JOHN VERCHER chats to Paul Burke about his new novel AFTER THE LIGHTS GO OUT, identity, racism, Mixed Marshal Arts, mental health - CTE/Alzheimer's and carers, noir/tragedy and propulsive storytelling, and fear for the dog (Loki)
AFTER THE LIGHTS GO OUT: How do you save yourself when you’re the person you trust least of all?
Xavier "Scarecrow" Wallace is a biracial Black MMA fighter on the wrong side of thirty, who is facing the comeback fight of his life. He is also losing his battle with pugilistic dementia- a struggle he can no longer deny.
In the nursing home of his father, a white man suffering from Alzheimer's, Xavier witnesses shocking episodes that expose ugly truths about his past and his family.
And as the big fight draws near, a sparring session with a younger competitor goes horribly wrong, leaving Xavier faced with a dangerous dilemma: throw his match or suffer the deadly consequences.
After the Lights Go Out is a propulsive exploration of biracial identity, the price that athletes pay to entertain, and one man's battle to reconcile his past- even when he can't hold on to his present.
John Vercher lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and two sons. He has a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Mountainview Master of Fine Arts program. He is a contributing writer for WBUR Boston’s Cognoscenti, and NPR features his essays on race, identity, and parenting. His debut novel, THREE-FIFTHS, was named one of the best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune, CrimeReads, and Booklist. It was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Strand Magazine Critics’ Awards for Best First Novel. John's second novel AFTER THE LIGHTS GO OUT is available now. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @jverchwrites.
Chet'la Sabree Field Study
James Hannaham Delicious Foods
Smith Henderson Fourth of July Creek
Leonard Gardner Fat City
William Boyle Shoot the Moonlight Out
Eli Cranor Don't Know Tough
Ted Flanagan Every Hidden Thing
Scott Blackburn It Dies With You.
Produced by Junkyard Dog
Music courtesy of Southgate and Leigh
Paul Burke writes for Crime Time, Crime Fiction Lover and the European Literature Network. He is also a CWA Historical Dagger Judge 2022 .
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