Friday, November 9, 2012

Lavinia Ludlow's Guide to Books & Booze

Time to grab a book and get tipsy!

Books & Booze is a new mini-series of sorts here on TNBBC that will post every Friday in October. The participating authors were challenged to make up their own drinks, name and all, or create a drink list for their characters and/or readers using drinks that already exist. 

Lavinia Ludlow's Character's Get Their Booze On

It’s not often that I get to slam the ironies of my books’ main characters in one sitting, and simultaneously reveal the sharpest edges and darkest corners of my writing’s content. Today, I toast three characters in my debut novel alt.punk, as well as two characters in my upcoming sophomore novel Single Stroke Seven, with drinks invented exclusively for The Next Best Book Blog.

For those who have read alt.punk, you know what train wrecks Hazel and Otis were as individuals, and what psychotic a-bombs they became when they were together. For those who haven’t read alt.punk, in a nutshell, Hazel is a germaphobic suburbanite who tosses her job, sanitary living comforts, and her family’s hypercritical distain out the back door to hit the road touring the nation with a grimy, manic-depressive Goth rocker named Otis, and his disapproving severely left-winged whip-smart brother, Landon.

Oh, Otis, you simple-minded thirty-something psychotic man-boy who lacks the self-control and mental aptitude to put down the gas station generic hard liquor long enough to use a glass, much less mix a drink. For you, I’ve crafted the Otis Opus:

--One bottle or any large quantity slurry of the following: Jim Beam, Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Wild Turkey
--Splash of Listerine or Nyquil for added taste and/or color
**Garnish with backwashed chunks of own puke

Hazel, because you somehow believe processed foods such as Twix, Twinkies, Milano cookies, and diet soda are immune to carcinogens, pesticides, and whatever other infectious ailments you neurotically fear like hoof and mouth disease, mad cow, anthrax, E. coli, herpes, I’ve engineered the Hazel with a Twist:

--Boxed red wine so cheap that it tastes like grape juice or any other high-fructose corn syrup drink
--Martini glass coated with a thin film of hand sanitizer
**Garnish with a can of Pirouline hazelnut cookies eaten in one sitting

Landon, similar to the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix, a limited edition, once-in-a-lifetime single malt borne from the disaster of the distillery roof collapse wherein casks of scotch varying in age were salvaged from the extreme snowy temperatures of the open air, you are the salvaged and remarkable remains of the disastrous fall from grace you had to watch your band, Riot Venom, and your brother, Otis, go through over the course of a few months. Although you’d probably call Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix a booze for pretentious yuppies who redefine douchebaggery, you should be toasted with this remarkable scotch straight up, and commended for your strength through the most dismal of situations (even though you served as Otis’ enabler for years, and you punched Hazel in the face, and some may theorize you drove her into the throes of a psychological breakdown, you’re still the biggest badass I’ve ever written, even bigger than my next book’s antagonist: Duncan).

I’m going to take advantage of the segue to introduce my upcoming second novel, Single Stroke Seven, a dark-humored “Behind the Music” glimpse into the chemistry of a Bay Area rock band that has yet to “make it” despite years of ambitious initiatives and unconventional sacrifices. In this tale, Lilith is a literal starving musician and trying to land an indie record label and nationally sponsored tour for her band. The stress of her job and her band mates’ figurative ADD, especially the band’s frontman, Duncan, prevent her from performing further than the rehearsal space in their house’s kitchen. Though there are multiple characters I could have explored, focusing on my main two characters will do justice to the novel without releasing any spoilers:

Duncan, because you’re the West Coast’s biggest hipster trust funder, who despite being thirty and living with his band, Dissonanz, in a moldy possibly government-subsidized Victorian shanty downtown San Jose, has never had any real-world work experience and can therefore buy thousands of dollars of edible gold leaf for the sole sake of “blinging up his food,” I’ve crafted the Tall, Dark, and Whorey, because you’re kind of a man-whore, who’s promiscuity and frivolous spending is brought on by the fact you have no life direction, aspirations, or deep and meaningful connection with anyone.

--Laphroaig Islay single malt scotch whiskey aged twenty-five years
--Wisk in two sheets of edible gold leaf
**Sip while smoking a ridiculously expensive brand of cigarette imported from a company you think is Irish and linked to your ancestors but is probably manufactured and distributed by some British conglomerate

Lilith, you are a diehard Gordon Biersch drinker because you have some inexplicable devotion to San Jose, California, but for you, I’ve crafted Lilith’s Run:

--Gin and tonic, minus the tonic because your job as a human resources administrator in an East Oakland bottling plant is a stress hell of frivolous claims and accusations of being the summer intern
**Shoot gin intermittently while gorging on an eclectic medley of cocktail pickles, martini olives, pickled eggs, pearl onions, maraschino cherries, and anything else a bartender would garnish drinks with like celery sticks, grape tomatoes, and fruit pieces fished out of sangria mixes, because everyone knows you’re a starving drummer who’s made meals out of condiments like Coffee-mate and ketchup, and your anxiety is on overdrive because you’re on the verge of aging-out of eligibility of Club 27 and you’ve yet to advance your music past dead end bar rock

Thanks to Lori Hettler for not only reviewing alt.punk and putting up with all the intense characters like Otis, Hazel, and Landon, but also challenging me with a writing prompt, to throw down my thoughts on drinks for these characters and gaining a better understanding of them in general. Big thanks for also allowing me a medium to introduce a few characters from my next novel, Single Stroke Seven, which has a seemingly sliding scale of being released in late 2013 or early 2014 through Casperian Books.

For those reading, I’m interested in reading your responses to Lori’s prompt. Email them to lavinia (dot) ludlow (at) gmail (dot) com or reply to Lori’s post directly. Happy writing, drinking, and/or writing about drinking!

Lavinia Ludlow is a musician, writer, and occasional contortionist. Her debut novelalt.punk can be purchased through major online retailers as well as Casperian Books’ website. Recently, her sophomore novel Single Stroke Seven was signed to Casperian Books as well. In her free time, she reviews independent literature over at places such as Small Press ReviewsSmalldoggies MagazineThe Nervous BreakdownAmerican Book Review, and Plumb Blog. She hearts all indie writers, musicians, and artists and hopes you do too. Find her on: FacebookGoodreads, Fictionaut,  Twitter

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