The Soul City Salvation
Guest post written by Jonathan LaPoma. www.jonlapoma.com
My latest book is The Soul City Salvation, which I’d mentioned previously. It’s loosely-based on my time living in San Diego and trying to heal my mental health issues while unlocking my creative potential. Like all of my books, it isn’t autobiographical and isn’t based on real events; however, all of the thoughts/feelings the main character has are things I’ve thought or felt as well. With my work, I often take something I’d felt in a particular situation, and write a new situation that feelsmore real than the actual events that happened. I live so much of my life in my head that it’s hard for me to even remember what was real from my own past and what I’d made up, and my books represent this fluid area between consciousness and dreams.
I started writing the novel in January 2019, when I got back from a trip to Nicaragua, and I finished the first draft in April, writing on the weekends. Then, I edited it once for content (plot holes, character development, etc…), and after, I proofread it. This is my normal novel editing process, and this took me about another four months. Then I sent it to my first editor, and I accepted/rejected her suggested edits, edited it again—by hand this time (I always print out a copy at this stage to try to catch mistakes I’d missed on the computer)—and sent it to my second editor. Normally, I can finish writing/editing a book in about four months, but this wasn’t a normal book.
The Soul City Salvation is my longest novel, but despite my best efforts at keeping it at a more commercially-appealing size, this was the length it needed to be. I kept telling myself not to go over 100,000 words, but the story kept telling me “more needs to be said about this.” Regardless, a reviewer just told me that despite the size, she “devoured” the novel. Also, KirkusReviews, which is one of the largest book review journals in the world, recommended the novel, as did Diane Donovan from California Bookwatch.
I love the cover design on this novel, which was done by theBookDesigners. I asked them to create something that looked like twisted meat to represent the protagonist’s muscular tension, which began when the OCD kicked in when he was a kid. Muscles can hold memory, and I wanted a cover that showed this in some way. I like the arrows on the muscle fibers, showing that despite the chaos and confusion, things are always moving forward. I think it’s hopeful and beautiful, and I’m glad I hired them to work with me on this project.