I’ve been slow to post on the site lately, but I figured I’d finish up this one I start a little while ago to let folks know about what I’ve been working on. As you can see by the photo at the bottom of this post, I have been writing, scribbling notes, and drinking many diet beers. During this I’ve managed to write a solid first draft of a new novel.
I finished County Road Six back in July, but have been working on revisions around my teaching schedule and other work. After getting some very wise and succinct notes from my friend (and peer in Georgian Bay mayhem) Cherie Dimaline, I’m going through the revisions now before sending it back to my agent, and seeing what might be done with the novel.
I don’t have an official synopsis yet, but I will say that this novel is much longer than I expected, though I imagine it will be pared down some.
The novel tells the tale of the four O’Hare sisters coming back to a wasted farmstead off County Road Six in North Simcoe County, outside the fictional town of Marston, Ontario on the southern reach of Georgian Bay. Recently orphaned after their father’s death, they rally around the house they were raised in by him. The mother of the eldest O’Hare girls (Beth and Mara) is long gone, with the mother of the youngest (Kaitlyn and Emma) lost to illness when they were children. Their father’s reputation and violent local past has broken any link to their maternal lines, and left only his hand to guide them as they navigate their lives in the town, and try to find a way out of the dangers of rural poverty and violence.
As they join at their familial home again to reclaim the acres that have fallen to them, a stranger arrives at the farmstead who appears a monstrous likeness to their father, and who begins to prowl the town and the farmstead. In trying to discover the identity of the man, they find secret corners of the property where their father, Arthur O’Hare, kept leavings from his life before them. What they uncover hints at a far more sinister and troublesome past than they suspected for the father, one that has haunted them as they grew up in the region, even without knowing the depth of it. In coming to terms with their father’s sins, they dredge up old resentments that risk driving the sisters apart at a time when they are the distinct focus of a very vicious and determined man.
While the stranger keeps returning over time to stalk what he believes to be his birthright, the town of Marston is hit by catastrophe that lays it low, and sees a surge in gang violence from warring bikers in the county, along with mayhem in the hilltowns and bloodfeuds spun out of control. As the region begins to come apart at the seams, the stranger closes in. The O’Hare sisters have no choice but to come together and protect their home, and each other, with everything they’ve ever had in the balance, including their very lives.
If you’ve read my work before, you know that my influences range from folks like Cormac McCarthy, Daniel Woodrell, Donald Ray Pollock, Stephen King, Eden Robinson, and other authors who meld literary fiction, rural crime, elements of horror, and who focus on atmosphere and tension in their work. This novel is squarely in that territory, and meant to get a little more than weird when shit hits the fan in ol’ Marston town, and the surrounding woods and waters.
Anyway, I hope that serves as a decent primer for County Road Six, and I hope to have some news in the next while about what might happen with the novel. The publishing world is all over the place, so that isn’t great, but I hope that there is a place for the work here, and possibly in some of the other places where my stories have gotten some readers.
More when I’ve got some. Until then, take care and keep the dream alive…