Today, I’m very excited to welcome back a brilliant writer and wonderful person, Kathe Koja! Kathe’s here to share a bit about Christopher Marlowe and her new book, Christopher Wild (Roadswell 2017). Oh my GOSH, I cannot wait to read it!
MARLOWE’S HERE! LET’S HAVE FUN
by Kathe Koja
In his lifetime, Christopher Marlowe was notorious for a lot of things: bold and brilliant plays and poems that were the talk of Elizabethan London, and equally bold behavior—as a gay man, as a freethinker—that dangerously challenged the authorities, until he was murdered in what was called a drunken brawl in a tavern, and buried so quickly no one can say for sure where his body lies.
But his badass spirit is still very much alive.
His plays continue to be performed all over the world, and taught in universities alongside his poetry. The TNT series WILL prominently features Marlowe—as a riotous, rivalrous colleague to newcomer Shakespeare—and viewers have already called for a spinoff Marlowe show.
And in fiction, there are all manner of Marlowe bio-novels. The one that blew me away was Anthony Burgess’ insightful and superbly written A DEAD MAN IN DEPTFORD, my first introduction to Marlowe’s life and work, work I read in a wild binge and emerged ravished and determined: Oh my god, I have got to write about this guy.
So I did.
CHRISTOPHER WILD is three lives, one man: we meet Marlowe in his own era, then the gritty mid-20th century, then a dark near-future where surveillance is everywhere. He makes his way with his words, makes friends and enemies, finds lovers, and flees those authorities who try to use him, or silence him, every time.
And he lives his life, his lives, like a Roman candle: all heat and spark, daring the darkness, throwing light. If you run with him you’ll be dazzled or burned, or maybe both, but you’ll never, ever be bored.
That’s how it was with CHRISTOPHER WILD, its research and its writing: enthusiastic early backers supplied funding, and in return I sent them emails with research snippets and excerpts as the book took shape. I was nervous—I’ve never shown my WIP before, not even to my beta readers—but Marlowe’s inspiration made me bold. (Check Out What Cory Doctorow Had to Say)
And the book’s launch events are scheduled at parties and in bars (NYC, Detroit, Chicago, with more cities on the horizon), because Marlowe was always joyfully, thoroughly drunk on words, and who wants to sit quietly in a folding chair when you can declaim or argue poetry over a drink?
I’m hoping that readers who know Marlowe and those who’ve never met him will join the party with this book, this man, who always seems to get the last word:
How’s your nose?
Fine, fingering the tape, eyes still bruised. You broke it, you know.
That wasn’t exactly fighting fair, was it?
No, it wasn’t.
Well . . . My pop always said, if you can’t kick a man’s ass, make him your pal.
We’re not pals. The last swallow of beer as flat as tap water, he sets aside the bottle with a smile unfeigned—Icarus still rising, the sun’s heat to his upturned face, what would that be like? to fly, know the fall was imminent, fly anyway—and Come on, he says, turning that smile on Jay Reeder, let’s live a little. Drive us someplace, I’ll buy you a drink.
– from CHRISTOPHER WILD
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You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. Octavia E. Butler
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