Today I have something completely different for you all.
Daniel Ross, a music journalist and writer is currently crowdfunding his debut novel ‘Bobby Denise is Reigning Rampant’ through Unbound.
Unbound is a global ‘community, platform and a publishing model that shift the balance of power to you, people and communities that champion underserved ideas and voices.
Over 137,935 people from every corner of the globe have supported an Unbound project and helped make that idea a reality. To date, publishing 291 books that only exist thanks to the Unbound community.
Many of these have been bestsellers and received critical acclaim, and all have come from passionate people with a story to share.’
Today I hand my blog over to Daniel Ross to share his….
Who is Bobby Denise?
by Daniel Ross
My first novel, ‘Bobby Denise is Reigning Rampant’, stars a retired Las Vegas magician named Bobby Denise who is lured back into the spotlight in the winter years of his life. He’s led a starkly chequered existence, spent some time in jail and is in denial about his own quest for fame and notoriety.
Well, that’s what I’ve been telling people. And that’s pretty much what I’ve put in the blurb. Inevitably, this doesn’t cover it completely.
I’m sure every author would claim their own characters to be endlessly interesting because when you’re an author to speak aloud is to be marketing. I’m no different: I really believe Bobby Denise is something more than a set of characteristics and a meticulous physical description (and I’m not that meticulous about his looks, to be honest). You can define him by his actions, which are frequently awful, wrongheaded and stupid, but you can also define him by his decisions, his minute movements that might suggest something undetectable to the other characters. As with us all, Bobby’s internal foibles are infinitely more telling.
Bobby is absolutely crapping those foibles, but we should start with the outward ones. He’s a murderer (true, it was a long time ago, but that’s still a big one). He is also preternaturally unpleasant to those who try to help him. That includes his brother, his housekeeper (he’s ended up being quite wealthy, by the way) and his old magician colleagues, as well as those he encounters as he walks the badly pedestrianised streets of LA and roams the deserts outside Las Vegas. He’s an intense personal perfectionist, obsessed with his own fitness and the hygiene and layout of his apartment. It’s no surprise that the unexpected delivery of a cross trainer, arriving like a rubbish version of Chekhov’s gun in the first part of the novel, causes extreme consternation only on a purely practical level.
Unsurprisingly, the internal damage runs a lot deeper. You could call Bobby repressed, but he’d call it being private. You could call him paranoid, but he’d call it being prepared.
Bobby is sole custodian of his own lexicon, his own system of bent logic and gutting sadness. He can exist in the real world with the rest of us, but most certainly cannot flourish – he’s too delicate, too emotionally volatile. When I’ve been describing Bobby at events and book clubs, I’ve done so by pilfering a phrase initially used to describe John Peel’s relationship with John Walters, his producer at Radio 1. It’s this: Bobby’s relationship to fame is ont unlike the one between a man and his dog, but both parties believe the other to be the dog. He would never tell you this, but Bobby does want to be back on the stage, regardless of the utter human carnage this might inflict on himself and those he loves. Well, those he tolerates.
What Bobby does have in spades, however, is charm and wit. I know what you’re thinking: ‘You are the author of this character, therefore you are basically saying YOU are charming and witty. I do not appreciate your arrogance.’ And I protest, because (and this will sound extremely strange) Bobby writes all his own material. While I was writing BDIRR, I would listen to Bobby’s voice everywhere I went. He would talk to me before I went to sleep, we would watch TV together, he’d pick music for us to listen to. Naturally in these interactions his character would sharpen and coalesce and, independent from my own influence, his foul verbiage would essentially write itself. It felt to me as if my only responsibility was to keep my hand on the tiller.
Reading this back I can see that Bobby quite objectively sounds like a terrible person, but I believe it’s possible to humanise even the worst that society has to offer. If a reader can be charmed by someone who has, at best, a litany of black dots next to his name, my hunch is that the reward is the greater for persevering. Atticus Finch shot a dog, you know (I’m aware that this is grossly unfair on Atticus Finch, but I’m leaving it in: maybe I am a bit like Bobby).
Bobby is nowhere near the worst that society has to offer, but you do have to work very hard to love him. I know I certainly did while I was writing his story. I think what I’m trying to convey here is that if you’re willing to work with a character like Bobby, he’ll work with you. That goes for the writer and the reader. Neither party will find it an easy relationship to maintain, nor one gilded with rewards, but chances are it’ll be an encounter you remember.
Who is Daniel Ross?
Daniel Ross is a music journalist and writer.
Currently, he is the Managing Editor of ClassicFM.com, the world’s biggest classical music website. He is also the co-author of a book called ‘Charting The Classics: Classical Music in Diagrams’, which came out in August 2014 via Elliott & Thompson.
Daniel’s first book as solo author, ‘Classic FM Handy Guides: Video Game Music’, was published in January 2015. Three more composer biographies (Rachmaninov, Handel and Tchaikovsky) are due for release during 2017.
Daniel lives in Peckham, South East London.
You can support Daniel’s debut novel (and meet Bobby Denise) by pre-ordering your copy from Unbound, here: http://bit.ly/bobbydenise
Website ~ http://danielrosswords.com
Twitter ~ @danielross85