So it’s about a month until the release of the anthology I edited, Violent Ends. I’ve had some trouble talking about this book because of its subject matter. It seems shootings are occurring with greater frequency than ever before. I’m not sure if they are or if the Internet and news simply make it feel that way. One of the reasons I wanted to publish this anthology in the first place was to draw attention to the subject. I want Violent Ends to spark conversation and debate. But I’ve been scared to talk about it too much because I don’t want to come across like I’m exploiting recent tragedies.
Truthfully, though, I think it’s more important to talk about these things than worry how people might perceive me. So I’ll be posting about Violent Ends throughout the rest of July and August, and I’ll have some copies of the book to give away.
I suppose the first thing I should talk about is what Violent Ends is and isn’t. Technically, it’s an anthology. But it isn’t. Anthologies are generally collections of stories connected by a theme or idea. In the Grim anthology I contributed to, each story is a reimagining of a fairy tale. In Violent Ends, each story is set in the same world, and is connected by the same tragedy: the school shooting committed by Kirby Matheson.
During the process, the other authors and I worked together to craft the world the stories are set in. We shared characters and ideas and names of places. The bully in the background of one story might wind up being the narrator of another. Each story is connected to the others in a million little ways, some more obvious than others. But it’s those connections that make this less an anthology and more of a novel written together by the most talented and amazing authors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.
There are other things that make Violent Ends different from a traditional anthology. One of those is that it’s meant to be read in order. The most important thing I considered when I was trying to figure out how to order the stories is that, when put together, they told a coherent and cohesive narrative. Each story builds upon the ones that came before it, fleshing out the world. You can certainly jump around if you wish, but I promise you’ll enjoy the book more if you read them in order.
To that end, we made the decision not to include the authors’ names under each story, that way the stories feel more like the chapters of a traditional novel. We included a list of the authors and the story each wrote at the back of the book for those who want to know (and that information is also included on the website www.violentendsanthology.com), but the experience is much more fulfilling if read in order.
If you’re usually not a fan of anthologies, I hope you’ll still give Violent Ends a chance. While each story does have its own style and tone, there’s an overall cohesiveness to this book that I really believe makes it different from any anthology out there. Plus, the stories are freaking amazing. And maybe you’re thinking I have to say that because I edited the book and wrote one of the stories, but the truth is that I am a fan of each and every author who contributed a story. Getting the opportunity to work with them and read what they wrote was like Christmas and my Birthday all at once. Seriously, they did brilliant work.
And, finally, Violent Ends is a story about a school shooter, but it isn’t about the shooting. I’ll talk more about why in another post, but it’s important to know that these stories focus on the shooter rather than the shooting itself because I felt focusing on the shooting might glorify tragedy, and that’s something everyone involved in this book was against. Instead, Violent Ends is a book that attempts to provide a more complete picture of the kind of person who could commit such an act of violence.
Next time I’ll discuss how the idea came about and why this project was so important to me.
I hope you’ll check out the website (www.violentendsanthology.com) where you can learn about the authors who wrote their hearts out for this book, find links to pre-order (which I hope you’ll consider doing), and even read a two-story excerpt.