In just a few hours, the first signing event for Shooters begins. Steve Lieber and Brandon Jerwa will be joining me at my wife's comic shop in Lacey, WA (Olympic Cards & Comics) for a "Launch Party," to celebrate the book's arrival.
There's a startling number of copies already "pre-sold," and I expect the day will be filled with new readers, well-wishers, and hand cramps a-plenty from all the sketching and signing. There will even be cake.
But it's early, I haven't slept well in days, it's a quiet moment before the day begins, and I can't help but reflect on what all this feels like, what it means, what it's like to finally be in this moment.
It's a decidedly odd feeling. We've literally spent years waiting for this moment, which is atypical of how the comics projects I've worked on have played out.
One of the reasons I stepped away from writing prose was simply time. Time is the enemy to me; I've spent most of my career feeling like I'm fighting the clock, that I'm too late to the party, that I'm not going to have ample time to tell the stories still locked in my head.
When you write a novel, the pattern seems to be all about time. You spend a year (or more) writing a novel. You spend a year getting it sold. It spends a year hitting the marketplace. That book is who you were three years ago.
It becomes a challenge to talk about that work, because it's some distance behind you, and the writer's job, in my opinion, is to speak honestly about "This is who I am right now, and this is what the world looks like from where I'm standing."
With comics, I'm often having a dialogue about the work with readers mere weeks after I've completed it. It's one of the most rewarding things to me about such writing.
So, this is a strange day for me. I'm not "okay" with my brother-in-law being dead, but I deal with it much more successfully than I have in the past. Shooters is, in part, why. The book was painful to write, every minute of it, but it was also cathartic. It also leaves me feeling much more exposed than any other work I've done, and that's...harrowing.
All the discussions of Dave in the blast of news articles about Shooters have had an impact on my wife, as well, so my excitement and pleasure and anticipation for the day is tinged, ever so slightly, with a bittersweet flavor. She's a tough, determined woman. Days like this make me wish she was not afforded so many opportunities to prove it.
That said, I could not ask for better comrades on this journey—friends; family; amazingly talented creators who signed on for something a lot tougher than they had any right to expect; acquaintances with no dog in this fight whatsoever, who have given their time and support to spread the word about Shooters' existence.
I owe you all a great debt, and I thank you for it.
8:10 am in a quiet hotel room