My goodness, how time flies. I could swear it was just yesterday I was sitting in my parent's kitchen, talking with my mom, scared to the brink of vomiting at the thought of publishing my debut novel, Inside the Outside. Sitting across the table from her in the middle of the night, I asked, "What if nobody cares?"
When I was writing the book, riding the wave of confidence that comes when there are no expectations, no outside pressure, nobody looking over your shoulder, my only concern was making the book as good as I could make it. In my mind there was no doubt that, as long as I gave it my best effort, readers would find it and enjoy it; and, really, that's all I wanted was for readers to like it. As any author can tell you, a novel is like your child. It comes from you, out of you, and, for years at a time, you nurture it, watching it grow and develop. You become proud when it takes on a life of its own, taking its first steps, becoming independent.
And then, one night, while your sitting in the kitchen with your mother, you realize it's time to let it go. It's time to send it out into the world, where you won't be there to protect it if it get's bullied by reviewers or teased by bloggers. You want to be there, standing by its side, fighting its battles, only you realize you can't. All you can do is make sure you've written the best book you know how and then you wait and watch and hope for the best.
So, it's funny how before that night in the kitchen, I'd never considered the question: "What if nobody cares?"
All along I assumed people would care, one way or another. I figured readers would love my book or hate it or have ambiguous feelings that they couldn't quite articulate—but I'd never factored in the possibility of people not caring. Worse yet, what if nobody noticed? What if I published my book and nobody bought it? What if it simply got lost in the vast library of books already out in the world competing for the attention of readers?
"Well, you know we'll buy it," my mom said. "That's at least two."
It was sweet and it made me smile, but I still couldn't get past that one looming question. However much it weighed on my mind and however many times I considered turning back from that cliff, I realized I would never get over the regret of not publishing Inside the Outside.
So, on July 9, 2011, that's exactly what I did. That was one year ago today and, boy oh boy, what a year it's been.
"I picked this story up, and I literally could not put it down. I was reading it at work. I was reading it at a party last night. I fell asleep in bed with it in my hands at 2AM two nights in a row. I was totally hooked, and reading at every possible second."
"I classify Inside the Outside with books such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Patrick Süskind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer—books that may have violent content or a disturbing premise but appeal to a much wider audience."
Before I knew it, Inside the Outside was a critically acclaimed bestseller. It had (and continues to have) an enthusiastic and growing base of loyal and vocal fans. I got invited to make personal appearances at libraries and prisons and high schools and universities where I read from my novel, talked about writing, signed books, and posed for pictures. It was all just so much and I really couldn't have hoped or asked for anything more.
And then Inside the Outside started winning awards...
One year in and the experience of publishing Inside the Outside has already exceeded all of my expectations. Of course, it hasn't yet exceeded my wildest dreams. My dreams for this book are pretty big and this first year has only served to increase my expectations for what it can still accomplish. But if it were all over today, right now—poof!—no more, well, I'd have nothing to complain about. This past year has been such an exhilarating ride and, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everybody who's helped make this dream of mine come true.
Matt Cannot Write| "...the details Martin describes and the flow of his narrative [in Inside the Outside] are so beautifully smooth its like listening to a whiskey-toned jazz DJ on a late night drive."
BiblioBabes (Kat) | "I honestly believe that Lastrapes could be the next Stephen King."
Annamarie's Book Reviews | "There is no sparkling romantic vampires in ["Adam & Olivia: A Vampire Short"]. It left me wanting more. Everything a vampire story should be."
Monkeycstars | I strongly suggest you read ["Adam & Olivia" and "Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter"] now if you're like me and just can't wait for the FULL length story [The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl]to come out.
Belinda Frisch, Author | "I can tell you that I haven’t had a book call me back as much as Inside the Outside in some time. The characters are unconventional, flawed, and as real as the world Martin’s made for them."
Nylon Admiral | "[With Inside the Outside] Martin Lastrapes excels at constructing a complete, and believable story from start to end."
