What you’re seeing above is a very small glimpse of Daniele Serra’s beautiful work for OCTOBER ANIMALS. And, besides some snippets published online and in my newsletter (which you should subscribe to), this art makes the book finally feel… real. If that makes sense? I mean, I wrote the damned thing, you think it’d be real to me. But, you know, life has been rough.
I first mentioned working on a (then untitled) novella back in May of 2020. At the time, I had just wrapped GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST and I had a whole summer before me. I was still toying with the idea of THE BODY IS A MACHINE THAT MAKES GHOSTS, but I was exhausted and the thought of jumping into that massive book made my hair stand on end. I thought that I, and I quote, “… may grease the wheels, so to speak, by firing off a novella before diving headlong into such a big book.” Well, that post was written just over two years ago. The wheels have, uh, been greased.
OCTOBER ANIMALS, finally, marches to completion. As of right now, there are a trio of chapters to draft, and then the whole thing will get a polish or two (I edit as I write, generally) and then the manuscript will go to the printers. I am working against a deadline of October 15th. I am, however, pretty good with deadlines, so I don’t foresee blowing this. And, after all that, the book will come out early in 2023. For those counting, that’s three years, give or take.
Three years for what will be a book clocking in at about 20-25 thousand words.
I can’t beat myself up too much. A whole metric fuckton of shit happened. Pandemic stuff, a bunch of people (including my father) died, schools shut down and suddenly I was homeschooling, everything outside was on fire all the time, and there was a cross-country move. And, of course, all this tumultuous shit really derailed the novella as I had initially envisioned it, and the book became an entirely new thing along the way. For the better, too, if I am being honest. If anything, I guess I’m happy that OCTOBER ANIMALS is getting finished at all.
If you’re not familiar with the book in question, here’s a fancy logline:
Four friends concoct a Halloween heist to escape their small town, but supernatural forces and monstrous local legends threaten to destroy the OCTOBER ANIMALS.
Loglines are funny things. By their terse nature, I find them to be deceiving, and that’s no different here. Yes, if broken down to its most basic, the narrative is “about” that, but reading the book will be a wholly different experience. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to do just that.
All said and done, it will have taken me twice the amount of time to finish OCTOBER ANIMALS than it did GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST. These characters really laid a hand on my shoulders and told me not to worry, that they were in charge of the narrative, now, and I should just sit back and be a good vessel. Like I said, OCTOBER ANIMALS has been a ride.