UPDATE: Karen Hall’s Dark Debts


A long time ago, the (mostly) TV writer Karen Hall very kindly hosted me and The Wife for dinner at the above restaurant in Santa Monica (now closed) to talk about a pilot she had sold. (She told me to keep an eye out for an upcoming drama called Mad Men; that’s how long ago this was.) We had a lovely evening, though the pilot, as far as I know, has yet to be produced. Hall went on to do numerous other things. I went on to join this blog. Now comes word that she has done what very few authors get a chance to do: go back and fiddle with an already published novel. (I think of Waugh tinkering with later editions of Brideshead, and not much else.) What fun!


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    Thanks! That’s a great story. What were the circumstances of the invitation? Have you stayed in touch? And most importantly, has she been able to offer any help to Bat?

    • Broderick Barker says

      There was some talk of my helping out with the show if it got made. I even got to give notes on the script. Heady days. Alas, I believe Ms. Hall has moved on. And trust me, no one wants to help with Bat.

      • Quin Finnegan says

        Seriously? It’s done? Stick a fork in it done? I’m really bummed, BB. I think it’s just an amazing idea, but more importantly, I really thought it could get traction with the masses. Still think.

        I guess my insight into what the masses want is even sketchier than I thought.

        Next Summit, I’d like to hear the rest of the story.

        • Broderick Barker says

          Oh, no, no fork stuck. Still hoping to finish one day. I took people’s money, after all. And I really loved getting as far as I did, and would be very glad to see it finished. I just don’t imagine that anyone wants to help. Thanks for the kind word.

          • Quin Finnegan says

            In the meantime, maybe another one of the Lives of Famous Catholics? I’m not sure how much of a financial boon it was, but I’d consider that a great success.

            And I wonder if sometimes series need to be established *as series* before they can get the traction they really deserve. If Sue Grafton had stopped at A is for Alibi, that would have been terrible. Not just because B through X are fine reads (though I haven’t read them all), but because so many people would have missed out on A.

            And while I’m at it … I think the Hollywood Celebrity thing is great, and I for one would really like to see a Chris Farley book, but I don’t think you need to stop there. What about one on Cardinal Law? Or Dolan, for that matter? Or Newt Gingrich? Jeez, they’re like apples falling off a tree. Or plucked, if you will.

            Or maybe a graphic novel version, with artfully shitty Chick pamphlet graphics …

            I’m a font of inspiration is what I am!

            • Broderick Barker says

              Now that we’re going to get Alien: Covenant and Gaga is coming back for another season of American Horror Story, I guess I’m going to have to dust off Gaga Confidential: Madonna, Lady Gaga, and the Secret Show, with a Special Appearance by H.R. Giger: Volume 2 of the Korrektiv Press series Lives of Famous Catholics. I always lose money on my art, but that’s not really the point, is it?

              • Quin Finnegan says

                Exactly. I lost money on the novel, certainly, since I invested a fair amount in a professional editor. But if I hadn’t …

                I think it’s now possible to publish with zero money down (beginning to sound like a used car salesman, but wait), and that’s exactly what I intend to do next time. Professor Hren pays someone to illustrate the covers, but that really is about it. Marketing (or Advertising, actually) may cost, but the assumption has to be that it should make up for that cost with sales. Otherwise it’d be pointless. That has to be the assumption going forward.

                All of which is to say I’m very glad to hear about Gaga Confidential – almost as happy as I am to hear that we’re not yet ready to stick a fork in the Bat.

                Gambate, Godspeed, I’m praying for you, &c., &c.. …

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    And be sure to check out Flea’s sick new bass lines:


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