The Inlander, the 50,000-circulation weekly based in Spokane, is borrowing a page from the days of Dickens for its latest project: an original serialized novel told over the course of the next year. In the true spirit of serials, Samuel Ligon is still hard at work writing Miller Cane: A True and Exact History, even as the first installments of the book debut in the Sept. 13 issue of the Inlander. And while the project is certainly for the enjoyment of readers, the inclusion of a sponsor — in this case, Sprint — means that the novel is actually generating revenue for the paper.
The latest installments of Miller Cane will always appear in print first, then the web (millercane.inlander.com) and the radio. Spokane Public Radio is broadcasting audio versions of the book over the course of its run in the Inlander.
“Once upon time, newspapers saw it as part of their mission not only to deliver the important news of the day, but also to entertain readers with stories — with riveting, fully developed novels told in short installments,” Inlander editor Jacob H. Fries says. “That tradition of serialization continues today with the Inlander.”
Reviews of the work so far are glowing. “Settle in for a ride that is always wild, full of tension, sharply imagined, empathetically told, funny as hell, and absolutely fearless,” says Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness, a Pulitzer finalist.
Or this from Jess Walter, author of the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins: “Buckle up, gentle reader, Sam Ligon is about to take you on an outrageous road trip across American history and hysteria.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Samuel Ligon is the author of two other novels — Among the Dead and Dreaming and Safe in Heaven Dead — and two collections of stories, Wonderland and Drift and Swerve. He’s artistic director of the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference and teaches at Eastern Washington University. In 2012, Ligon and his wife, Kate Lebo, started Pie & Whiskey — raucous literary events featuring pie, whiskey and readings about those eponymous things — and together they edited a 2017 collection of works from readings in Spokane and Missoula, called Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter & Booze.