Jeannette Kantzalis is a Californian musician who’s about to land in the crime fiction genre in a rather unusual way. Her book Josephine the Outlaw King initially germinated online as a blog about her life which she started writing a few years ago. Since then she’s developed her prose into a semi-autobiographical novel written in that hardboiled, noir-ish style and it’s due to be released on 14 February 2012 from NeoPoiesis Press. What’s more, she’s releasing an album that parallels the book and it’s already out.
We haven’t checked out the book yet but it sounds pretty interesting. Apparently, crime came to the author and changed her life, and the result is she got into writing crime fiction. “I’d always written shamelessly about my wicked ways, flaunting my survival of a misspent life,” she says. “I was brutally honest about the deeds but there was this veil of bravado. Then, one night a man came into my yard after I’d put my son to bed. I was outside on my little gazebo. It was dark but I could see he had an iPod pumping in his ears and a knife pumping in his fist. He came at me but luckily, I saw him first. After that, something shifted in me. I felt a new kind of courage, one I didn’t know I owned.”
Josephine the Outlaw King is based on events from the author’s own life, with imagined ones mixed in. Its main character is left for dead after an attack but decides to carry on. The story takes place in the area of Southern California known as Inland Empire where Kantzalis grew up. Josephine becomes the Outlaw King – the ultimate femme fatale – in a setting full of biker bars and brothels. There is to be a graphic novel as well.
The album is the musical counterpoint to the book, recorded by the author under the name A Brokenheart Pro. “It’s the same story using different media,” says Kantzalis. “As a songwriter it was natural for me to add an album and videos to this grand vision. But the lyrics aren’t excerpts from the book. They’re written from a different perspective. Having music underneath helped set the tone and the feel so the characters could speak in a simpler voice.”
Watch this trailer for the book, which comes out next month.