Gun Church reviewed by Publisher's Weekly:
New Jersey community college teacher Kip Weiler, who was “a writer to watch” in the 1980s before drug addiction and an utter lack of self-discipline ended his career and his marriage, gets a second chance in this superior crime thriller from Shamus Award–winner Coleman (Hurt Machine and six other Moe Prager novels). When Frank Vuchovich, one of Weiler’s creative writing students, pulls a gun and holds him and the rest of the class hostage, Weiler manages to temporarily disarm Vuchovich so the others can escape. Weiler’s heroism attracts the attention of a publisher interested in reprinting his work; a sexy blonde finds a way into his bed; and another student, an unabashed fan, invites him to join a secret group that gathers to shoot guns at each other wearing protective vests. As Weiler’s new relationships progress, the line between his reality and his fiction blur. Coleman keeps readers guessing to the end. Agent: David Hale Smith, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)
Advance Praise for Gun Church
“Reed Farrel Coleman is again operating at a very high level in Gun Church.”
—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone & Tomato Red
“If this is church, I might start going. Sign me up as a parishioner.”
—Don Winslow, New York Times best-selling author of Savages
“Coleman’s Gun Church is wonderful. His protagonist, Kip Weiler, is one of the most fascinating characters in years.”
—David Morrell, New York Times best-selling author of The Brotherhood of the Rose
Reed Farrel Coleman:
1. Tell us about your current novel or project.I have many projects. As you know, such is the life in the new world of publishing. But the novel I'm touring right now is a real labor of love: GUN CHURCH. I got the idea for it in a flash six years ago and struggled to get it right for five of those years. It's the story of a former 80s wunderkind, Kip Weiler, a supremely talented writer with a supremely big ego and big addictions. We find him many years after his fame has faded and his money dried up. He's teaching creative writing to, as he says, "rural yahoos" in a small mining town community college. Oh how the mighty have fallen. One day, a student tries to hold Kip's class hostage and Kip, much to his own surprise, saves the class from harm. He gets a second fifteen minutes of fame and his life takes a bizarre twist from there. He gets involved with a cult that worships the essential nature of handguns. Once he's in, he's in, and life begins to imitate art imitating life.
2. Can you give us a sense of what you’re working on now?I'm working on the final book in the Moe Prager mystery series. It's called THE HOLLOW GIRL and it's scheduled out sometime in 2014. It will feature Moe solving his last case while living through terrible grief and a downward spiral. I don't want to say more for fear of spoiling it.
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?The greatest pleasure is the writing itself. I learned a long time ago that a writer should fall in love with writing, not with what he's written. Well, I'm still deeply in love with the process. Of course there's always those few moments when you finish a sentence or paragraph and it hits you that no one else in the world could have written those words quite that way.
4. The greatest displeasure?Marketing. I love fans and readers, but the pressure to do more than my job, which is to produce the best books I can, weighs heavily on me. I don't hate social media, but I don't like it when all I do is say, "Hey, look at me." And I'm hopeless on Twitter.
5. Advice to the publishing world?Don't fight battles you've already lost. Adjust to the new reality. I have an author friend who says that traditional publishers are guarding the gate, but that the walls have already been breeched. I didn't love the whole ebook phenomenon either at first, but they're here and here to stay. I think traditional publishers need to do more than hold their noses and accept the new reality. I hope they embrace it and the marketing strategies that come with that. Traditional publishers hate the concept of free giveaways, but they are the reality. I also think indie bookstores have to come to grips with Thomas and Mercer and other similar imprints. People are going to want that product and to not carry those books will be self-defeating. Authors have had to adjust because in some ways we are at the bottom of the food chain. But tomorrow all of this can change. That's what makes the new world of publishing so frightening and exciting.
6. Are there any forgotten writers you’d like to see in print again?I'm sure there are hundreds, thousands, but there's no one I can point to specifically. For example, about eight years ago my late friend David Thompson recommended I read Daniel Woodrell. Problem was I couldn't find any of his work in stores. Finally, I got hold of an ARC of TOMATO RED. I was stunned at his amazing talent and at the beauty and hopelessness in his work. It dawned on me that my books were mostly all in print and his were out of print. It was a great injustice that has since been undone. His career is thriving and he is finally getting the recognition he deserves. I urge readers to look beyond the best seller list and dig beneath the surface. There really are treasures there.7. Tell us about selling your first novel.It was in the ancient days when you could submit unsolicited manuscripts. I got a friend in a big NY law firm to make copies of the manuscript on the side and I would send them out five at a time. I was about to give up when I got a call from Marty Sheperd at Ther Permanent Press. I think the first thing he said was, "We want to publish your novel." I thought he was one of my friends breaking my shoes. But it was real. I've tried not to look back.