About the Author
Steven R. Boyett is the author of Ariel, Elegy Beach, and other novels, short stories, comic books, and feature screenplays. He has been a professional martial arts instructor, paper marbler, advertising copywriter, proofreader, writing teacher, website editor, electronic music composer, and chapbook publisher.
As a DJ Boyett created the ground-breaking and award-winning Podrunner workout music series (iTunes Top 10 in its category for five years in a row), and the popular Groovelectric dance music series. He has played clubs and conventions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, and at Burning Man. Currently he lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
About Mortality Bridge
In 1987 the poet Nancy Lambert made a joke about the ferryman Charon as a New York taxi driver and set Boyett on a dark obsession that would last 24 years.
The original idea was to tell a muscular, action-packed novel that was essentially an extended chase scene from start to finish. But "the tale," as Tolkien once wrote, "grew in the telling"—from a straightforward action-adventure to a deeply felt and lyrically written examination of the power of myth, free will, duty, and redemption, and even of the ways in which language itself shapes our perceptions, thoughts, and abilities.
The first draft was completed in 1994. Boyett estimates the manuscript underwent at least 30 subsequent revisions and half a dozen substantial rewrites.
"I've worked hard at my craft all my life," Boyett says. "But even while I was writing this, I knew it was something different. In its themes, its scope, language, density. It was bigger than me. I had to evolve—as an artist, as a human being—to be up to the standard the book had set. Draft after draft I was aware of the gulf between what the book wanted to be and what I was capable of. It was maddening and it owned my life and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I loved the whole difficult, dark, obsessive, and impassioned journey."
He set the manuscript aside for several years while he worked on other projects (one of which almost accidentally resulted in him becoming a well-known DJ). One day, he says, "I just knew that it was time." He revised Mortality Bridge again and sent it to his agent, Richard Curtis, who made some structural suggestions that caused everything to fall into place.
"Richard felt we really had something here, and I did too," Boyett remembers. "I was so excited. I realized I was finally qualified to step into the ring with this thing. When I sent it off that last time, I knew that I was done. That it was done. You're not supposed to play favorites with your books, but Mortality Bridge is it. I was born to write this book"
Mortality Bridge won the 2011 Emperor Norton Award for best novel by a San Francisco Bay-area writer.
Read Boyett's essay on Mortality Bridge for The Big Idea on John Scalzi's acclaimed "Whatever" blog.