Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Book Spotlight: Here We Go Loop De Loop

A cowboy, an heiress, her brother’s husband…and a badass ‘72 Mercury Montego.

This is the story of a her loving a him – who’s in love with another him – and that other him enduring an unrequited love for the original her. With a small-town Texas appreciation, this book is replete with humor, adversity, and the tenacity of survivors unwilling and unable to acknowledge defeat.

Here We Go Loop De Loop has greed, lust, sexuality, spiritual enlightenment, more lust, xenophobia, and the meaning of a life worth living, all woven into a single, outrageous knot in the insulated town of Rita Blanca, Texas. The author, an unlikely Texas rancher, and a resolute seeker of wisdom, truth, and the occasional virtuosic lie, with humor and reflection, has wrought a story of humanity through characters doing the best they can – just not terribly well.

***

“The first sentence” – by William Jack Sibley

“The drunk she nearly ran over, now lying in the middle of the road at one-thirty in the morning, was none other than her father, Pete Pennebaker. – HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP.”

          Contrary to seemingly most writers’ proclivities – I have a hard time starting a book without knowing the title.  For some reason if I can keep remembering what the title means (to me anyway) then I somehow manage, mostly, to keep the narrative on track.

And then there’s the first sentence.  I am a firm believer in grabbing your audience by the eyelids and daring them to not keep reading. Easier said than done, naturally. The highest compliments I’ve ever received as a writer are something along the lines of, “Damn you, I started your book when I got into bed last night and didn’t put it down til 4 am!” Bliss.

I had a vision with “HERE WE GO …” of a lonely Texas country road on a moonlit night and a woman motoring peacefully along in an old gunboat of a car listening to vintage country and western.  Suddenly, rounding a corner she sees a man sprawled in the middle of the road – her father! Now the story could go in a million directions, but the last sentence of the first paragraph, Marty Pennebaker had thought of killing her father many, many times in her forty-two years, but never quite so spontaneously,” tells us two things – the author has a sense of humor and why exactly did she want to kill him all those years? Is this a murder-mystery, a comedy, a regional leg-pull, a revenge novel?  What, what? Hopefully, the reader isn’t anywhere close to bedtime yet. 

Do I think in cinematic terms? Absolutely.  Do I imagine specific actors playing my characters?  Yes and no. Mostly it’s a vague composite that helps one “see” the words while typing. The woman driving the car on the first page of my novel is a cross between a 40ish Susan Sarandon and a 40ish Frances McDormand.  I aim high. The old man lying in the road is of course Tommy Lee Jones.

Sometimes the first sentence can be the easiest or the most sweaty, stomach-knot challenge of your week (month?) Best not to overthink. Write every tired, banal, cliché you can think of. You’ll find it. It’s there, hiding in the mind muddle.

And why humor?  Simple, write what you know!

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