Thomas Wictor

Volume Two of the Ghosts Trilogy available

Volume Two of the Ghosts Trilogy available

Chasing the Last Whale is now available in paperback. It’s Volume Two of the Ghosts Trilogy. An e-book will follow. Maybe several.

The Ghosts Trilogy is—as far as I know—a unique literary attempt in that it consists of a memoir, a novel, and a diary that share the same themes and characters. It began with Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist, a book I never planned on writing. The readers of persuaded me, and now I’m glad they did. The initial idea was just to get a few things off my chest and then move on to…something. I had no idea. But here’s how Ghosts started.

After the book was finished, I decided I wanted to make it into a trilogy. It was a perfect opportunity to test the concept of self-publishing. After much research I chose a publisher that made a lot of promises it wasn’t able or didn’t bother to keep. Most of them had to do with how quickly the book would be available. As it turns out, the delay was beneficial.

I also chose to hire a very expensive publicist. Since I can’t make personal appearances or travel, my Website is the main place for disseminating information. It’s also a journal. I was a journal keeper for years; now I’m doing it again, except that my journal entries are public.

Nobody should look to me for inspiration on how to be a full-time writer. My career has been like this.

Back to the Ghosts Trilogy.

The characters introduced in Volume One are fictionalized in Volume Two. Simply put, the memoir is how my life is, while the novel is how I wish it was. That’s all I want to say about the novel. If I explain what’s real and what isn’t, it’ll ruin it for you.

Women have accused me of making my female characters “too beautiful” and “too sexualized.” The novel is about overcoming a traumatic past, forgiveness, and how people survive when a Hobson’s choice is forced on them. What do you do if someone you care deeply about begs you to commit an act that goes against all your principles?

It never occurred to me that the physical appearance and sexuality of the female characters would be such an issue for some people that it overrode everything else in the book. I have to say I’m honestly confused: In Chasing the Last Whale, the British character Julian Buckley is very handsome and pathologically promiscuous. Should men therefore be offended?

In real life don’t men lust after attractive women? Is that bad? The Julian character is a horn-dog. Aren’t there horn-dogs in real life? His approach to women is central to a major plot twist. I didn’t make him a horn-dog just because I wanted a horn-dog in my novel.

One of the main characters is Margaret Alvarez, a twenty-four-year-old woman who has a great body and flaunts it in skinny jeans and tight T-shirts. Aren’t there young women who do that in real life? Margaret’s beauty is crucial to several elements of the story. I didn’t make her beautiful so I could masturbate over her. Is it now not permissible for male writers to create beautiful female characters? If so, why? What if I did create a beautiful female character just so I could masturbate over her? Where’s the harm in that?

Are fantasies now evil? Does all fiction have to mirror grim, dreary, humdrum, everyday life? Of course not. So why can’t I make my female and male characters the way I want them to be?

A woman who read Chasing the Last Whale said that the average-looking protagonist’s “turns as a ladies’ man” are not believable because he’s self-deprecating. Well, as a self-deprecating, average-looking-to-homely man (depending on the era) in real life, I can tell you that I did all right. Women tend not to be hung up on how a man looks. It may leave some female readers stunned, but I’ve dated several incredibly beautiful women. And they all pursued me.

Does that means they broke the first rule of Beautiful Women Club? What they told me was that I was funny, intelligent, and nice. They liked me, so they hit on me. One of them looked exactly like Naomi Watts. She was British too, which means she could’ve had anyone on the planet. I was flattered to pieces—until we became friends. From that point her beauty and sexual attractiveness were just part of who she was. I accepted them without difficulty.

So I’m at a loss for how anyone could let the beauty of my female characters turn them against a story in which appearance plays a minor part in comparison to the broader themes of overcoming a traumatic past, forgiveness, and how to navigate terrible choices forced on you. And in the case of the two female protagonists, their beauty isn’t an afterthought. It plays a role.

While it’s true that Julian Buckley is a sexist pig, this is vital to a major plot twist. The protagonist—Elliot—likes Julian very much but abhors his attitude toward women. Did I have to write a disclaimer that I myself am not a sexist pig? Have we really gotten that simple minded and hypersensitive?

At any rate, you can’t please everybody. I know that intelligent men and women will like the novel, so I’m not offended or outraged at the criticism that my female characters are too beautiful.

I just think it’s a stupid thing to say.

Stand by for Volume Three of the Ghosts Trilogy, Hallucinabulia: the Dream Diary of an Unintended Solitarian. In it the characters you met in Volume One are completely set free, since they’re no longer bound by law, morals, or even reality.

Volume One is how my life is, Volume Two is how I wish my life was, and Volume Three is what the conflict between the two does to me.

It ain’t pretty. But it’s funny.

This article viewed 16 times.