Some number of years ago I was at a county fair in Florida. In a tent set up with picnic tables, a live band was playing. The acoustics weren’t great; it was loud, and we were all the way in the back, so I could only halfway hear the singer. I had a vague sense of a bluesy, countryish, folksy kind of thing, but it seemed to me in that loud, hot, hard-to-hear space, that the man on stage was singing about a monster. Or maybe a legend. One of those tall tales, like John Henry, or Paul Bunyan, a larger-than-life figure either walking into or out of a swamp, leaving only footprints behind, baked hard as rock into the mud by the rising sun.
There’s a better than even chance that the song was not about that at all. More likely it was about a sweetheart leaving, a broken heart, moving on, taking revenge, or the best darn truck or hound dog the singer ever had. It doesn’t matter. I heard what I wanted to hear, or what I needed to hear. Thus Catfish John was born.
Fast forward several years to nowish, and I have a debut novella about to make its way into the world. It’s a weird, horror, Southern Gothic type thing about a small town, buried secrets, friendship, and family. There is a swamp, and there are definitely monsters. Catfish Lullaby officially comes out on August 13, but it’s currently available for pre-order from Broken Eye Books and Amazon. The gorgeous cover art is by Sishir Bommakanti. Over on the Broken Eye Books website, you can see some very kind things Mike Allen, John Langan, and Craig Laurence Gidney had to say about the novella. You can even read a sample.
So thank you, unknown singer, for whatever it was you were singing about that day in Florida many years ago. From such misheard lyrics are legends born.