Art and entertainment made the world smaller long before on-line communities showed up on the scene. While books, music, and art sparked conversation, one rarely had the opportunity to actually converse with the creator. Lucky for us, that’s not the case anymore. R. Thomas Brown is one of those artists you read and you either want to have a beer with or run away from him.
I mean, what kind of twisted guy comes up with stories like he does? He dropped by to share his inspiration for his novel, Hill Country (including tunage).
Why would you write that?
It’s a question I get pretty often when friends and family read Hill Country. And it’s a fascinating question. Well, what they’re really asking is “What else is that sick mind of yours thinking about?”
That’s not very interesting. The answer is “even worse things.” But, the original question is worth thinking about. Why did I write it? Not why did I write something, but why this book? These people? This plot?
Well, the idea for the plot came first. It was the Maltese Falcon. Really. People searching for something valuable. They have no idea where it is, but they think they know who might know. When they do find it, it doesn’t have the value they thought it did. That’s the tiny kernel of an idea that spawned the story (oh, and, yes, the reference to the film in the book was intentional).
Then came the place. I’m a suburban guy. Have been most of my life. Right now I am surrounded by big box stores, chain restaurants and similar looking homes. Not as similar as my last house, but still. And, I like. It’s comfortable for me and the family. It also drives me nuts. There’s an oppressive sameness about it all. So, I went far away. To a small town that my cousins lived in for a few years. I built a little town that had the character that is lacking in so much of urban sprawl.
Now, the people, they’re all around me. Not the killers. No, that’s just imagination at work. But all the people that populate the town. They’re all around me. Always have been. See, I’m not just a suburban guy, I’m a suburban Texas guy. I’ve never lived anywhere else. I know lots of people in the same boat. They live in that book. The story doesn’t spend lots of time dwelling on the unique character of them, but I think the nature of the people comes out.
The rest of the stuff. The killing, the sex, the drugs. Well, I just thought it fit, and it was damned fun to write. Especially the cursing. Fuck a ring-tailed lemur, I loved the cursing.