Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Summer Rain useless trivia

I’ve been busy working on something. Check this out, here are some facts and other worthless trivia about my first book, Summer Rain:

  • The book was started on April 1, 1995
  • The final draft was sent to the publisher on July 3, 2000
  • The last third of the book was completely rewritten in the second-to-last draft.
  • About 20,000 words were cut from the book’s length during the final draft.
  • Final wordcount: 220,866
  • First draft wordcount: 82,142
  • Original target wordcount: 40,000
  • A first draft was completed on 9/15/95, but contained just a fraction of the final product.
  • Based on a short story by the same name written in late 1994 for a writing class. Part of the story is in chapter 38. A slightly cleaned-up version of the standalone story is here
  • The interview with Type O Negative contained in Chapter 35 really did happen when Jon Konrath was a DJ at WQAX in 1992. Later, when their landmark album Bloody Kisses was released, they thanked John Conner from WQAX. This is where the name for the main character came from.
  • Early drafts contained lyrics from many Death Metal bands, but they were removed in the final draft to avoid permissions problems.
  • The band Nuclear Winter was a basement/joke band containing Jon Konrath, Larry Falli, Ray Miller, Derik Rinehart, and others. The song lyrics quoted are real.
  • The story’s timeline is carefully scripted to match Indiana University’s actual 1992 academic calendar.
  • Jon Konrath went back to the IU Bursar’s office and purchased a complete recapitulation of his Bursar’s account to reverse-engineer some of the dates and dollar amounts in the book.
  • The report cards and letters from the college with regard to grades were real.
  • In chapter 32, a letter from the Dean of Students is signed by Juan Schwartz. This is the pseudonym Trey Parker used in his film Cannibal: The Musical
  • In chapter 21, John falsely predicts that the World Wide Web will never catch on.
  • Almost all of the mails sent from John Conner were actual emails sent by Jon Konrath in 1992.
  • Several scenes and characters were cut completely from the book:
    • A job interview for a computer support position at Bryan Hall.
    • Going on a horrible blind double date to see Cool World with a female friend and her best friend.
    • An interview with Death Metal band Unleashed
    • Several sequences involving me tutoring a friend in computer science
    • Another female interest late in the book that acted as a foil against Amy.
  • The original draft had an ending that took place years after the original summer. It told what happened to John Conner, and some of the other characters in the book. It ended with a paragraph that’s partially stolen from Charles Bukowski’s Post Office:
             Then I started reading, reading guys like Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski.  I saw their lives through their prose, and it started me scribbling in spiral notebooks, hoping to free myself by journaling.  The scribbling helped mold me, and as I felt better about my own little world, the pile of filled spiral notebooks began to grow.  Then, I decided I should just write a novel about all of it.  And I did.
  • In early drafts, Amy leaves John for another man at the end of the book.
  • In real life, WQAX closed its doors forever at the end of 1992.
  • Nick’s original name was Marco.
  • The first trip to Elkhart was much longer. It was cut in half during edits. One scene removed contained John’s father.
  • The entire book was written using emacs. It was stored in text files, a file per chapter.
  • A printout of a draft from 6/18/99 is in the Library of Congress. This was the second-to-last draft.
  • Amy’s apartment in chapter 37 (Colonial Crest, #144) was Jon Konrath’s actual apartment in the 1993-1994 school year.
  • The cover photo is Showalter Fountain. The photo was taken by Dave Gulbransen, but the publisher messed it up during design, so it looks horrible.
  • Amy’s personal name in her email says “The more things change, the more they stay the same” in French.