Below is the author’s information for Unsolicited Press, which is publishing my novel, Terrane, in the fall of 2018. A sample chapter to be posted here soon.
Book Title: Terrane
Author: Philip Newton
Genre: Literary Fiction
Near death, Allen Wrangell rediscovers his lost love, only to face the possibility that she and the conflicts he faces with her are the hallucinations of a dying mind.
250-Word Summary of Collection:
Allen Wrangell is a terminally-ill, geology-obsessed loner who makes his way to an isolated mountain town to reconnect with Liz, a long-lost love. Allen takes a room at a bed and breakfast run by the enigmatic Maria and soon finds himself embroiled in a conflict with her abusive, alcoholic boyfriend. The drama is complicated by Allen’s growing suspicion that Liz, Maria–even Allen himself—might not really exist.
As Allen’s relationship with Maria deepens, he’s troubled by the knowledge that any new love is destined to be short-lived. Perspective and sanity are maintained to some degree when Allen meets Ted, the town’s mysterious bartender, who provides a safe refuge in his bar. Ted accepts Allen without judgment and through their conversations the fear and havoc of Allen’s haunted experience are made more manageable.
The conflict comes to a head when Allen is pummeled and jailed on apparently false charges by Maria’s boyfriend. Visited for the last time by Liz, it becomes clear to Allen that she is a mere phantom, and that he might in fact be completely delusional. Bailed out by Ted, Allen is recovering in the back of Ted’s bar when he finds Maria at his door. They make a decision to free themselves from the earthquake-doomed town and seek refuge farther up in the mountains, there to face whatever may come. In a nod to the story’s ambiguous reality, the last sentence of Terrane reads, as Allen and Maria approach their mountain refuge, They were almost there.
If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
I’d like to cook a hamburger for John Steinbeck, served with alcohol.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
Writing is terror. It has to be. That’s how it commands our attention. To engage emptiness and wrestle something out of it requires some muscle. It also requires humility and a willingness to not shy away from the fear and nakedness. The only way to overcome the terror of the word is to write the word, to invite it in, then follow it to the places it goes. When you do, you are free for a short season.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
What books are on your nightstand?
Deep Blues; Lord of the Rings; Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
The last three novels I wrote were taken directly from dreams. Conversations and glances between people who have strong feelings for each other start the wheels turning. The weather, particularly the change from one season to the next, always moves me to write. Geological features and geology in general inspire awe and meditation on the great motion of time. Observing animals, rivers, cloud formations, stars and planets, the passage of sun and moon, all these serve to draw me out of my ego and into something larger. Other writers inspire me, of course, but I prefer my voices to work their way up out of the soil.
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
The semicolon. I probably overuse it, but I love a writing implement that accomplishes multiple tasks, adding clarity while at the same time aiding sentence flow. The semicolon bends the whole idea of what it means to be a punctuation mark. It is not so much a mark as a smudge. A ghost.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
The Pilgrim’s Progress.
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
Why do you write? The first 5 words that come to mind. Go.
I write or I explode.
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
Forget your voice. Ignore your voice. Escape it. You are a room for other voices, a receiver and a transit point. A radiator. A refuge. Begin to listen to those other voices. They will make you fearless, happy and free.
Author’s Real Name: Philip Newton
Website (if applicable):
Title of Work: Terrane
Philip Newton is an author, poet and musician living in Oregon. His poems, articles and essays have recently appeared in Ink in Thirds, Here Comes Everyone, Coal Magazine, Ibis Head Review, Scriblerus Journal and others. His original music has been recorded on multiple studio albums and receives airplay worldwide. He is represented by Natalie Galustian at DHH Literary in London, UK.