Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Real Life of John Gillis

My life is in syndication.

Ok, here's the deal. A couple of years ago, as I was finishing college and about to begin my career as an editor, I wrote a novel called THE REAL LIFE OF JOHN GILLIS. The above line was the opening sentence, and the premise was as follows:

John Gillis is 28 years old, works in a trendy bar, and is content to pour drinks and chase women with no end in sight. Then tragedy befalls a close friend, and John is forced reexamine his life, realizing if he doesn't do something soon he'll be living off $1 tips forever.

So John decides to write his life story, his memoir, hoping that somehow his destiny will reveal itself on the page. On a whim John's memoir ends up in the hands of Nico Vanetti, an agent looking to restore luster to a career tainted by poor decisions and suspect morals. Esther, Nico's assistant, has become disillusioned by life and love, and in John Gillis she sees hope for both. Esther sees John as her chance for fulfillment, and Nico sees these unique memoirs as his chance to climb back atop the literary heap.

But Nico doesn't think John's life is exciting enough. He wants sex, action, conflict, themes he thinks will sell for big money and resuscitate his career. To achieve this, Nico decides to manipulate John's life and by effect his memoirs. But he must do it without John's knowledge, so the experiences are authentic on the page. He must set up situations, create conflict, make John's memoirs better. Esther agrees against her best judgment, hoping to grow closer to the man of her dreams. And so Esther and Nico set out to change the real life of John Gillis, to create the star they need him to be, to alter the course of someone else's life...even if his life itself must be put at risk.

I never considered THE REAL LIFE OF JOHN GILLIS about publishing, but a mystery/thriller about the extreme lengths people will go to create reality for an audience. At the time books seemed to be the only media form uncorrupted by Reality™, but the last few months have drastically changed this notion. And after years of laying dormant, John Gillis's story popped back into my head.

So starting Monday, I will post the first 3 chapters from THE REAL LIFE OF JOHN GILLIS. And if the reaction is strong, I'll post a chapter a week until the story is complete. I want to see if people think the story of John, Esther, and Nico is as relevant as I think it is.


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