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Should James Write an American Epic?
Crackpot Mailbox: Sam Finlay Has an Idea for a Fiction Project
Sam’s Prompt
Would James Write and American Epic?
Listening to the latest, and when y'all got to servitude in early America, and I thought it would be a great platform for an American epic like Louis L'Amor's Sackett series or John Jake's North and South Books. Couple of brothers sold into slavery and escape (or get separated): one ventures to sea as a pirate, and another joins into an Indian tribe. Later on they get reunited. Maybe keep advancing through the generations into 21st Century crisis-US. James' Big Ol' American Epic. All that stuff he's learned embedded into a sweeping tale of a family enduring the glory and tragedies as an empire rose and fell.

Sam, I’m really flattered that you think I could pull this off.
I did like L’Amour’s Sacket series and concept and particularly the prequel novels like To the Far Blue Hills and Fair Blows the Wind. However, I have a weakness as a writer. I need to be interested in something to write about it. I can read almost anything. But to write it, I have to care.
I am already into a series of novels on Plantation America, which I will continue until I get kicked off of patreon, and then abruptly stop. I do not intend to do any Plantation America fiction post 1775, when source material magically dries up and the very muses seems to have been strangled in their beds by the gatekeepers of The Lie Eternal. I’d have to be a professional academic to get access to those hidden archives. The sequel to Sold, is Bound, which I will start this month and possibly never finish, depending on how patreon holds up. It will take about 18 months for me to finish that one. After that, if people are still putting up with me, I’ll start writing short fiction set in Plantation America with historical notes, much like L’Amour did with his anthologies.
I have only ever done two epic works of fiction, The Sunset Saga [which I trimmed from 24 to 12 volumes] and The Jericho Bone set: including Fruit of the Deceiver, Forty Hands of Night, Yusef of the Dusk, Ire and Ice and Drink Deep of Night.
The latter set has sold less than 2 copies each.
The Sunset Saga has done far worse.
Much of this has to do with the fact that people who tend to like to read a long series of fiction, like a lot of feel good sentimentality and that’s just not my gig. I’m giving The Sunset Saga to a friend, who actually read and likes it, and I have agreed to write the 12th volume for him. Interestingly, researching this series started the Plantation America project!
I just don’t have the guts for a series of novels and am actually trying never to write another novel. I am working on finishing various novels that have been in the works and have promised myself only to do novelettes or novellas in the future. Honestly, I lose heart in a project that has no readership.
I never wanted to write more than Stillbirth of a Nation and America in Chains for Plantation America. But then people got interested and started sending me source material. So I’m elbow deep into this shit that is going to get all of my content pulled down one day—wasting my fucking time because I promised a bunch of unnamed and forgotten souls that I’d try and write them an epigram. I am totally hating writing American Spartacus—like having my teeth pulled one at a time by some dentist with advanced arthritis. I only wrote Sold and am writing Bound for money—my whore wages.
The fiction I care about—by definition won’t sell because it’s weird shit that strikes my fancy—I’m keeping at under a 4-hour read out of respect for the eyes of my fiction readers, who seem to be folks who read a lot. As a big reader I have always resented the thickly-padded novels of such as King, Martin and Rowling as an imposition on time better spent on reading history. So I will promise to continue in L’Amour’s shoes where novel length is concerned, shorter being better.
Thanks so much for your interest, Sam.
I’ll send you my morose catholic novel when it is done and see what you think. It was going to be three volumes, but knowing that it has a bleak ending, I couldn’t do that to my only two fantasy readers.
Oh, back to my point about having to be interested in something. I’ve never been interested in American History or America—this is just my cell-block on this savage planet of the apes I’ve been marooned on for God knows what untold sins. American history only became interesting to me when I found out it was all a lie! Writing north of 1775 would require a youthful energy I lack, resources I will never have and access I could never have. In other words, I’d have to do so much research to bring the concept forward past 1775 that I’d be another ten years researching it.
I am committed to finishing American Spartacus in late 2020 and keeping it under 1,500 pages.
The Thirteenth Tribe is such a distasteful exercise I expect to short shrift that tome in in 2021, keeping it under 500 pages.
That leaves Plantation America: A History Denied for 2022, a book I intend to chunk out like the whore of whores, L. Ron Hubbard, in a mania to be freed from the accursed subject.
Honestly, 2022 seems like its gulfs away and I might end up just dawdling along with the final volume until my eyes are used up and letting Miss Lockhart deal with the mess when I finally weary of it too much to care.
Thanks for the support, Sam!
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