5 reasons I wrote Vicious Rumer

 

  • Because I’m an outsider. Sure, I’m white, I’m male, I’m relatively tall (or something) in a ridiculous society that values those things, but I’m also a nerdy gay guy who grew up feeling, for the most part, misunderstood and a little bit weird. That’s why Rumer is so important to me. She’s an extreme version of me – my dark twin; the twisted sister I never had. (I actually do have a sister, and she’s nothing like Rumer.)
  • Because I wanted to write about mothers and daughters. In Killing Rumer, Rumer’s mother is dead, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t write about their relationship. In fact, the fact that her mother is dead only complicates Rumer’s relationship with her even more. How do you argue with a dead person? Or figure out who you are?
  • Because I had an idea that terrified me. That idea was: what if you could transfer all of your bad karma into your unborn child? That’s what Rumer believes happened to her, and it’s a pretty horrific thing to believe about yourself. I wanted to explore how that belief shaped her and influenced every decision Rumer’s ever made.
  • Because I wanted to write something with no easy answers. Is Rumer cursed? Why does a gangster want her dead? Is it possible to change who you are? Is something true just because you believe it? They’re all questions I chucked around while writing Killing Rumer. There may be answers, there may not, but that’s sort of up to you to decide.
  • Because it was fun! There’s tons of dark stuff going on in Killing Rumer, but it’s also a gleefully lean thriller with loads of twists, funny characters and crazy set-pieces. It was an absolute blast to write (I scribbled the first draft over a feverish eight months) and, hopefully, that also makes it a blast to read.

Pre-order your copy of Vicious Rumer here!

5 women who inspired Vicious Rumer

1. Nancy from The Craft
I had a picture of Fairuza Balk (actually, the one above this text), aka Nancy, on my desktop all the way through writing Killing Rumer. It’s not so much that Rumer is like Nancy – rather, I wanted Rumer to possess the same dark humour and edge-of-crazy personality as Nancy. They’re both outsiders, slightly unhinged and believe in something dangerous. Also, they both have black hair.

2. Stevie Nicks…
…and Crystal Visions, the compilation of her biggest hits. That album both inspired, chilled and nursed me through Killing Rumer – so much so that I, of course, HAD to make Rumer a fan. I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Stevie ever since I saw a tiny indie film from 1998 called Edge Of Seventeen, and her music is perfect for Rumer; ethereal, weird, haunting. It has it all and then some.

3. Holly Hunter in Top Of The Lake
Shocking revelation – I’ve only seen the first episode of this (ducks). I know I know. BUT the thing that really made me sit up in that first episode was Holly Hunter and her ghostly silver hair. Without her, I wouldn’t have created one of the main characters in Killing Rumer – the image of Holly’s wise-but-wary loner stuck with me throughout writing and I couldn’t be more grateful.

4. Daphne du Maurier
Nobody writes women like Daphne du Maurier. Strike that, nobody WRITES like Daphne du Maurier, and I’d be an idiot to try to, but she’s been a literary hero of mine ever since I devoured Rebecca as a teenager. Killing Rumer is nothing like that book (I mean, what is?), but it certainly inspired me to tackle writing in the first person, something I’ve never attempted before. If I failed, I blame Daphne.

5. Joan Jett
Alright, maybe not quite as ‘kooky cool’ as Stevie Nicks, but her song ‘Bad Reputation’ is anthemic for a reason (and not just because it’s the Freaks And Geeks theme tune). Those lyrics and that guitar really helped get me into ‘angry teenager’ mode for the book’s all-important flashbacks. Without them, Rumer wouldn’t be half as badass.

Pre-order your copy of Vicious Rumer here!

Beasts Of The Southern Wild (2012)

One of the boldest and most original films to screen at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Beasts of the Southern Wild picked up both the Grand Jury Prize and the Cinematography Award at the closing night ceremony after surfing a roaring wave of positive buzz. And we doubt it’s going to stop there – this most auspicious of enviro-fantasies is Oscar-bound, and when it lands it’s sure to cause as much wonton destruction as its impressive central storm scene.

A tantalising hybrid of rugged fantasy, character drama and disaster epic, Beasts is a an enchanting oddity that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. At its heart is six-year-old Hushpuppy (newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis) who lives in a Southern delta community called ‘The Bathtub’ (because floods are a daily threat). When her tough love father Wink (Dwight Henry) falls ill, Hushpuppy sets off in search of her mother on a quest to put the world to rights again.

All bristly impudence and pouty bottom lip, Wallis gives a blistering central performance that imbues Beasts with a crude and affecting mood. Raw talent like this is gold dust in the movie industry, and Wallis carries the film with ease, her whimsical narration both quirky and stirring. She’s a fiery heroine, and leads a phenomenal cast of unknowns who are all equally impressive.

After a dreamy introduction, things really get going as a hurricane threatens The Bathtub (Hurricane Katrina is used as both a vague reference point and a thematic device throughout). Meanwhile, melting icecaps unleash giant, long-dormant monsters that charge across the globe towards our little welly-wearing heroine.

Part Where The Wild Things Are, part something else, Beasts is a feral, joyfully atypical fairytale. Debut director Benh Zeitlin – who adapted Lucy Alibar’s play Juicy and Delicious for the screen – creates a richly dilapidated world where you feel every creaking floorboard and every blast of wind.

True, it feels vaguely ostentatious at times, a consequence of its ambitious themes and dreamy language. “The entire universe depends on everything fitting together just right,” glowers Hushpuppy with wisdom beyond her years, just one of her remarkable if unrealistically mature observances.

Beasts, though, is the best kind of fantasy. Rooted in a believable, rough-and-tumble reality, its outlandish flourishes are grounded in stomach-flipping emotion. As told through the eyes of our young heroine, it makes a perfect kind of nonsense that defies explanation. It’s a draining, soaring, staggeringly original bit of storytelling that’s spellbinding from start to finish. 4/5

Via Grolsch Film Works