Well, not very depressed. More like the kind of delicious depression we settle into when we watch a movie like Brokeback Mountain or read a book like A Separate Peace.
With the first edits done on Saturn in Retrograde, I’ve begun another project, tentatively called Billy’s Bones. (Not a great title, so I’ll probably change it.) Like By That Sin Fell the Angels, which I can’t wait to begin editing, this is a contemporary, and I’m going for a stark, realistic feel. Unlike By That Sin…, it’s a romance, so I’m hoping it will appeal to a wider audience.
Billy’s Bones is about a psychologist (Tom) and the suicidal patient (Kevin) he treats at the beginning of the novel. Kevin bails on the counseling, when things get too intense for him, but Tom meets up with him again years later, after buying a house in the country and discovering that Kevin is one of his neighbors. The two begin to fall in love (of course), but Kevin is haunted by repressed memories of a tragic series of events in his childhood and he can never be happy until the secret he’s buried is uncovered.
I won’t give specifics about the Deep Dark Secret, but really there aren’t a lot of childhood traumas to choose from in a story like this. We’re pretty much stuck with sexual abuse, physical violence in various forms, or traumatic events such as car accidents or fires.
As much as I love fantasy and science fiction, there’s something immensely satisfying about delving deep into the psyches of ordinary people who just happen to be screwed up. Not screwed up to the point of being serial killers (I went through a phase of loving serial killer books and films in college, and I’m pretty much done with that), but screwed up in a way that a lot of people are. Just magnify it a bit.