A few years ago,Â I wrote a rock & roll novel called Cadillac’s Comin’. Today, it went up on Kindle. It’s a hard tale of a rockabilly one-hit wonder who recorded for Sun Records back in the 1950s. For the uninitiated, Sun was a small company, but became the iconic label of that era, responsible for many of the great early rock & roll hits.
The book has the requisite sex, drugs, and rock & roll throughout, but the second half of the novel, which takes place in the 1980s, is noirish, so I feel it’s appropriate to talk about it in this space.
As I mention in a bio I wrote somewhere, thirty years of playing music isn’t exactly the best training for becoming an author. Thirty years of writing would be more like it. But playing music was what I did, so that’s what I had to work with. I say this because when I first sat down to write many years ago, the temptation was strong to “write what I know”, in other words, a rock & roll novel. Oh, was I tempted. Characters popped into my head from all sides, plots swirled around me…how could I resist?
But I had to resist, you know? Â Because I didn’t want to shoot my wad with one music novel. I wanted to write a lot of books, and I knew that rock & roll was not exactly a beckoning genre for successful novelists. So after a couple of missteps, I got into crime.
After I’d written a couple of crime/noir novels, I had convinced myself that I could actually write, so I finally gave release to those rock & roll demons inside my head. Cadillac’s Comin’ was the result. Of course, no agent or publisher would touch it, so after a few years of languishing on my hard drive, it resurfaced and got my attention once more. I tightened it up, polished it, and today I put it up on Kindle.
For those of you who have considered self-publishing on Kindle, I strongly recommend you read every word of Joe Konrath’s blogs for the last six months before you take the step. He has…well, just read the blogs and you’ll see what I mean. Once you do, and IF you decide to go ahead with it, be ready to step into The Formatting Swamp of Doom. You’ll need to go over your novel line by line–I mean it–and in some spots, word by word in order to format it correctly for Kindle.
If you make it to the other side of the swamp, set your price, throw it up there and hope for the best. Of course, you’ll need to promote it heavily, which will occupy virtually every waking moment of your foreseeable future. So good luck!
Now here’s a brief synopsis of Cadillac’s Comin’.
It is June, 1958.Â Elvis Presley has gone into the army, while Jerry Lee Lewis has just returned from a career-shattering trip to England with his 13-year-old wife.Â Rock & roll music is under attack from all sides and is in real danger of disappearing, as its two most dynamic artists are effectively removed from the picture.Â Sun Records, an independent Memphis label responsible for many of the seminal rock & roll hits, has chosen piano rocker Ike Thacker, native of Greenville, Mississippi, from its impressive stable of artists to assume the mantle of the “King of Rock & Roll”.
Ike is one of the most powerful performers on the American scene, combining an explosive stage presence with his natural talent for writing big songs.Â This one-two punch makes him the prime candidate for the top rock & roll artist in the world, and he makes up to five thousand dollars a night, a fortune by 1958 standards.
Sam Phillips, Sun’s founder and president, sees an opportunity to push his company into the highest echelons of the record business, becoming, in trade parlance, a “major label”.Â But first, the fledgling music called rock & roll must be firmly established with a hero, a leader at the top, who of course is under contract to Sun.Â Sam’s got it all planned out:Â Ike will do a starmaking tour, as his new record, Cadillac’s Comin’, shoots up the charts.Â The record will become a smash hit, a movie deal will then be signed, and he’s even slated to make an appearance on the prestigious Ed Sullivan Show, following which he will be universally recognized as the king of rock & roll.Â And of course, Sun will move into a controlling position in the music industry, selling millions of records in the process.Â All very nice, but Ike proves difficult to control.
Set in Memphis in the turbulent early years of rock & roll, and later in New Orleans’ shadowy demimonde, Cadillac’s Comin’ is a valentine to the rockabilly pioneers of the 1950s, who operated in the dark, with no rules, no guidelines, no precedents, and virtually no adult supervision.Â Against this chaotic backdrop, they nevertheless managed to solidify rock & rollâ€™s place in American culture.
For those of you who have a Kindle, just download it. The price is a measly $2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can go to Amazon.com, then Kindle, where you can download the Kindle app for free onto your computer. Then you can download the novel.
Yes, it can all be yours in mere moments! Buy it now!