Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.
I’m going to wrap up the little video series we’ve been doing the last few Fridays, at least for now, by giving you a quick synopsis of my book Rebel Yell.
Rebel Yell is the only non-genre book I’ve written to date. It’s not fantasy or sci fi or thriller at all. It’s just a book.
It’s what’s generally classified as “literary fiction,” in that it deals with modern times and it’s more about the point of the story than a particularly gripping plot—although hopefully you do, you know, enjoy the story.
Rebel Yell is about an indie rock band of the same name, and specifically about Steve Caverly, the lead singer of the band.
Rebel Yell has been practicing and playing together for years, but they’ve never done a live show or recorded a demo album, because Steve doesn’t think they’re ready.
Just before the book begins, his lead guitarist, Tanya, convinces him to record some songs and send them in to one of the biggest record labels in the world, and as the story opens, to their great surprise, they actually hear back from a producer.
The producer calls Steve in for a meeting and says he’s willing to sign Rebel Yell to a record contract—but first, Steve has to ghostwrite an album for the label’s biggest rock band and its lead singer, Hayley Savage.
After some deliberation, Steve agrees, and so begins his experience with using his talent and skill to further the career of someone else, in the hopes of finally getting a shot at the industry he’s always wanted to be part of.
Rebel Yell is blatantly about independent art versus industry art, and as you can imagine, I come down pretty heavily on the side of indie.
I wanted to tell a story that was not based on my own experiences as an author and a filmmaker, but drawn from what I’d seen in several years of working as an indie artist.
But, because I wanted to achieve some distance from the story, I chose to set it in the music industry instead of an industry in which I’d worked.
Because the experiences of the independent artist are, in many ways, universal regardless of what medium we practice our art in. We all get opportunities that seem a little too good to be true, and often are.
No matter whether you’re an author or a film director or a singer, you have to ride the line between doing what you love to do, the way you love to do it, and doing it in a way that actually lets you make a living at it.
The two aren’t mutually exclusive by any means, but finding a way to do both is almost always what consumes an artist’s thought and energy until they get their big break.
It’s been more than two years since I wrote Rebel Yell—and it’s the hardest book I’ve ever written, by the way, taking me more than six months of intense work—but it might ring even more true to me now than it did when I wrote it.
Since then, I’ve had success, I’ve been exposed to a slightly more mainstream side of my industry, I’ve had my own personal integrity and values challenged—and I didn’t always hold up to the test.
Of course the events in Rebel Yell are vastly different to my own experiences—I didn’t exactly know what was going to happen to me ahead of time, after all—but on a thematic level, they sound very familiar,
Two quick points of interest about Rebel Yell—it is the book I’m most looking forward to making into a movie one day.
I’ve always been obsessed with band movies like Almost Famous and That Thing You Do! and my personal favorite, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
I’m not even joking. If you don’t like that movie, we can’t be friends.
More than any book I’ve written, I see Rebel Yell in my head. I know how I’m going to shoot each scene. I know where I’m going to shoot each scene.
It’s set in many of my favorite spots in Los Angeles, and every location is drawn from a powerful emotional moment I had while growing up in that city.
Fun side note number two: all of the music in Rebel Yell is based on the music of my favorite band, Rise Against.
Rise Against is an incredibly poetic band, angry at injustice and dealing with intense societal issues in every song, and they could not be more appropriate as a subtext for this story.
I hope to use their music in the film one day, and if you’re very, very familiar with their discography, you’ll be able to spot the songs I used in my books.
I didn’t use their lyrics, but I wrote my own lyrics to some of their most popular songs. When the book does get adapted to film, I would want to use the originals, of course.
So that’s Rebel Yell. It’s earnest, it’s honest, and in many ways, it’s still my favorite book I’ve ever written. But then again, it’s also my lowest selling book ever. Nightblade sells more copies every single day than Rebel Yell has sold since I published it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these little synopsis videos, Rebel. We’re done with them for now, but I’ll make another one when my next new book series launches.
Thank you so much for watching, give the video a Like if you don’t mind, and I will see you on Monday. Byyye!