I finished the first draft of my second novel Heartworm two weeks ago. Why the name Heartworm? Here’s the lowdown. I had been working on a sequel to Wivenhoe Park this spring with the working title of Portholes For Bono, which is a lyric from the 1995 Whipping Boy album Heartworm. The novel is set in ’95-’96 so it seemed natural to listen to music from that era, especially since Heartworm is one of my top ten favorite albums of all-time. There’s also an Irish angle to the story, based on two years I spent living in Dublin, making Whipping Boy a natural soundtrack to my creativity. Bono even makes a cameo!
That said, I felt like there was something missing from that earlier version of novel #2. At this time, Bloomsbury Academic announced a call for entries for their music book series 33 1/3. Most of the books in that series are standard rock criticism, but several, such as Joe Pernice’s Meat is Murder and John Niven’s Music From Big Pink were written as novels. I came up with an angle on how to incorporate Whipping Boy into a fictional narrative and make it a sequel to Wivenhoe Park. Not so far fetched when you think of it. The protagonist of Heartworm is a rock critic and I interviewed Whipping Boy for my old magazine Vendetta so I already had plenty of source material in the archives.
To cut to the chase, Heartworm didn’t make the final cut for 33 1/3, but the book will come out and I’m already looking forward to promoting it — I’d love to do a reading in Dublin next year on the 20th anniversary of Heartworm the album.