Author Ian Lewis is helping me kick off the new week. We’re chatting about his thriller, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet.
Ian Lewis prefers not to be bound by a particular genre. Though the inspiration for his work varies, it often finds roots in something he dreamt. He strives for a gritty realism and maintains an interest in the humanity of his characters. His hope is that readers find themselves haunted by his stories in the sense that the narrative sticks with them long after they've finished reading, leaving them with a subtle restlessness for more.
Mr. Lewis is the author of The Camaro Murders, Lady in Flames, and Power in the Hands of One, all novellas. His first full length novel, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet, was released in April of 2016. He has been writing since 2002.
Welcome, Ian. Please tell us about your current release.
The first of a two-part series, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet is a somewhat dystopian thriller that features an alternate history of the United States. The recession of 2008 leads to full economic collapse. Fast forward to 2013 where the story begins, and the country has split into two governments: the Directorate in the East and the United States Valiant in the West.
The story follows several plot lines that tie together in unexpected ways: a would-be assassin, a nomadic survivalist, a preacher turned vigilante, a rookie spy, and a single mother trying to provide for her family.
What inspired you to write this book?
Many of the characters were inspired by coworkers of mine because we had an inside joke where we were characters in a dystopian version of the United States. I always told them I’d write a book about it, just for fun. I didn’t initially intend to release it; however, the story took on a life of its own. At its core, the book is meant to serve as an allegory for failed partisan politics. The idea is that despite the public animosity between our two parties, the representatives from either side of the aisle are really the same people. They’re just as corrupt and untrustworthy as the other.
Excerpt from Godspeed, Carry My Bullet:
Bobby halted and cringed like he’d been caught. He felt as though he had an “I’m carrying a gun” sign taped to his back. He turned to fully face the approaching MP.
The MP strode in short, quick steps. His brow lined his face like the unbreakable edge of a knife. The man’s eyes bulged with an accusatory glare. “Let’s see some ID,” he said.
Bobby considered running, but only for a moment. He instead paused for a long exhale and reminded himself that he wasn’t yet guilty. The MP had made no such proclamation. Bobby knew he was only being stopped because that was what was promised by the flyers posted the day before. “Sure, hang on a minute.”
“I need your labor card and driver’s license.” The MP continued to glare, his eyes drilling imaginary holes.
Bobby nodded, never taking his eyes off of the other man’s MP5 which could pepper him full of 9mm bullets before he could protest. He reached into his back pocket with his free hand and then laid the duffel near his feet so he could fish out his IDs. Please don’t ask about the bag, he thought as he handed over the plastic cards.
The MP breathed in heavy rasps while sweat beaded at his hairline. He examined both IDs and looked at Bobby’s face. Then he looked at the IDs again before handing them back to Bobby. “You on your way to work?”
“Yes, sir.” Bobby didn’t want to divulge any more information than required. He kept a straight face and maintained eye contact.
“What’s in the bag?” The man nodded to the duffel.
Bobby felt all the confidence drain from him. He hoped his color had not followed. It was all he could do to keep his eyes from wavering. Inside, he cursed himself for not having a better plan. This would be his undoing. “Just some clothes. I’m donating them to the poor.”
The MP narrowed his eyes and shifted his weight to the other foot. His grim line of a mouth suggested he wasn’t convinced. “Open the bag.”
Open the bag? Open the bag!? Bobby couldn’t hesitate. To do so would appear suspicious. His only hope now was that the man would fail to dig to the bottom. Fear and remorse mixed into a nauseous swirl inside him. He felt sick and weak, flushed and wobbly. “Sure, no problem.” He leaned over to unzip the bag.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Godspeed, Carry My Bullet. I hope to release it in 2018. In the meantime, I hope to release a completed novel in 2017 that will stand as the third entry in a loose series featuring a character known as the Driver, who appears in The Camaro Murders and Lady in Flames.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I received a contract from Untreed Reads for The Camaro Murders. For me, that was validating. Despite the fact that it was a novella in eBook form, I could honestly tell people that I was a published author.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t have the luxury of writing full-time. So I have to make time to write, which means my lunch break at work as well as at night after everyone goes to bed.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I get a lot of my ideas from music. Many times a particular song will have the right vibe or the right lyric to get the creative juices flowing. Often times it’s the theme or mood of an entire album. I think the idea started out with wanting to attempt to write a story based on a Pixies album. I wanted to take the lyrics and make up a story where each song would be a chapter. I never actually did this, but I still think it would be an interesting exercise.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A fighter pilot.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love when readers provide constructive reviews. If you read anything of mine, please take the time to leave your thoughts. You can purchase Godspeed, Carry My Bullet from your favorite eBook retailer, for only .99 cents during the month of August. Check out the landing page for links. It also never hurts to check out my back catalog with Untreed Reads.
Thanks for being here today, Ian!