EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads Saturday Spotlight w/Giveaway: The Essential Carl Mahogany by Zach Boddicker
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The Essential Carl Mahogany
by Zach Boddicker
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The Essential Carl Mahogany from Zach Boddicker
What can an award-winning Nashville singer-songwriter learn about himself by agreeing to a best-of tour in a beat up old van? If it means getting out from under the thumb of a label that considers him washed up, he’s willing to find out. At least until an ex-lover wants to come along for the ride.
Carl Mahogany’s not your average protagonist. In the practiced drawl of the aging country singer, and echoing Edward Abbey’s Henry Lightcap, Boddicker takes us across the country in an Americana-steeped journey through Mahogany’s roots. Encounters with old friends and lovers, including the Eisenhower Interstate System, a firecracker tenured professor, former bandmates, and a down-to-earth small town mechanic, shake the dust out of Mahogany’s creases to revision his life.
If a lifetime of travel, songwriting and performing equates to learning to work with the monsters inside us, The Essential Carl Mahogany is that journey. Grab a six pack, settle into the cushions, and come along for the ride.
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Praise for The Essential Carl Mahogany
“With internal dialogue to match Nick Hornby at his best (see High Fidelity), and external dialogue that’s reminiscent of early Don DeLillo (See Great Jones Street, possibly the only musician-novel that I dare to compare to this one), author Zach Boddicker has crafted an elegant, oddball, and unapologetically funny tale of ex-Nashville, ex-famous, and ex-boyfriend Carl Mahogany and his existential mission to recover his soul in a tumbleweed junction on the Great Plains of Eastern Colorado. Rarely have I seen so much wit mingle so comfortably with such an honest portrayal of rural America's anarchic spirit." — Gregory Hill - author East of Denver, The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles, Colorado Book Award recipient
"The story of a successful country songwriter trying his best to live a hassle-free existence, of which he is only marginally successful. Full of great dialogue, humorous observations and dry wit, The Essential Carl Mahogany is a strong debut." — Chris Auman, Reglar Wiglar Magazine
Tell us about The Essential Carl Mahogany.
This novel is a combination of romantic comedy, road story, and artist's self-help book. Carl is a highly decorated ex-Nashville songwriter looking for the next thing to do with himself. He has no family and no real home when the story begins, so he's able to start from scratch for the most part.
What initially inspired you to write The Essential Carl Mahogany?
I wanted to tell a story of a successful artist going through the process of being “over it”, or no longer inspired to continue doing what it was that made them successful to begin with. I also wanted to write a story about a musician that didn't center on substance abuse and recovery. Carl is no teetotaler, but his bad habits are really the least of his problems.
Tell us little about the characters in The Essential Carl Mahogany.
There are three other primary characters in the novel. Rhonda is the local mechanic, auto body tech, junkyard owner, and all-around genius. Carl encounters her early on when he needs his touring van repaired.
Karen is an old flame of Carl's who he hasn't heard from in two decades. She's now a tenured professor who wishes to travel with Carl on his tour under the guise of an academic project. Both women are successful, resourceful, and independent in their own way.
Bill is Carl's landlord and the only real friend Carl has made in the small town he finds himself in. Bill is an octogenarian, a widower, and wealthy. He becomes something of a father figure for Carl, as Carl's parents are ten years deceased.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Fortunately, I didn’t hit any serious roadblocks while writing this. After the first 50 pages or so, I took a break from typing and worked out much of the remaining story in my head before getting back to work on it. So, there weren't any major wrong turns or large cuts made along the way. I got lucky there.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Chapter 10 was the most fun to write. It's almost at the halfway point. Here Carl is forced to attend a backyard party consisting of mostly academic types. Carl barely graduated from high school, is dyslexic, and has always had difficulty academically. He's completely out of his element at this party and made to feel very inadequate. Several of the guests are unusually candid with him. It is Carl at his most awkward.
What are your future project(s)?
Aside from a few recording projects, I'm working on another novel that’s shaping up to be something of a coming-of-age story. It’s still in the very early stages of development.
Zach Boddicker grew up living the country life north of Laporte, Colorado. Ever more interested in rock bands and art than hunting, sports and other traditional red-blooded American activities, it was when he finally got his hands on a guitar that his journey into a life of music was catapulted into action.
In his formative years, Boddicker listened to and learned from everything he could get his hands on, but found direction one Monday night at a poignant performance at The Continental Club in Austin, Tex. by country guitar legend Junior Brown. This steered the author and musician toward honky-tonk, country and western swing.
Boddicker holds a B.A. in English and a MFA in Fiction from Colorado State University, which have proven useful for his endeavors into publishing. In 2014, his short story “Equipment” was published in “A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier” (Jap Sam Books / M12 Studio). His first book “The Essential Carl Mahogany” (2017), which has been deemed evocative of Nick Hornby, Hunter S. Thompson and Don DeLillo, is the first novel to be published by M12 Studio / Last Chance Press.