September 15, 2017 by T.E. Grau
I never know how long a story is going to be when I begin writing it. I have a rough idea, based on the scope of the plot and complexity of the narrative, but that’s always vague and never completely predictive. I only truly find out when it’s complete. Maybe I don’t have the proper control over the work I’m doing, or perhaps it’s more about trusting the story to tell me what it wants to be, how it wants to present itself to the world.
Stories are organic things, and shapeless when born, only firming up and taking their ultimate form when all is finally said, and all is finally done. Then and only then do we – meaning I – know the size of the thing we are dealing with. You don’t measure the size of paws, or the diameter of bones. There’s no extrapolation equation or scaling up ingredients. Stories grow like an unknown tree, reaching full maturity when its DNA says so.
I started I Am The River with the notion that it would end up a novella upon reaching maturity. My second overall, and my second book with the fine folks at Lethe Press. I was even hoping it would be a novella, as I had planned to save the “first novel!” milestone for my next project Salt Creek, which most certainly will be a novel at the very least (with plans to spin it out into other projects and mediums). How long and large that one will be remains to be seen, but I know that it will easily cross the size threshold into the vale of the proper, 100,000+ word novel.
But as I continued to write I Am The River, exploring its strange twists and turns as they were revealed to me, I watched as the book surpassed the word count of a standard novella, and flowed into short novel territory, where it quickly made itself at home and then sat down, its journey complete.
I trust this story. I like this story. I needed to change the “A Novella” to “A Novel” on the title page, which you can see covering the completed “Zero Draft” manuscript, completed on Sunday night, September 10th, 2017:
Now the careful task of editing begins. While I engage in this joyous exercise, you are free to pre-order I AM THE RIVER: A NOVEL via the Lethe Press website here. Word from the top says that if you pre-order before Halloween, you will be able to purchase the novel for a discounted novella price ($13.00), which is eight quarters less than the going rate ($15.00).
I Am The River: A Novel will be released in February, 2018 as a trade paperback and ebook, with the possibility of a hardcover edition in the works. Should a hardcover edition be made available, anyone who pre-orders a paperback copy before the release date can apply that credit to the hardcover.
From the Lethe Press website:
Coming February of 2018!
Special sale price of $13 lasts until November 1st
by T.E. Grau
During the last desperate days of the Vietnam War, American solider Israel Broussard is assigned to a secretive CIA PSYOP far behind enemy lines meant to drive terror into the heart of the North Vietnamese and end an unwinnable war. When the mission goes sideways, Broussard is plunged into a nightmare that he soon finds he is unable to escape, dragging a remnant of that night in the Laotian wilderness with him no matter how far he runs.
Five years later, too damaged to return home and holed up in the slums of Bangkok, where he battles sleep, guilt, and a creeping sense of madness, Broussard discovers that he must journey back to the jungles of Laos in an attempt to set things right and reclaim what is left of his life.
A fever dream with a Benzedrine chaser, I Am The River provides a daring, often surreal examination of the Vietnam War and the days after it, burrowing down past the bullets and battlefields to discover the lingering horror of warfare, the human consequences of organized violence, and the lasting effects of trauma on the psyche, and the soul.
T.E. Grau is the author of dozens of stories and other written works, including the books They Don’t Come Home Anymore, Triptych: Three Cosmic Tales, The Lost Aklo Stories, The Mission, and The Nameless Dark, which was nominated for a 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Single-Author Collection. Grau lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.