Mark Terry

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Guest Blogger: Simon Wood

January 5, 2010
I'd like to welcome today's guest blogger, Simon Wood, author of numerous novels, both thriller/mystery and horror under a pseudonym (Simon Janus). He's here to talk about his latest novel and film collaboration, LOWLIFES. Welcome, Simon!

By Simon Wood

Lowlifes centers on a washed up cop investigating the murder of a homeless man. When my collaborator moviemaker, Robert Pratten, approached me with the idea of a crime story set in the homeless community, it immediately appealed to my sensibilities. Regardless of your opinions regarding the homeless, the idea of becoming homeless is a scary thought and in these dire economic times, it’s something that could happen to any of us. That’s the great appeal of Lowlifes to me. That a calamity such as homelessness could strike any one of us.

It’s very easy to judge others and their decisions, but I believe we walk a fine line in our daily lives. I’ve spoken to book clubs where readers have remarked that they would never find themselves in the predicaments that some of my characters find themselves in. I say you just haven’t found yourself in awkward predicaments—yet. Circumstances bigger and meaner can strike us at any time and wreck our lives. Homelessness could be the result, but so could jail, divorce, loss and a host of other things. The upshot is that our lives can be upended at any moment.

So, when Robert presented me with a brief outline for the book, there were certain things I wanted to have in the story. The protagonist is San Francisco PD detective, Larry Hayes. He's lost his wife and daughter to divorce. He's lost his self control to a painkiller addiction picked up from an on-the-job injury. And he'll lose his career if he doesn’t get a handle on his life. It could be argued that Larry has fallen off the tightrope, but for me, he hasn’t. He stands on the precipice. His situation can get a whole hell of a lot worse. He can end up living on the streets like the man whose murder he's investigating or he can take a grip on his life and turn it around. Maybe sifting through an already ruined life reflected back at him will be the thing to help Larry find his balance and keep from falling.

I don’t necessarily condone the decisions that Larry Hayes has made when readers meet him on page one, but I sympathize. I don’t believe any of us can say we wouldn’t allow ourselves to end up in Larry’s position. Life’s rug can be yanked out from under us at any time. Luck, timing and due diligence ensures that it doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes, luck plays against us and it all goes wrong in a hurry.

So let Larry Hayes’ story be a warning to us all that the ground under our feet isn't as stable as we take for granted. :-)

Stay lucky,
Simon Wood

Lowlifes is a little different from my usual books as it’s more than just a book. The story is told from different character points of view using various media. The book tells the story from the point of view of the protagonist, a San Francisco detective. The short film gives the viewpoint of a PI investigating the cop. The fictional blog catalogs the thoughts and feelings of the cop’s estranged wife. The trendy term for this new kind of storytelling is transmedia. People can learn more about Lowlifes at


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Yes, I think we are all walking a very narrow plank, surrounded by fog. As long as we keep going straight forward, we have no problems and we think we're safe, the fog obscures the abyss on either side. But a small misstep, a shove, a stiff breeze and we find we were in a much more precarious posiiton than we imagined.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Simon Wood said...

Thanks for having me over, Mark.

Eric: I guess this is a touch sensitive subject for me because I'm amazed by the number of people who tell me they'd never fall into these situation--and I don't think any of us are that surefooted to say that.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Aimless Writer said...

Love the hook. I definately want to read/view this book.
People who think they'll never fall into a situation are damn lucky because they haven't had life slap them in the face. I know how quickly the ugly in life can pop up and bite you on the ass. Battle scars or notches on the belt of experience? It makes you appreciate the good and simple things around you.
Standing on the precipice? Wasn't it Vonnegut who wrote: I want to stand as close as I can to the edge without going over. Because from the edge you can see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Simon Wood said...

Aimless: I'm with you. I think my world view might have a lot to do with having a small talent for disaster. :-)

And chapter 2 went live today on the lowlifes website.

11:25 AM  

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