When I heard that my good friend and favorite writer, Michael Williams, was doing a blog book tour, I begged for a spot. AND I GOT ONE! I told him I posted about doors on Thursdays, AND HE SENT ME A DOOR PHOTO AND POSTED DOORISHLY!
Michael has teamed with the amazing Seventh Star Press to reissue the two City books I’ve already read plus two new ones as The City Quartet. I can’t wait for all four to be (re)issued so I can buy them all and binge-read them!
Y’all, this is Such. Good. Stuff.
Dry Salvages Book Store was the poor man’s university, a place for readers in a non-reading town. John Bulwer ran the premises like a dissipated Buddha, handing out insight and cigarettes to his clientele. It was where a customary magic ruled, where the talk ranged leftward in current events, and where Dominic Rackett had just started work.DOMINIC’S GHOSTS, by Michael Williams
That’s some good writin’, right there.
And now, here is Michael’s door and the post which he calls “Landing.”
by Michael Williams
From the second-floor landing of our house, four doors, an arch and the stairway create a tight hexagon, a vantage point to six directions in which the upper story branches. Spots such as this one began to fascinate me early on in the process of writing the City Quartet: how open and yet enclosed the little area was, how portals from different rooms converge on a solitary space.
The city in the Quartet is like that space: it’s permeable and branching rather than tight and linear. There are many ways to enter it. A novel, on the other hand, by necessity cleaves to the shape of a book, building its world from beginning to end, the first to the last page. The exceptions to this are few. I think of “choose your own adventure” books and experimental, academic fictions, neither of which are intended as novelistic storytelling. I began to wonder what might happen if the novel’s linearity was somehow relaxed, and I wondered how and why I would want to do such a thing, aside from setting myself a kind of storytelling challenge.
Experience comes at us from all sides. Space is not the shortest distance between two points, and things happen simultaneously, related by meaning rather than through the lockstep march of cause and effect. A fiction that tries to reflect this more omni-directional way of perceiving the world can be more realistic and more magical at the same time—realistic in that it anchors a reader in a way of being that feels more plausible, and magical in that it can suggest convergences and connections that we know are around us, somewhere beneath the surface of our senses, setting afloat our consensus reality on the cloudy, deep waters of the way we sense things really are.
To some degree, all world-building novelists create landings at the top of their stairwells. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is a place of many more stories than the ones he traces through his major novels, while Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County and Garcia Marquez’s Macondo are fictional places that become real through the fabric of their novels. I could never match the monumental achievement of these writers, but can at least claim to be trying a form and a tactic slightly different, whether it is successful or not.
Because my city (Louisville Kentucky and “not-Louisville” simultaneously) not only sets and shapes the actions of the novels, but each of the four novels creates inroads into the fictional city, their plots brushing against each other, sometimes in cameo and other times in a manner more sustained. The Quartet is not a sequence or series: readers may pick up any volume first, as a door that will lead them onto the landing that is the city. Whatever novel they pick up next will enable them to revisit the place, not only seeing the same sites and locales, but catching a side-eyed view of the stories of the other books, as each unfolds on its own and makes conversation with the others, suggesting not only a connection among the novels but among stories yet to be told (after all, there’s a door behind my camera, an arch, and a stairway—what you see is only half the landing). I hope that the Quartet suggests, in the stories it tells and does not tell, the profound connection of all things in the city and some of the things between us and among us.
Get ready to explore a gem of mythic fiction in Michael Williams’ Dominic’s Ghosts Blog Tour. Taking place February 13-20, 2019, this blog tour celebrates a new stand-alone novel in Michael’s ambitious City Quartet.
Atmospheric and thought-provoking, Dominic’s Ghosts will take you on a unique kind of journey that involves a conspiracy, legends, and insights from a film festival!
About the Author:
Over the past 25 years, Michael Williams has written a number of strange novels, from the early Weasel’s Luck and Galen Beknighted in the best-selling DRAGONLANCE series to the more recent lyrical and experimental Arcady, singled out for praise by Locus and Asimov’s magazines. In Trajan’s Arch, his eleventh novel, stories fold into stories and a boy grows up with ghostly mentors, and the recently published Vine mingles Greek tragedy and urban legend, as a local dramatic production in a small city goes humorously, then horrifically, awry.
Trajan’s Arch and Vine are two of the books in Williams’s highly anticipated City Quartet, to be joined in 2018 by Dominic’s Ghosts and Tattered Men.
Williams was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent much of his childhood in the south central part of the state, the red-dirt gothic home of Appalachian foothills and stories of Confederate guerrillas. Through good luck and a roundabout journey he made his way through through New England, New York, Wisconsin, Britain and Ireland, and has ended up less than thirty miles from where he began. He has a Ph.D. in Humanities, and teaches at the University of Louisville, where he focuses on the he Modern Fantastic in fiction and film. He is married, and has two grown sons.
Synopsis of Dominic’s Ghosts:
Dominic’s Ghosts is a mythic novel set in the contemporary Midwest. Returning to the home town of his missing father on a search for his own origins, Dominic Rackett is swept up in a murky conspiracy involving a suspicious scholar, a Himalayan legend, and subliminal clues from a silent film festival. As those around him fall prey to rising fear and shrill fanaticism, he follows the branching trails of cinema monsters and figures from a very real past, as phantoms invade the streets of his once-familiar city and one of them, glimpsed in distorted shadows of alleys and urban parks, begins to look uncannily familiar.
Tour Schedule and Activities
2/13 Ravenous For Reads www.ravenousforreads.com Author Interview
2/13 Breakeven Books https://breakevenbooks.com Guest Post
2/14 Marian Allen, Author Lady www.MarianAllen.com Guest Post
2/15 Inspired Chaos http://inspiredchaos.weebly.com/blog Guest Post
2/16 I Smell Sheep http://www.ismellsheep.com/ Guest Post
2/16 The Book Lover’s Boudoir https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpress.com/ Review
2/17 Jorie Loves A Story http://jorielovesastory.com Review/Author Interview
2/18 The Seventh Star www.theseventhstarblog.com guest Post
2/18 Willow’s Thoughts and Book Obsessions http://wssthoughtsandbookobsessions.blogspot.com/ Review
2/18 The Horror Tree www.Horrortree.com Guest Post
2/19 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews www.sheiladeeth.blogspot.com Guest Post
2/20 Jazzy Book Reviews https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/ Top Tens List
Amazon Links for Dominic’s Ghosts
Barnes and Noble Link for Dominic’s Ghosts: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dominics-ghosts-michael-williams/1129262622?ean=9781948042581
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Take a place and list the places that lead from it. Think about all the overlapping stories that suggests. Not to put myself on Michael’s level, but my Spadena Street stories and forthcoming novels do this a bit, all featuring people who live on the fictional Spadena Street.