Well…first of all, it’s a character I created and the title of book I wrote last year and published Jan 1st. But to me it’s more than that, more than just a character. He’s all my hero’s rolled into one. Sebastian Cross is a writer, a world traveling, adventure seeking, brilliant novelist that produces a book that sets in motion a chain of events that destroys him and everyone around him. That’s about the jist of it.
When Paul asked me to be a guest blogger on his site, needless to say I was flattered. I respect and admire his work and jumped at the offer even though I wasn’t sure what I could contribute. I’m currently at work on a new novel; all my short stories are here and there tied up in various stages of submissions. So I asked if I could post a passage from Sebastian Cross, after all-it’s the one I’m currently pimping, and it does have some pretty good things to say, I think.
He said, “what ever you want mate.”
The scene your about to read is about a third into the book, page 100 I think. Cross has risen from a relatively unknown writer to an international figure on the heels of his second novel, Wages of Sin. Because of that book, Sebastian and his agent, Murray Henshaws’ live are beginning to change; and not for the better.
It goes like this:
“Sebastian, don’t worry about it,” I told him. He did worry though; I could hear it in his voice.
In the beginning he took these attacks personally. He didn’t know it wasn’t necessarily about the money. Everyone wanted a piece of him, a piece of the book, and it caused him to become withdrawn, pulling his circle in tighter. Most of his readers were different. They were fiercely protective of Sebastian and the book. Protest broke out wherever they refused to carry it. Students and young adults went face to face with Christian groups and controlling politician’s wives, things got heated. It was great. You couldn’t buy publicity like that and we laughed all the way to the bank.
But then a character in Seattle, one of the more persistent enemies had been claiming in television interviews that he had proof the book was a malicious attempt to ruin him. He had high dollar attorneys trying to bilk what they could. Moon had sent a room full of his three piece sharks, and they would’a shred him to fucking pieces. But on the steps of the court house, on a beautiful summer day, a man stalked his way through the media crowd and right in front of God and everybody, screamed the words, “wages of sin motherfucker,” and pulled the trigger. He fell to the ground and his blood ran over the marble stairs for the whole goddamn world to see.
Penny and Sebastian were staying in Vancouver training for the K2 climb when they got the news. He called me up late one night and said “I should have never written that damn thing Murray.”
“Don’t say that Sebastian, it’s not your fault.” I reassured him. I said the words, but a little voice kept nagging me that we haven’t seen the worst of it. Sebastian’s monster was on the loose and out of control.
Penny stood by him as always. She must have known about the other women, I mean she had to, but she never brought it up as far as I knew. Even when a few maternity suits started flying around, she ignored it all. It was him that started pushing her away. I didn’t understand it at the time but he feared for her safety and any harm to her would have destroyed him. It was during this time I realized that he really did love her.
His community of climbers and mountaineers, the world sailors and soul searchers, quietly surrounded him and took him in. The authors, poets, and journalist offered their support and respect in the only way they knew how, silence.
One of our last phone calls, right before he left for Pakistan for the climb left me a little disturbed. It was late again, as always, and he woke me from a dead sleep. He’d been drinking.
“It’s your fault too Henshaw.”
“What’s my fault Sebastian?”
“You know what. Are you happy? You can just sit back and get fat while that book ruins lives.”
“Sebastian you came to me, remember? We haven’t done anything wrong. You haven’t done anything wrong. Ya wrote a fuckin book, that’s all.”
“That’s not all, and you know it.”
“You’ve been drinking Sebastian. The people we’re speaking of were not right to begin with.” I told him. “You can’t blame a book.”
I was worried that he wasn’t in the right frame of mind for what he was about to attempt. For every four that make the summit of K2, one dies. Yeah, I looked it up and what I found was very troubling.
I wanted to tell him about my wedding the following year. I wanted him to be my best man. I wanted to talk him out of that ridiculous quest, but I refrained. I thought maybe he’d find something up there, and bring it back. I kept telling myself, maybe he needed this.
For some, the only place to find yourself is the furthest from where you are, and Sebastian is definitely one of those. He could only find himself on the highest road, the steepest peak, or the stormiest of seas, and only there could he be reached.
I’ve asked myself many times over the years, why does great art often try to kill the creator? Why did In Cold Blood ruin Capote? Why did The Catcher in the Rye affect so many and send Salinger into hiding? Why would a beautiful light like Mark Twain, adored by millions, die alone, miserable and disenchanted with God and the human race?
Fame is a stealthy killer. It comes in the night like a warm and comforting lover, promising all, giving all, and leaving in return a damned mummified corpse, drained of color and life.
Sebastian once told me he didn’t consider himself an artist, and great artists never do. They just do what they do and the world watches in amazement as they climb higher and higher, until somewhere, someday, they crest, and the only place to go is down. Some slide, some fall, some just end it while they’re there, but none are allowed to stay and I could see that crest coming into view.
There are about 350 more pages of this crap, but if you like it, you can get any of my books in paper back at Kevin Lynn Helmick Amazon Books. Ebooks for Kindle and on Smashwords are very cheap.
Thanks people, for taking the time, and thank you Paul. You’re the man.
Catch you all later.
Kevin Lynn Helmick is an American fiction writer near Chicago IL.
The Lost Creek Journal (a collection of dark poetry, writings and ramblings)
Clovis Point (a coming of age modern thriller)
Sebastian Cross (an epic literary adventure)