For almost forty years, James Delmar has been living without really living. When his dreams start taking over his waking life, he builds a device to control his thoughts while he sleeps. With the help of his best friend Charlie and without the help of his wife Lara, he tries to understand the purpose of his life and reclaim control.

A novel about love and inventions and dreams
and music and spirituality and time zones and fate.

Get it today for $2.99 at Amazon

Praise for Autopilot

"Autopilot is a taught page-turner. You'll fly through the book as you breathlessly await the next twist."

"Dave Fymbo is the “Sully" Sullenberger of contemporary fiction! Just when you think the American novel is headed toward a certain and violent death, Fymbo skillfully navigates the farcical and dramatic melange of modern American living and lands this novel in the Hudson River."

How to Read Autopilot

I suppose this would have been more helpful earlier, but here it is for any new readers or anyone who wants to read it again. Think of this as the director's commentary for the second time through. I designed each chapter to be short enough that anyone could pick it up and get through a chapter, even if they only have 10-15 minutes per day to read. But that way you do lose some of the flow and perhaps some of the references if it doesn't stay fresh in your mind.

On the other hand, some people are likely to carve out a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and finish it in one sitting and I'm not sure that's the best either. Sure it's fresh in your mind, but you don't get a chance to absorb and reflect on what you've read.

If you asked me, I look at it like a season of 24. They have six DVD's with 4 episodes each and watching 4 episodes in a night engrosses you in the story. Any more than that and it will all blend together.

Here are the six parts of Autopilot, as I see them:

Part 1: Chapters 1-4
Part 2: Chapters 5-8
Part 3: Chapters 9-12
Part 4: Chapters 13-15
Part 5: Chapters 16-18
Part 6: Chapters 19-21

So I would recommend reading one part per day, and finish the whole thing in a week. Personally, I love parts 4-6 the most. And I think parts 1 and 2 are better the second time around.

Easter Eggs

It's no secret that there is one author who I've been most inspired by: Chuck Palahniuk. And one tidbit is that every one of his novels includes the color cornflower blue and Missoula, Montana.

Well, now I've got two works out there and there are things that I've repeated in Autopilot from Roadside Attractions. Some were techniques or descriptions that I considered a little nod to anyone who read my first book. Others might become "easter eggs"--little things that will appear in everything I write.

Here's what I've found so far:

  • refined white flour
  • "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
  • pregnancy tests
  • arabica beans
  • barbecued ribs
  • someone alone in a rowboat
And the one that I think stands the best chance of being my #1 easter egg: beige berber carpet.

So if you come across anything else that seems familiar from RA, please post it in the comments.

My Writing Philosophy

I like to write things that I would want to read. So that means keeping it short, no filler. That also means that every sentence should be important. Often I find myself reading books where you could skim entire pages and not miss anything. My goal is that you have to be engaged with every line. I want to be able to tell you something important and know that you're going to read it and not skim through it.

So I hope that you find Autopilot engaging to read, easy to finish because of its length, but complex enough that you might want to read it over and over again to see what you missed.

About Writing My First Novel

I should start by saying up front that this is the biggest, and most personal project I've ever done. It ate up hours upon hours. And I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

So how did I get to this point?

By the end of July 2007, I decided to write my first novel. I didn't really have characters yet, just ideas. Throughout the fall, I kept brainstorming, working on the plot, crafting any interesting ideas into paragraphs.

Around December 07 I started creating an outline. It was hard to know if I had too much or too little to work with, but it felt like enough to get started. And around the week of January 25th, 2008, I started writing the first chapter. (It wouldn't be until July 2008 that I landed on the title.)

It took over six months to write the rough draft, including some weeks where that's all I thought about. Ever since then I've been sharing and editing and letting it sit. I'll come back to it months later, to read it, find more things to improve. Now it's 2011 and it's as good as it's going to be. At least for now. So here it is.

Found Errors?

Found a typo? Or something that just doesn't make sense? Post it here in the comments so I can fix it. Thanks.