Hello! Welcome! Whoever you may be, thank you for taking enough interest in my novel to let your curiosity guide you to this small corner of the internet.
The Narrows can not be talked about without mentioning the way in which I published it. Yes, I published it myself. It's technically "independently published"—not self-published—because I started a company called Papercut Press
to put it out. I did this in 2011, after surveying the state of the publishing industry and being completely disenchanted. I saw my musician friends who were incredibly talented and touring around the country and recording and distributing their own music, without needing a record label to back them. I wanted to do the same, but with literature.
I'm here now, writing this to you in the snowy winter of 2014, telling you that my way can work. I drove around the country twice in the past year (with author Rami Shamir. You can read about it on the Huffington Post here
) and The Narrows is now available in almost 80 bookstores. After two years, I've sold nearly 1,000 copies and I'm already on my second print run. Yes, it takes a lot of money to independently publish a book. At least 1k if you're going to do it right. But with sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, that's hardly an impossible sum to raise. The first art book that Papercut put out—called Portals
—was almost completely funded by Indiegogo. If you're a writer and you want to publish independently, I'm telling you, you can do it. If you want advice or support, you can contact me through this site. And please do!
Now, The Narrows. I wrote The Narrows in my senior year of college, while I was working on my journalism and environmental studies theses. Writing fiction was a refuge from composing dry academic papers and formulaic journalistic pieces. I wrote because I couldn't not write. I wrote to face what I was going through at that time. The Narrows at its core is a love story—it's about a girl realizing that she has to love herself before she can really love anyone else. It was my coming out story, a way to accept and champion my sexuality after years of repression at the hands of catholic school and outdated teachings. I had a hard time coming out, a really hard time. Writing The Narrows saved me. And after I finished it, I felt an obligation to share that story with others, whether I wanted to or not, so that at the very very least people going through the same thing may know that they're not alone. The Narrows is a fantasy novel—some people like to call it steampunk, and that works too—because I write what I love to read. The Narrows is a tool to talk about all of the environmental issues I spent years studying and crying over. I can tell you that I offer no easy answers, only perhaps a new perspective. So there you have it: what is The Narrows? It's a thought experiment, it's a story that happens in a magical version of Brooklyn, it's a story about a girl named Sim who has to learn to love herself for who she is before she can become all that she's destined to be.
I would say that The Narrows has been best described (by a good friend and fellow writer) as "naive." And so it is, and so it must be. But with naiveté comes the blessing of blind faith. I was 21 when I started writing this book, 23 when I spent all my savings on publishing it. I was as determined as I was impatient. And though I have a long way to go, I can say that I'm happy with how far I've come. With the friends I've made along the way. With all that I've learned.
And with that I'll leave you. The Narrows is the first in a trilogy and it's sequel is long due. So until then, I wish you the best.