Jim is an example of how working with talented authors generally means you’re going to encounter other talented authors, too. I’d been working with Martin Lastrapes for a while when I got an email from Jim, who was one of Martin’s influences and with whom Martin had once studied writing.
I wasn’t familiar with Jim’s work before then, but it turned out he’d written a popular, critically acclaimed memoir called The Los Angeles Diaries. The rights for that work were with a publisher already, but that was okay; I set out intending to focus more on fiction, and Jim had a lot of it.
I quickly devoured Lucky Town, which I loved. I told Jim, and we agreed to work together to publish his fiction, which included several novels and short stories.
We’re still working on that, but I’m aiming to have all his work we’ve contracted published by year’s end. And trust me: it’s great. Jim’s writing reminds me a little of Raymond Carver’s, with its nuanced domesticity and the way it spins stories from domestic life, but there’s something a little more forceful and a little more visceral, to me, about Jim’s work. It has the same nuance but it’s more vital — and sometimes feels like it’s more likely to suddenly explode. I love that energy.