BiblioBabes (Kat)| "I picked this story up, and I literally could not put it down...I was totally hooked, and reading [Inside the Outside] at every possible second. Honestly, I wish all my reading experiences were like this..."
Hello? Is This Thing On? | "What matters to me the most is the way a story stirs something within me to continue reading. And that’s what Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes did."
8 Days A Geek| "With dark thoughts and an ever increasing sense of dread, Inside the Outside is a book I can read over and over again."
Tasha's Take On Books! | "I want more, more of the same twisted story but also more of Martin Lastrapes['] amazing imagination and his talented writing. The way he can lay a story out I am in awe of."
BiblioBabes (Cara) | "It was torturous trying to read faster, to turn the page quicker to figure it out.... But this is what makes the book so great: suspense, confusion, shock, disbelief, more shock."
Words 4 Other Words | "If you don’t like a book, put it down and start a new one. A good author should enjoy reading, otherwise what’s the point?"
Attore e Scrittore (Mauro Corso) | "I’m very fascinated with how people grow up to be who they are, what forces around them shape and form their thoughts and beliefs about the world. The story of Timber Marlow and the Divinity was meant to work as something of a metaphor for this idea."
BiblioBabes (Kat and Cara) | "I mean, it’s okay to shock your reader, so long as there’s a substantive purpose at play. Otherwise it’s just literary shock porn."
Dark Lucidity (Brian Moreland) | "For me, characters are there to serve the story and not the other way around. The best reading experiences I’ve had involve books with great narrative plots, so, naturally, those are the types I’ve books I want to write."
Greg + You = This | “Look, it’s a book. While I am open to a film deal, there is no film for you to pirate.”
Exciting Writing (Will Entrekin) | "Well, the cannibal part came first. I’d become fascinated with writing about cannibalism about 10 years ago, which, not coincidentally, was about the same time I became a vegetarian."
The Inquisition (The Black Abyss) | “I like that [dark fiction] can produce terrifying stories where the monster can simply be the circumstances a character must deal with.”
The Ginger Nuts of Horror| "I didn’t do much reading as a kid, despite the fact that reading came very easily to me for as long as I can remember. I liked comic books, though. And professional wrestling."
Violence, Brutality, and Death: Dark Fiction and Why I Love it| "The fact that we are mortal, that our time here is finite, haunts us daily. And perhaps the only thing more haunting than the idea that we will someday die is the fear that we may one day die a brutal, violent, tortuous death—or maybe that’s just me."
A Self-Publisher's Manifesto | "If you’re a reader, a simple lover of books, someone with no aspirations of ever writing or publishing, then there is a very good chance you’re unaware of the culture war that has been going on within the world of publishing for what feels like forever."
One Author’s Attempt to Write a Likable Killer| "I gave myself what turned out to be a pretty difficult problem to solve in that I wanted my protagonist [Timber Marlow] to be a killer. Part of what makes this difficult is most readers don’t want to sympathize with a killer."
What Inspires a Writer to Tell a Story? | “Since the publication of my debut novel, Inside the Outside, I’m often asked the question: What made you want to write about cannibals? For me the answer is obvious: Why wouldn’t I want to write about cannibals?!”
Staying Inspired - Martin Lastrapes | "The truest measure of success is happiness. And writing makes me happier than anything else, which is why I spend so much time doing it."
Simon & Schuster Canada (Interview with the Bibliobabes) | "Your favourite book in the last year? Kat – 'Tough call! I have a hard time narrowing things down, but I’d have to say...Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes...' Cara - 'Hmmmm, I’d agree with Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes.'"
Paris Book Festival | "The coming-of-age story of a refugee from a cannibalistic cult is the winner of the 2012 Paris Book Festival, which honors the best of international publishing."
Exciting Writing (Will Entrekin) | "It’s not just the best indie novel I read in 2011; it’s the finest novel I read overall, and that distinction might carry back a couple of years besides. It’s devastating and funny, poignant and honest, sincere without over-sentimentality, and most importantly, Lastrapes can write."
