My idea for this book trailer was to tell a little story in the language of the old text adventures (like Zork) I grew up loving so much--and the text adventures one of the novel's main characters, Ben Hanson, grew up playing and--later--designing. I wanted the form to break a bit, but not too much. But I hoped that the "user"--as well as the viewer--would be a little creeped out, but also intrigued.

So where did it come from? First I wrote up a script. Then I went down to Columbia College here in Chicago and found Zachary Moore, an up-and-coming video artist and filmmaker, to help with the video. After I told him what I needed, he assured me that he'd have no trouble putting it together (even though Zach is WAY too young to have ever played Zork). It didn't matter--he nailed it. The look of the video is exactly what I hoped for, and then some. Zach added some nice little flourishes like the late fade of the last line and the glitchiness of the "media meltdown" in the middle.

Add to Zach's great work the amazing singing of the lovely Tift Merritt, giant rock star, who I met a couple years ago and who very generously offered to sing Wayfarin' Stranger for me for this project. Tift recorded this on her handheld and sent it to me a few weeks ago, after I gave her a sense of what tempo I needed. When she sent it, I listened to it in my car, through my iphone, on my way up to teach class. Chills.

And so here's what you get, after all of that: a very Zorky book trailer with some gorgeous singing on it. But a book trailer that I hope has a little bit more emotion than you might typically find in one of these badboys. A fledgling form, for sure.

THIS BRIGHT RIVER, what I've always thought of as both a love story and a thriller, (and what's was recently called a "rolling and raging river of a novel" in a starred review from Booklist) will be out on June 26th from Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown. Find out more at my website, And if you liked this, post it around!

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