After the intense roller coaster ride that was publishing Adaptation, I decided I needed a break. Not from writing, but from writing action and adventure. I’m pretty sure I came up with the idea about a bullet on a boring ride home (I try not to make a habit of day-dreaming while in traffic – it’s nearly gotten me into trouble on many occasions) and developed it over and around and worked at it until it sat nicely in my skull. The next time I got to sit down and write, the whole book burst out of my head and onto the page.
What I really wanted to do was write a book that was slow, easy and methodical. The kind of book to which you could sip a whiskey. The topic of a bullet implies action and speed. Indeed, when I brought it up at work, the second question was, “Does it actually get fired?” The first question, which is a little obvious looking back, was, “A whole book on, what, a single bullet?”
The answer to each of these questions is ‘yes’, in case you are wondering.
The contraptions, the door handle, the gantry, the clockwork-loading, shoulder mounted rifle, these are there to highlight the craftsmanship of the world in which the bullet was formed. The steampunk world asks the reader to believe that engineering and finely honed craft can solve just about any technological problem, and this suited the story of the Bullet perfectly.
I don’t believe in beating the punchline or moral of the story over the head of the reader. This is left up to you: make of it what you will. I have found, though, that readers vary wildly in their take on the underlying message(s) of the book. I’m happy to discuss what I think it all means but that can only be as a reader, not an author, for this story was written with no predetermined stance, no definite ‘this is how it has to be’ path.
I make one small apology (kind of a sorry – not sorry really) to the reader: I was reading Lovecraft just before writing it, and my desire for a book with an even tempo naturally meant that the structure was extruded. It is supposed to be a smooth and comfortable read, not a quick, snappy, fast paced one. And, for what it’s worth, I enjoyed writing and reading this book more than any so far.
Recently, I made an animation for The Bullet. A labour of love, I hope you enjoy it.
The cover art for The Bullet uses a modified image of a real bullet, with the backdrop of a typical turn of the (last) century factory in which the story starts.
You can find The Bullet in hard copy or eBook ($0.99) at: