Monday, December 16, 2013
FUR PEOPLE: Guest blog post from author VICKI HENDRICKS
Vicki Hendricks is one hell of a fantastic novelist. Sometimes I think my fave novel of hers is VOLUNTARY MADESS ... but it might be CRUEL POETRY. Either would make for a cracking good read on a rainy weekend, but today I'm proud to offer her some space on my blog to talk about her new work. So without anymore blah blah blah from me, here's Vicki ...
I never thought I’d give up the gritty, depraved world of Florida-noir that started with Miami Purity in ’95—not for a minute —lose all those rough-talking bad boys and fatal women. How could I? But now Fur People, an animal-obsession novel with a dash of science fiction, was almost as much fun to write as one of my perverse romps. Of course, there were moments when I couldn’t escape my sleazy self—a horny rooster here . . . cunnilingual hamsters there . . . Those who have read my books shouldn’t be surprised. Dogs, cats, iguanas, rats, snakes, apes, and dolphins have always peopled my writing, often in strange roles, and I love them more than murder.
So I’ve left the tropical delights and sleazy characters of Miami to bring to life some nonhuman beings in Fur People. Thirteen dogs, eight cats, rabbits and ferrets—numbers rising—are some of the important characters. The main human, Sunny Lytle, piles them into a camper-school bus and heads for central Florida, hoping to build a life for her fur family and reconnect with her high school sweetheart. She wants to live among nature and avoid people with “more sense”—sounds so peaceful. It took writing the novel to convince me not to try it.
The story takes place in Deleon Springs, Florida, and one of the fun parts of writing this book was drifting down the spring run in a canoe, taking notes into a tape recorder, pretending I was accomplishing something. I never used any of it. But over the years, I’ve seen alligators and manatees in there, although I keep missing the devilish otters that my character in the book enjoys. Lately, bears have been spotted in the park, so I’m hoping for a bear encounter one of these days. The “man-eaten-by-bear” genre is one of my favorites—I’m sure I would be inspired.
Besides the pleasure of absorbing nature I also spent a lot of mornings in the Old Sugarmill Pancake Restaurant, just off of 17, north of Deland—I mention the location because you want to visit this place if you’re ever in the neighborhood. I spent many breakfasts gathering research, often in the form of chocolate chip, pecan, and banana pancakes. I have friends up there, so I built some of them in as minor characters.
I lived through many bittersweet memories writing this novel. My old roommate from college, who died a couple of years ago, lent me the personality of her German shepherd, Rufus. Pancho, the Chihuahua of my childhood, has a key role and Schmeisser, the German shepherd who was sent to join the Air Force when I was in high school. My sisters’ and mother’s dogs are there, my ferrets Sula and Ajax, as well as special cat and dog companions of friends. All of the animals are named to commemorate wonderful fur people I’ve known.
I guess don’t need tons of sex and murder to keep myself grinding away at the computer—they help, but there are many other delights.
-- Vicki Hendricks
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Check it out everyone by clicking HERE or HERE.
On a side note, I was supposed to have this post up yesterday and totally dropped the ball. My bad, Vicki.