Shocking, twisty and relentlessly suspenseful, John Fram’s debut, The Bright Lands, is a heart-pounding story about old secrets, modern anxieties and the price young men pay for glory. We spoke with author John Fram about his inspiration for the book, capturing the perfect Texas accent with his audiobook’s narrator, and more.
“Marks the debut of an already accomplished novelist.”John Banville, author of The Sea
Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.
I’m not sure it’s possible to grow up in Texas and not want to write about it. The state is big, beautiful and more than a little menacing, which makes it the perfect place to set a big, character-driven supernatural thriller. Muriel Spark said that, for her, writing was like taking dictation from God. I had the same experience, but the God transcribing The Bright Lands got smarter and spookier the longer things went on.
In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise Libro.fm listeners about your audiobook?
That its incredible narrator, Luis Selgas, had never been to Texas before he started the recording! Luis and I spent a wonderful hour taking our way through the dialect of this spooky little town and he absolutely killed it with every character.
Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?
I’ll admit, I’m more than a little nervous about re-meeting my old work, so I haven’t listened to it all the way through, but I’ve bounced around to some favorite scenes. I’m incredibly pleased with what I’ve heard and I’ve never felt so lucky.
Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?
Back when gyms were still a thing, I loved listening to thrillers on audiobook—Dennis Lehane and Lee Child are great buddies at the squat rack. Lately, I’ve fallen out of the habit, but I look forward to fixing that soon.
What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?
I could never have become the artist I am today without independent bookstores! I found all my icons at the small stores in Waco, Texas: Barbara Vine, Donna Tartt, Stephen King, Alice Munro. Now, booksellers have become some of the biggest advocates for The Bright Lands and I can never thank them enough.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Please, for the love of books, go and VOTE in November.
Header photo by Luke Fontana