Friday, April 13, 2012

Some Press for The World Beyond

So I found myself on the other side of the journalism process when I sat down with my hometown paper (and former employer) to talk about the book. It was a lengthy and sometimes rambling chat, but the final product did a nice job introducing people to the concept and themes. It's not the easiest book to sum up for me, let alone someone who's not the author! I grew up in one town covered by the Town Times and worked there for several years during and shortly after college. I moved on when I got full-time work elsewhere, but it was nice that it was there for me when I needed a venue to try and make people aware this book exists.

If you want to see it as it appeared in the paper, here is Part 1 and Part 2. I've also transcribed it below to give this blog entry more of a reason to exist.

Local author combines media, reality television and music influences in new book
by Stephanie Wilcox

Rob Glidden has a background in journalism and a fascination with the reality television craze. These two things propelled him to write a futuristic novel about how a print journalist with nothing to lose finds the truth behind The World Beyond, a reality television show owned by a huge media conglomerate. Town Times recently sat down with Glidden, who was raised in Durham and currently resides in Cromwell, to talk about his new book.

How would you describe your book, The World Beyond, and who would be interested in reading it?

It's The Truman Show meets All the President's Men. If you're interested in issues with media, journalism and manipulation of the truth, you'd find this interesting.

How long did it take you to write The World Beyond?

Only two months for the first draft. The second draft was four or five months worth of editing...a lot changed there. I added stuff and beefed up some characters. The third draft was mostly fixing mistakes. I have an annoying habit of leaving out words so I read the whole book out loud.

What is your writing routine?

Afternoons when I had a few hours to work. As a journalist, I don't have a 9 to 5 job; my schedule is different week to week and I have little pockets of time. I [also] worked (on the book) on the weekends, trying to get about 1,500 words a day.

In the book, you mention the influence that music had on the development of this book. Tell me about that.

I think the book is metal. Metal inspired it. I listened to it while writing. I had a soundtrack that corresponded to characters, and certain bands are certain characters and their voices. (Metal) has always been a disreputable is angry sounding, anti-war, but it's very genuine music. It encourages you to say so if something's wrong.

In the book, you say that some of the ideas were stewing in your head for a while. How long were you mentally working on this book?

The story came in parts. The reality show fantasy adventure had been in my head for like 10 years. Reality shows got big when I as in high school - put people on an island and see how they argue. I remember being skeeved out even then. The way peoples' past anguish is packaged for television unnerves me. These are real tragedies and (reality television) is only worse now. I wanted to tell a story about that and take it further. Imagine your life as if it was television or entertainment. I thought, what if I had some adventure and it was televised and they gave me enhanced behaviors. That would be cool (to write); I can do that. I always wanted to (write a book) and I'm not getting any younger.

You use different mediums of communication to unveil the plot. That was very clever and effective storytelling. How did you know that would work for this novel?

The most fun part of the writing process was working with the different mediums of communication. The style is called epistolary; it means told through documents such as reviews, news articles, transcripts from interviews and blogs. There is an emphasis on plot-driven shows [now]. I think The Sopranos brought this along, and now Lost and others have followed. So I was trying to come up with real people and use multiple voices. I am a member of a lot of internet forums for various interests, like music or video games, so I know the way these people talk. I wanted to convey how the outside world was reacting to the show. (In the book) we only see the show from the viewer's perspective.

The main character, a veteran journalist, agrees that "good news doesn't sell." How much of this book is about the common perception of journalism?

As a journalist, I don't care if I get it first, I just want to get it right. Drew (the main character) discovers how [important] journalism really is. In the beginning he's ready to give up. He's laid off and doesn't think he's relevant or has any power. But the big media company controls everything except little newspapers...and he realizes he is the only one in a position to do what reporters are supposed to do. He rediscovers why journalism matters.

Do you have any other pieces in the works?

I thought about a sequel. I know what it would be about. And I picked out the music for it. But I don't want the same thing again, so I'm not sure.

Where can people find the book?

The paperback and e-book are both available on Amazon (For the e-book, search inside the Kindle store on Amazon). You can also find the paperback on CreateSpace, the self-publishing site I used to publish The World Beyond.

That's that. If I'm fortunate enough to get more press in the future, I'll share it here.

No comments: