Meet My Character – Marked Descent

John Mantooth tagged me in a Meet My Character Blog Tour.

The idea is to talk a little about the main character in my work in progress, and introduce you to him ahead of the book. So, let’s just dive in.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
The name of my character is Harlan Winters. He’s a fictional person.

2) When and where is the story set?
The story is set in the greater Boston area in the present day.

3) What should we know about him/her?20140208_095341_Sophia_Peri2
Harlan is a tattoo artist who owns a shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While he’s successful with his work, his personal life is difficult due to a tragedy that killed his wife and one of his children.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
He hasn’t come to terms with the loss of his family and is suppressing the emotional issues he suffers from with avoidance and alcohol. He drinks to self-medicate, which has resulted in his estrangement from his surviving child. One day he finds a DVD in his mail. It’s an extreme amateur porno starring his missing nineteen-year-old daughter. The video sends him into a spiral of shame and anger and convinces him that he has to find her and try to repair their relationship. Using information he can glean from the video as a jumping off point, he descends into an ever increasingly dark world of exploitation and violence.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?
He is driven to reconcile or at least make amends for being absent when his daughter needed him.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
The working title for the book is MARKED DESCENT. So far, this is the most I’ve publicly written about it.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?
I am still working on it, and hoping to have it ready to sell later this year. Sorry, it’s going to be a little while before this one sees the light of day. But, to tide you over, here’s a little taste:

Harlan turned the video over. He didn’t recognize the girl on the front of the box. The back revealed a collage of young women–at least parts of them. The men were all reduced to the same single part. He guessed the jumble of images depicted the contents of the video inside. No matter how good an ‘actress’ any of these women were, the back of the box was enough to convince him there was real suffering on the disc. That, he imagined, is what made it porn. Fake wouldn’t be good enough for the guy who paid for his stroke videos. And if the promise was true, Harlan didn’t want to watch a minute of it.

He was no stranger to transgression. He’d tattooed things on people’s bodies that would shock a war criminal. He’d tattooed people in places that would make a torturer wince. But there were lines. He dealt in art and expression and empowerment. Fantasy, imagination, and wish-fulfillment. He wasn’t interested in real suffering. When friends online forwarded him videos of journalists getting their heads sawed off or cops choking or shooting black boys to death, he didn’t watch. He had enough atrocity on a loop in his head to last a lifetime. No need to add to it.
A line of text at the top of the box declared the video to be 100% HARDCORE! Beside that, a web address promised more of the same. At the bottom was printed a block of legal text in a microfont.

The clamshell case seemed to weigh a ton and was getting heavier. The weight he carried was already testing his limits, but there was always more to burden a life. Every day brought something new to pile on, making it harder to keep his head up. Harder to stay above the surface of the void swirling below him. And whenever it seemed like he was getting stronger, able to shoulder it all, old burdens returned with renewed gravity. Anniversaries, memorials, stumbled-upon reminders of the worst moments he’d experienced refreshed the load.

“What is it?”

“It’s from my parents.”

I hope you enjoyed that. Next week, look for a post from Christopher Irvin.

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~ by poǝןɔɐɯ uǝʞɔɐɹq on 19/09/2014.

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