The Bibliobabes (Kat) | "Not only is Martin Lastrapes a fantastic writer, he's actually a cool dude as well. He's witty, friendly, and ridiculously down to Earth."
Fearless, Motherfuckers. (Emma Arnold) | "[Inside the Outside] sort of reminds me of Brett Easton Ellis' masterpiece, American Psycho, because it fills the reader with such delicious dread..."
Paranormal Wastelands | "This entire crazy discussion [about eating brains] stemmed from me reading a creepy, spectacular, AMAZING book called Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes. Everyone needs to grab it right now!"
On Being Simply True (S. Kay Murphy) | "Martin has been teaching college for some years, but having read an advance copy of his new book, I can see that his future truly lies in written expression."
Belinda Frisch, Author | "Authors, this is a very nice blog to be featured on. Thanks, Martin, for your hard work."
Dreadful Tales | "Being a horror hound and book fiend can really put the hurtin’ on your wallet, but we’re always looking for ways to save...Inside The Outside by Martin Lastrapes debuted this past July and now you can pick this up for your Kindle or Nook at only $0.99!"
BiblioBabes (Cara) | "Me with my new Kobo reading Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes [for Naked Reading Sunday]."
BiblioBabes (Vlog) | Check out the video below as Cara reviews Inside the Outside in the BiblioBabes very first vlog:
The Write Stuff (Marta Chausée) | "He looks sinister in this shot, but he's not. He's the 2012 Paris Book Festival winner and guess what? He's our own local, Inland Empire, cannibal-creating, Mt. Sac professor and fair-haired boy."
Perfect Fourth (Jessica Maybury) | "Oh and I've been completely stuck into Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes which I have on my kindle app(lication). It's seriously deadly, so tis! I wonder who did the cover. I can't stress this enough though: GO. BUY. IT."
Menifee 24/7| "On the other end of the spectrum, literary horror author Martin Lastrapes featured his newly debuted novel, Inside the Outside, which has already been on the Amazon bestseller list three times."
Since publishing Inside the Outside in July 2011, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on GoodReads. If you’re not aware of it (and why wouldn’t you be?!) it's a social network for book lovers.
I was a member of GoodReads before I published my novel, so being an official author on the site is super cool. One of the great things about GoodReads is it hosts book giveaways, such as the giveaway for Inside the Outside, which ended on September 2, 2011.
Speaking of which, congratulations to the winners—Amanda (Visalia, CA), Stacy (Inverness, FL), and Amy (Greene, NY)—each of whom received a signed copy of Inside the Outside.
One of the other great things about GoodReads is it’s a place for readers to leave reviews about the books they’ve read.
One of the best books I've read all year. Creepy, original, with a tight story and enviable prose. I plan to read it again, which in today's media clutter, is the biggest compliment I can bestow upon it. It's just that good.
This book had me on the verge of tears, laughter, and terror, sometimes at the same time. Martin Lastrapes writes with such vivid imagery, that there were times where I had to put the book down to avoid being overly spooked. I found myself caring for each character and caring what happened to them.
I totally loved this book. It was hard to read at times imaging what was laid out about cannibalism. Made me cry and laugh. I want more, more of the same twisted story but also more of Martin Lastrapes amazing imagination and his talented writing. The way he can lay a story out I am in awe of.
5 STARS AMAZING! I absolutely LOVE Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes. I strongly recommend everybody read this book. After reading the first few pages, I already knew I'd be HOOKED. YOU MUST READ THIS! Happy, Sad, Intense, Creepy...YES, YES, YES!
To those readers who read the book, enjoyed it, and thought enough of it to take a little time out of their day to write a kind review, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. For those readers who read and enjoyed the book, but didn’t leave a review on GoodReads, I appreciate you too. And for anybody who hated the book, but chose not to review it, I appreciate you the most!