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Monday, January 31, 2011

Author Guest Post: Sean Beaudoin

from author's website
You Killed Wesley Payne has bullet holes on the dust jacket. The holes were originally supposed to be die-cut through to the hardcover, but, like a lot of decisions made in the course of producing a book, that one was sort of mysteriously shelved. I found this interesting from a design standpoint, because one of the central tenets of the book that I wanted to write was no guns. The book you intend to write and the book you end up with are frequently two very different things. I didn't want guns because I don't believe in glorifying them, even if I'm prepared to acknowledge their inevitability. I also didn't want them because I think from a narrative standpoint, they're frequently an easy way out. Get a bunch of characters in a room, have them all want the same thing, let them point guns at one another until they get it. One trend that really bothers me in movies lately is how often people duck to avoid bullets. They're driving a car, someone is chasing them, the rear window is shot out, the driver ducks and takes a hard left. Or a guy is holding a woman's hand, running through a corn field. There's a helicopter above them with a CIA dude aiming his rifle, firing wildly. The couple ducks, bullets pang around them, they scamper to safety. I could be wrong, but I am under the impression that ducking from a bullet rarely helps. 
You Killed Wesley PayneSo, why are there bullet holes on the cover of my book? Well, there is a gun. One gun. In the fictional school where You Killed Wesley Payne is set, Salt River High, only one person is allowed to have a gun. And that person has made a vow to shoot anyone else who carries one. Sort of like a strapped hall monitor. Enforcing de-armament. The gangs, or cliques, at this school don't like it, but grudgingly go along with it. If they have any problems, those problems have to be solved with fists. Or words. Wit is a weapon. And dialog is a lot harder to drive a scene with than hollow points. Different cliques milk different advantages; beauty, music, muscle, depression, leather mini-skirts. All of them work to some degree. It's the job of the hero, Dalton Rev, who has transferred to Salt River to find out who did Wesley Payne, to see beyond each ruse. Armed only with a steel toe boots, an underestimated intellect, and one stylish haircut.

~ Sean Beaudoin

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