Barb Goffman—whose story “Ulterior Motives,” appears in RIDE 2—tagged me in the Next Big Thing blog chain, which is authors answering ten specific questions about their books. I said SURE! and set a calendar alarm to write my blog entry, because I am responsible like that. (Also because with twins and jobs and RIDE and stuff, if it doesn’t have an iCal alarm, it doesn’t exist.)

So today the alarm went off, and I wrote about RIDE 2, which will be out in a week if people will just stop paying me to design other books for a few hours.


RIDE 2 cover

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wanted to read a book of short stories about bicycles, but there wasn’t one. So I posted a call for submissions on my blog, and at the end of 2011, I published RIDE. I design books and produce ebooks for a living, so except for making time for all the work, I didn’t need to worry about that part of it.

It didn’t sell a zillion copies, but people in bicycling were enthusiastic about it, and I wanted to read another one, so I posted another call for submissions at my blog…

What genre does your book fall under?

From the beginning, I wanted a mix of genres. I mostly listen to music in shuffle mode; I like the chance juxtapositions and weird contrasts. Nine Inch Nails followed by Floyd Cramer? Nice. Floyd opens for Congotronics? And then Youssou N’Dour sings something Egyptian, followed by a cut from the new Ethel album, a cue from Ry Cooder’s Crossroads soundtrack, and a Danny Kaye and Jimmy Durante novelty number? Lovely. Jarring. Pleasurable.

Some of my favorite moments are when I can’t tell whether some cool piece of sound is a study in tone that’s going to slowly mutate for a while, or the introduction to something in pop form, so the drums are about to start whacking away in 4/4. Not knowing forces me to withhold judgment, and to take each moment of the piece in on its own terms, not the terms of the genre I’ve been told to judge it by, or previous things I’ve heard the same artist do.

RIDE 2 has crime; it has non-crime written by a crime author; it has poetry masquerading as prose; it has story disguised as poetry; it has visions, crashes, love, death, and gloating. Each story is what it is, and I don’t care if a reader thinks it’s one thing and then finds out it’s another. I don’t have an anti-genre stance, but I also think it’s nice not to know what’s coming all the time, and a collection of short stories is a perfect place for that.

That said, I’d love to see a Western for RIDE 3. Or science fiction. Or something based around feminism and the Arab Spring, or…I dunno, you tell me. I’m just the editor.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My piece is an epic poem about an eternal cyclist chased by monsters, so it would have to be somebody who does tough, lean, dirty, and scared pretty well. Who’s that? I have no idea. I didn’t pay attention to movie stars when I was in my twenties; I definitely don’t know who’s who now.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The second collection of short fiction about bicycles.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m the publisher of RIDE 2. I guess that means my own story in it is self-published, but no one else’s is. (And this isn’t a collection of free stories by pals; I solicit, I edit, I publish, I pay.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Cumulative time between all authors, all stories? Oh, boy, I don’t know. 0.003 epochs?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

As near as I can tell, as far as bike fiction, we’re it. We are the genre.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Impatience, probably.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

If I didn’t really like everything about RIDE 2, I wouldn’t be publishing it, with my name on it as editor. That’s what piques my interest: All the great stuff. Crime fiction or bike people who want names they recognize might be drawn in by SJ Rozan, Barb Goffman, or Kent Peterson. People who hate poetry will be interested in the stories. People who hate bicycles or short stories won’t be piqued—or anyway, their interests won’t be—and should buy something else from Amazon instead. Canned pears, maybe. Bamboo manicure sticks. Don’t buy RIDE 2; you won’t like it.

In fact, here’s the whole lineup:

Escape Velocity—S.J. Rozan
Made with Extra Love—Kent Peterson
Polo—Eric Neuenfeldt
Ulterior Motives—Barb Goffman
The Rambler, Part 1—Keith Snyder
I’ve Begun to See Things—Jan Maher
Dert—Jon Billman
The Persistence of Memory—Jan Maher
Beat the Devil Home—K.I. Hope
Passing Thoughts—Nigel Greene

RIDE 2 will be available in ebook and print, just in time for holiday ordering. Subscribe to this blog or follow @ridebikefiction on Twitter if you want to know when it happens.

So as I mentioned, the alarm went off for me to write this, which was this morning, and I’d already been thinking about what to write, so it was going to be pretty quick–but then when I pulled up the questions–

I’d somehow blown right past the part where I needed to have found more authors to tag already.

Luckily, when I said UH OH and went googling to see how other people had fared, in case maybe I wasn’t the only one who’d messed that part up, the first two intros I read were about how they hadn’t realized they needed to tag people.

And even more luckily, after it turned out most of my mystery friends had either already done it, or had just emailed me to find out if I was interested in being one of their five tagged authors, I realized that this coming to me through Women of Mystery was appropriate: I had not just a woman of mystery I could pull into the vortex, but a woman of Mystery. After all, who knows more about Mystery than clergy?

So next Friday will be MaryAnn McKibben Dana, who blogs about…well, kind of everything at The Blue Room Blog, and recently told Presbyterians they’re pregnant, answering these questions about her new book SABBATH IN THE SUBURBS. Which I have a cameo in. I play a funny secular Jew at a playground. I’m great. You should buy it.