Becoming a published author has given me a seat at a table where I’ve always wanted to sit. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Trifecta Publishing House label mate Samantha Heuwagen to that table. She is a new voice in science fiction and I had the pleasure of discussing her debut novel, Dawn Among the Stars, with her on my latest podcast.
Listen as we discuss her book, the science fiction genre in literature and films, feminism and much more.
When I set out to write The Dark Truth, I used a working title. It was never meant to be the title of the book, just something to name the file. There was a line in the movie Gladiator that I liked and it used the phrase, “shadows and dust.” So, that was the working title, Shadows and Dust. I thought it could work if necessary. It is a vampire story after all. They live in the shadows and can turn to dust. I was just never sold on it.
Many of the locations in the story are real. Almost all of them, actually. I was inspired by a photo gallery published by SFGate depicting some amazing abandoned places in Northern California. The climax takes place in a location I found thanks to Atlas Obscura. I had a need for an establishment in a particular location in San Francisco. The establishment didn’t exist and it didn’t exist where I needed it for the narrative.
Off to the local Beverages and More for writing fuel – a beer and whisky run. I have developed quite the taste for porters and stouts, and my love of Scotch is well-documented. I found an Imperial Stout called Dark Truth. At 9.75% ABV, it’s quite potent. I didn’t pay attention to who made it.
As I worked on the story, I thought, ‘hey, this is a great idea for the name of that establishment.’ So, I named it The Dark Truth. The more I wrote, the more I thought, ‘hey, this is a helluva an idea for the name of the book.’
When I went back to get more, BevMo said it was discontinued. I was disappointed. I wanted to celebrate the completion of the book with a Dark Truth. Shockingly enough, I found it again on a family vacation to visit my wife’s family in Ohio. We bought one bottle, I drank it, washed the bottle, and brought it back.
I posted a photo or graphic on social media and someone, I do believe it was my friends who live in Kansas City, said that the Dark Truth was made there. The label says “Boulevard.”
I get to Kansas City once a year and I visited this past weekend. My friends and I visited the World War I Museum. If you have never been I highly recommend. Anywho, on the way to the museum I noticed “Boulevard Brewing Company” from the highway. I asked my pals if we could go after the museum visit. They kindly agreed.
We parked, went to the wrong building, and were directed to the correct building. We ascended the stairs to the taproom bar. After standing in a line for a bit, a young lady asked to take our order. I showed her the graphic I had made with the cover of the book and a picture of the Dark Truth, and expressed my dismay that they didn’t have it on tap. She informed me that they had it in bottles. She also said that one of their beers inspiring the title for my book, “touched her heart.” I could not bring myself to drink a beer from a bottle at a craft brewery, especially one such as this. This was an impressive facility with numerous beers available on tap. I chose a Scottish Ale, and one of my friends had a hard cider.
Wallet in hand, I asked, “What’s the damage, what do I owe you?” With a wave of her hand, she responded, “Naw, you’re good.” I didn’t expect anything free, didn’t want anything free, didn’t ask for anything free. I was just excited to be at Boulevard that I wanted to share it with an employee.
After finishing our drinks, we hit the gift shop where I purchased a single bottle of the Dark Truth to take home and a Dark Truth t-shirt. We then zipped off to make our dinner reservation. I tweeted a few photos and @ mentioned Boulevard and they retweeted me.
This was an unexpected experience, one I will treasure. I’ll be sending Boulevard Brewing Company a signed copy of The Dark Truth.