one of which I’ll discuss today: suburban fiction.

Google “suburban fiction” and you’ll get articles about angst, adultery and ennui.  A 2004 New York Times article that reviews some contemporary works includes this useful description of the genre.

NYT Suburban Fiction Screen Shot

Conversely, the Goodreads shelf for the genre that pops up as the third link in our Google search includes a majority of young adult lit.  OK, teen girls’ lit.  Judy Bloom and the like.  Angst, adultery and ennui writ young.  Not exactly what I’m going for here.

“So,” you ask, “just what are you about?”

Glad you asked.  There are actually several flavors of suburban lit, all of which – unsurprisingly – draw thematic elements from those ubiquitous sprawling subdivisions and side streets.  As you can tell from the brief descriptions above, this can be a fairly dark mode of writing, inevitably contrasting with the cheery stereotype of white picket fences and 2.5 kids.  The darkness can become pervasive, as in subgenres like suburban gothic – which introduces elements of the supernatural and science fiction – or suburban noir – which slides into psychosis and horror.

My current project (yes, I’m writing The Next One even as I steer This One toward launch day) edges into these subgenres.  It’s a three-part series that takes a rather dark look at what the world of cookie-cutter houses and conspicuous consumption can do to your soul.  I hope to have the first installment in beta form by the fall, and to market before Christmas.  Weary food for cheery souls.  Ho.  Ho.  Ho.

Not so much The Point of Escape.  I wrote it with beach reading in mind, and so – though not uncritical of suburban life – its themes are far more uplifting, its trajectory more hopeful.  Jerrod Beams experiences all the aimless ennui of any suburban fiction hero.  But although the ‘burbs in some ways embody the Faustian bargain he has struck with the Federal Mephistopheles – they and the life they promise are the false fruits of his soul-crushing labor – Jerrod is largely happy with what he has provided for his family.  Just not how he has provided it.  That’s what he hopes to change.

The great source of that hope – the ability to take stock and the courage to change – was inspired by a non-fiction work, and places the novel itself into a new genre, something I call entrepreneurial fiction.  Defining this new genre will be the focus of my next post.

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Read The First Chapter (and the Prologue)!

point of escape-final
Starting today, you are able to get a sneak peek at the The Point of Escape.  I’ve made the Prologue and Chapter 1 available on the 4-Hour Novel page of this site. Hope you enjoy!

Over the next several weeks I will continue to reveal chapters for those who want advance access to the novel.

And, for those of you who don’t want to wait a week for Chapter 2, I have a special deal.  Just sign up for my mailing list by clicking here.  Fill out the form and I’ll send you a PDF of the first four chapters today.  I’ll also be sure to send you periodic updates and information about upcoming projects (and I promise not to flood your inbox!).

But don’t wait.  On launch day (July 31! tick…tick..tick…) I will be taking down all advance chapters and ending the mailing list offer.  Amazon rules.  So, happy reading, and don’t forget to sign up for email updates!

Full Cover Reveal…..and a Launch Date!

Point of Escape-Full Cover Final - Crop

Here it is!  When I decided to offer hardcopies in addition to ebooks, I went ahead and asked my cover designer to work up the spine and back cover.  I think I said something like, “I have no idea what this should look like!”  No problem.  Less than a week later, this image arrived in my inbox.  True to form, Ares had produced a beautiful design with minimal guidance.  Perfect.  And thanks again, Ares.

And it arrives just in time because………..the release date has been set and is fast approaching.  Yes, folks, at midnight on Thursday, July 31st, The Point of Escape: A 4-Hour Novel will be available for purchase on Amazon, either as a Kindle ebook or in hardcopy.  Yay!  Between now and then I will share with you more about the book and the deals I’ll be offering.  In the meantime, enjoy this new visual and mark your calendars!