Meatworks Blog Tour
We want to take this opportunity to welcome Jordan Castillo Price to our blog on her blog tour for new release Meatworks. As a fan of Jordan's work I can tell you how happy we are to have her with us. Of course I'm a little pleased that one of the aspects that Jordan has chosen to share with us is an aspect that fascinates me. If you haven't already read Veronica Vishous' review of Meatworks check it out here.
Let's see what Jordan has to share with us after the jump.
Do Your Research!
Research can make or break a story. While nobody knows everything, a single glaring flaw can tear a reader out of a story, sometimes permanently. I nearly made my robots out of an unlikely material, for instance. It was a metal I picked because it was highly conductive. Luckily, there’s a scientist in my critique group who explained to me that it was totally nasty and wouldn’t work whatsoever in robotics, but he gave me some suggestions of what would. Maybe no one else would have known the difference…or maybe someone would have had a big one-star temper tantrum about my shoddy research on Amazon for the whole world to see!
I do my best to ensure my lack of research doesn’t cause undue distress. In Meatworks I took several approaches:
Online - Wikipedia is always a great place to start. What a gift, I don’t know what we’d do without it. A classic car plays a crucial role in the store, so I had to do lots of research to determine what sort of car I wanted it to be, what year, and what was special about it. I chose a ’78 AMC Gremlin. And while Wikipedia was helpful, forums are the real gold mine. It was on specialty car community pages and forums that I really got to understand what it was that people dug about their old Gremlins.
YouTube - Another online goldmine is YouTube. Desmond Poole is an electrician by trade, and to write from his point of view convincingly, I had to come off as if I knew how to repair a refrigerator, change a spark plug, and make a weld. I must’ve watched this one guy on YouTube change a spark plug at least twenty times. (And I probably still couldn’t change a spark plug myself if my life depended on it.) I have welded before. Well, I tried to. Mainly I just blew holes through the metal.
Interview - It must have been fate. My main characters in Meatworks are both amputees, and I know a prosthetist. When I was thinking about the story, I was at a club where a mutual friend was playing, and I thought, “Man, it’d be so cool if Honkytonk Fil was here so I could pick his brain,” and lo and behold, before the set was over, he’d come and sat down next to me. I kid you not. Fil told me all kinds of stuff I never would have picked up from Wikipedia, and the story is infinitely richer for our conversation.
Visit - Meatworks is set in Buffalo, and although I grew up there, the last time I visited I made sure and did a drive-around to grab some photos and refresh my memory. One thing I didn’t mention about the neighborhood Riverside was the pervading stench of rotting marine life. I’d hate for a real-life detail to ruin the verisimilitude of the story!
Phew! It’s a wonder anyone gets anything right. And to top it off, it’s very possible to let your research infuse your story too much, to over-explain minutiae and boring details just because they were difficult for you to discover and you think the inclusion will make you look smart. One year, a special edition Gremlin was released with denim upholstery. It was tempting to include that because it was such an odd detail. And yet, in the end I decided it was such a weird detail it would take away from the rest of the story by drawing too much attention to itself.
Here’s some Buffalo detail from Meatworks….
People like Pam generally didn’t get the allure of train tracks and viaducts and abandoned riverfront warehouses. While north side snobs like her went to prom, Riverside scumbags like me were drinking Molsons when we could get someone to buy for us, and huffing airplane cement when we couldn’t. Knocking up tenth-graders—or, in my case, on my knees in the mud with some skeevy kid who would’ve graduated three, four years before me if he hadn’t jumped the gun and dropped out. Where? Not in rented limos like the fancy brats. Hell, no. Our limos were the train tracks, the viaducts, and the bellies of the abandoned warehouses. And they didn’t last only that single night. I lived the glory that whole summer.
Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.
Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.
Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.
Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, "light as a feather, stiff as a board," and boys in eyeliner.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who's plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made...one client at a time.