Ever since Guitars and Cages, Layla Dorine has become one of my favorite authors, so having her here today is a joy.
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today to talk about Roadhouse Reds and Spider Webs
and Cover Art. So much of Roadhouse Reds was inspired by all of the time I spent in bars, little side of
the road dives, and darkened taverns all over the East Coast. I learned to bartend and loved waitressing
and even working behind the grill in the back if the need arose. It provided me with countless hours to
people watch as well as to interact with folks that otherwise, I’d likely never have talked to. I knew
plenty of people in those days who preferred working on the weekends because that’s when we were
busiest, but for me, the best part of the week to work was Monday through Thursday, because that was
when the ‘real’ people came in, not the party goers or the college kids or the idiots looking to blow off
steam because they’d had a shit week. You could talk to people in between pouring beers and refilling
coffees and sometimes a simple conversation could spark the wildest of daydreams.
The last time I worked in a bar and grill it was mostly in the kitchen, where I had a pretty boring view of
the field next door. Mostly sheep grazed in it, which wasn’t very amusing, but add in an active
imagination and a lot of reading at that time about haunted places and alien sightings and well,
Roadhouse Reds was born. Still it took about ten years from the time I wrote the first scene until the
time I wrote the ending and in between the ideas shifted and changed quite a bit. I’d thought it would
be something sweet, oddballs at the roadhouse teaching the alien how to fit in. Maybe see him trying to
mix drinks behind the bar or cook in the kitchen, experience his first crush on a human and how cute
and awkward he’d be.
Let me just say that nothing about Ano ki is cute or awkward, nor would sweet be a word that I would
use to describe him, and yet, in all the changes and evolution the idea of him underwent, Jason also
changed quite a bit too. In the end, I felt like I had as much of a beginning as I did an ending, and plenty
of room to write more stories featuring these guys.
When it comes to Spider Webs and Cover Art, the call for submission was what really caught my
attention. Asking writers to craft stories to bring attention to the semi-colon tattoos made me think
about events in my own past. When I was 19 a close friend took his life, leaving behind questions,
confusion and grief. It’s been 20 years and the memory of him hasn’t faded, nor has my confusion over
why he chose to do what he did. I tried to pour all of the feelings and emotions that I carried with me
regarding his suicide into Spider Webs and Cover Art. I’m pretty sure I spilled as many tears as words,
I’m pretty sure I’ll spill more when I go get my own tattoo in a few days, one that is described in the
story as the one that Jace goes into the tattoo parlor to get. I do think it is very important to open the
door to talk about the effects of suicide and mental health issues because sometimes the connections
we make are the only things that help us handle all of the confusion and grief we are left with.
I’d like to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to talk about my stories.