Okay, so it’s out there: my novel, 22 Dutch Road, a book weaving such diverse elements as dachshunds, samurai, schizophrenia, economic insecurity, panic rooms, octogenarians, corrosive paternalism, and Tasers, all together. Why read it? If you like dark fantasy (think Stephen King) and want–or need—an escape from life’s anxieties, it should deliver for you, or so my monkeys tell me.
What makes a good escape story? One that puts your life’s difficulties into healthy perspective: if, after reading a story, your personal concerns pale to the travails of your heroes and heroines, then you have successfully escaped.
More on Stephen King: though I enjoy his earlier, bloodbath-type novels (The Shining) and epics (The Stand), I really enjoy his later works (Duma Key, Joyland, Dr. Sleep) which emphasize character development; in particular, human frailties, basic integrity and the unconscionable choices people are sometimes forced to make. King introduces us to realistic, everyday characters—sometimes complex, sometimes not—who we enjoy cheering for (or hissing at).
A good escape story is one that, a few chapters in, or perhaps right away, we find ourselves concerned with the characters’ fates. A good escape tale finds us days or even weeks later questioning the character’s choices, wondering what we would have done had we been in their shoes. That is the essence of a good story: one satisfying our most curious monkeys.
Will 22 Dutch Road achieve that kind of success (be a good story)? Tell me what your monkeys tell you.