Sunday, January 08, 2012

Red Asphalt: Do You Believe in Magic?

In honor of RED ASPHALT's ascension to a 2011 Top Ten list (seen here at Author Tom Amo's blog), here is an oldie but a goodie about said novel written by yours truly.

RED ASPHALT is about a guy named Calvin Wheeler, a dreamer in denial of his own reality. He feels shackled to his everyday life, a seemingly normal existence that he considers a prison. It's all because he aspires to greater things. He believes that he was put on this earth for a very special reason. Unfortunately, because he has to co-exist with the rest of the world, he thinks that his potential is being squandered and this great gift of his is slipping away from his fingers the longer he has to conform to a society that he wants nothing to do with.
Calvin is under the impression that he could very well be the next George Lucas. He has been working on a novel for almost a decade, one that considers has the potential to explode into a major phenomenon with unlimited franchise potential. He calls his book ABRACADABRA. It’s a massive, colossal fantasy epic that mashes sword and sorcery together with science fiction and world history into one big ass casserole.Calvin is so convinced of its success that he is staking his entire life on it to the exclusion of everything else, including his job, his marriage and his own sanity.
For Calvin, his novel is a do-or-die situation, in more ways than one. The book becomes an all-consuming obsession for him. It's a romantic notion to say quote yet another movie because that's what I do...there's a line in a great film written and directed by John Milius called THE WIND AND THE LION when Sean Connery says "Is there not one thing in your life that is worth losing everything for?" For Calvin, his "one thing" is his book and he has staked everything on it.
So is Calvin a good writer? He could be. He has a lot of good ideas, but he's never completed anything, nor has he shown any of his work to anybody. He tells his wife about the book. He even discusses its progress with her. But he's never shown any of it to anybody including his wife. He wants to wait until it's finished and it may never be done. ABRACADABRA represents a sanctuary for Calvin. He's safe when he's working on it. Since he's been beginning lose a few marbles, it's always been there for him. Once it's done, he'll have nothing else, nowhere else to go. He'll have to deal with the reality of getting the damn thing published and therefore, out of his control. He wants to succeed, but only on his own terms and it don't work like that. Somebody's going to have to read the damn thing eventually. It keeps it to himself, how will he ever succeed? Does it make ABRACADABRA a book at all? It's that hoary old cliche of the tree that falls in the forest making a sound or not. But that's not even Calvin's biggest problem. Time's a wastin' and he damn well knows it. He's been working on ABRACADABRA for so long that it's starting to fade away from him and he knows that. He hasn't even begun to assemble a workable first draft, opting to just work out the story details first. After seven years, it’s has worn out its welcome before he's even begun. Time is constant. It won’t stop anyone or anything, least of all Calvin. Now time is running out.
At one point, Calvin says, "Without magic, there is nothing." When his world crashes in on him, he begins to think that magic is nothing more than tricks we play on ourselves. When he realizes what his delusions have cost him, Calvin loses his way back to reality.

RED ASPHALT is available in paperback, download and on Amazon Kindle. For more info, visit
Thomas Amo is the author AN APPLE FOR ZOE and LET'S GET LADE both available on Kindle
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