It’s always great to find an author who gets it! Eyre Price is just one of them cats. His first book, ‘Blues Highway Blues‘, got into my hands by just asking him for it. When I started reading the first chapter (I guess i should say first paragraph) I was somewhat perturbed by what I thought was going to be a run of the mill, non-creative Blues rip-off novel. Well when I finished reading the first chapter I was declaring it the 2012 Blues Book of the Year winner in the ‘Jimi’ Awards.
Since then Mr. Price has offered up two books and his third is due out shortly this year. All these are part of his series which is grouped as ‘A Crossroads Thriller‘
I admire folks who can get their act together to actually write a book, how they do it amazes me and Eyre was kind enough to open up and chat about the process and his inspirations – I know that you will enjoy this chat and please do get yer hands on his books. Go to the library if ya must, but better to buy them and support this cat in what he does for us all. Oh yeah, I made it easy for you to order the books thru Amazon, just click on the titles the first time they appear in the article.
B411: You’ve written three published books in the Crossroads series, what’s the source of your ideas?
Eyre Price: I wish I knew. For some writers the process is a very intellectual one, they think and plan everything out. For me the process is a very primal one, because almost everything I’ve ever written comes to me in dreams. I’ll have a germ of an idea, some little thing that gets caught in my brain, and then one day I drift off to sleep and the whole things just comes to me at once, like watching a movie. So, for me, writing is just making sense of that dream.
B411: Do you have a regular process for putting a novel together?
EP: I should. But I don’t. It all starts with that dream, but once I’ve got that, then I start working it out into a novel. But it always takes different paths. For example, the third book, STAR KILLER STAR was already written and turned into my editor when a number of factors came into play and caused me to take the book back and almost completely rewrite it.
Basically, a close friend of mine read ROCK ISLAND ROCK (Crossroads #2) and then called me up to ask me “Are you all right?” I went back to the book (which I almost never do) and realized there was an unintended darkness in the path the series was taking. That darkness was not only coloring my work, but it was seeping into my life. So I took back STAR KILLER STAR and rewrote it to reflect a more positive outlook—and, hopefully, write myself a happier ending.
B411: How do you research your books? The violence seems…authentic. And there’s a reverence for the Blues reflected in them.
EP: I like to travel when I can. When I wrote BLUES HIGHWAY BLUES, my son and I went down and actually drove the route depicted in the book. That experience was invaluable and I think gave the book a feel that was necessary to make it work.
When it came time to write the second book, money was an issue and traveling was out of the question. That type of research is a great luxury and most writers simply can’t afford it. And I was very conscious of that. I wasn’t as confident writing that book as I wish I had been. When it came time to write the third book, I simply set it in places I’d already been. Except for London.
When it came to the London scenes, I relied on my friend, novelist, Robert Pobi, who did his best to lead me about. Rob also set me up to interview his friend, Murray Head, who’s a walking-talking encyclopedia of rock-n-roll history.
As for the violence in my books, it pours naturally from my dark heart, but I’m not a violent man. It was never my intention to include gratuitous violence, but at the heart of the Crossroads series is an Everyman who’s just come to the end of his rope. And so I think the violence in my writing is the violence that is safely contained in me—and in most of us. Civilization is a very thin coat of paint and it doesn’t take all that much to scrape that away and reveal some very bad things in all of us.
And as for the Blues…sometime during my trip to the Delta while writing BHB, I was overcome by the feeling of what it must have been like to have been a Bluesman, traveling the highways in the 1920s or 30s. We all know dozens of legends who walked that road, but there are just so many people who traveled the same way and played the same music and then disappeared into time. And I just can’t shake their songs.
In that way, I truly believe that there is something sacred about Blues music. I’m a huge music fan. I don’t think there’s a genre that doesn’t contain something I enjoy. But Blues music is different from them all in that this is music that people lived and died for. There is blood in the Blues. And it taps into something far greater than the player or the audience or the song. Whether it’s magic or some spirituality, whatever you want to call it, when the Blues is played the way it’s supposed to be played, you have to step back and regard it with reverence. And I certainly do.
B411: Who is Daniel Erickson, the main character in the Crossroads series?
EP: I’ve learned there’s no place to hide on a blank page. So Daniel started out as a very different man and then somewhere along the line became me. And on the other side of the equation, I became him. He’s a man who just wants to love and be loved by a woman, but when that bottom drops out from beneath him, he’s forced to confront the man that he really is. He’s a walking dead man.
B411: What’s next?
EP: Daniel and the whole Crossroads gang are back for STAR KILLER STAR, the third book in the series is coming out June, 24th. After that, I’ve got a number of projects I can’t wait to get to. I’m in the development stages of a collaborative project with the great Omar (and the Howlers) Dykes that I think is going to be something really, really special. I’ve got a novel–it’s a bit of departure for me–that takes an unsettling look at how someone might react to a personal betrayal. There’s a horror novella that I hope will serve as a prequel to a full novel. And I’m working on a book with my eleven year old son, Dylan, who’s already a better storyteller than I’ll ever be.
And of course, Crossroads #4 – PIRATE RADIO PIRATE should be out in June 2015.
B411: How will you know when it’s over?
EP: I suppose the short answer is, when the dreams stop coming.
But I really look at the first three books in the series as just warm-up exercises. When I put STAR KILLER STAR to bed, I really felt like I was just getting a hang of it and the characters were just beginning to tell their story. The first three books cover a short period of time in which these characters undergo some pretty radical changes. They’re just starting to get a sense of themselves and what they need to do. I’m really excited about taking this road wherever it leads.
At the same time, I’m conscious that it’s always best to leave the road before you get to the end of the line. Although they’ve drifted and dealt with other musical genres, at its heart the Crossroads series is a Blues story. I won’t try to keep telling it if I feel it’s lost that spirit. So, I guess, the spirit will let me know…
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Where Blues Thrives