The Genesis of My First Novel

Last Burn in Hell coverWhen I started writing Last Burn in Hell I was not setting out to complete a novel. In fact I was just attempting to conduct research for a short story to submit for an anthology. During my research, though, I came across a peculiar website. See, I wanted to write about a prison guard and their relationship with an inmate. I wasn’t sure if it would be friendship or romantic. I wanted to explore the notion of knowing someone as they’re going through their final weeks and days leading up to execution.

What I found was a one-of-a-kind unique porn site apparently making use of security cameras and other footage, all depicting supposedly authentic encounters between prison guards and female death row inmates in several countries. Those countries were France, China, the United States, and one or two others. Why these nations? Because — according to the site at least — it is customary in these nations to permit a prisoner one last sexual encounter before the night before their execution.

So I thought myself, “Wow. That is either real and so messed up it deserves a story in its own right, or that that is fake and so messed up it deserves a story in its own right. Either way I’m going to write about it. Now the real question is: what kind of person would do this sort of thing?”

Enter our protagonist: the well-intentioned bleeding heart whose every move only makes things worse… So how well-intentioned can he really be? Sure, he has his own traumatic past, and bizarre current situation, but at the core is a story about someone who is really, really dense. And that’s what makes it fun.

I’m using the present tense in describing the writing process because I have finally undertaken the process of completing novels two and three in the trilogy, tentatively titled Shame the Truth and First Burn in Heaven. I was about 50 pages into the sequel when I stopped, because writing a novel, helping to run a publishing company, and raising a newborn was a more challenging mix than I had anticipated. Over the years I have continued with writing other things, yet somehow getting back into the Last Burn in Hell world has eluded me.

I will be posting progress reports and sample chapters along the way; look for more substantial news about these books during the summer. It will be slow going since I have other projects slated for completion first. Until then there is still the original if you want to get up to speed on the situation before I dump all the chapters and side stories on you.