AUSTIN, TX–Owen Barrett always dreamed of becoming a writer. From a young age, he romanticized the idea of writing award-winning movies or traveling the world to cover investigative pieces about some primitive civilizations and foreign links to the assassination of JFK. Owen wasn’t sure exactly what type of writing he’d settle into, but he worked his ass off to make himself a standout writer in the meantime.
Although it may not be exactly what he had in mind, Owen is writing a novel. Technically, it’s his fourth novel, but it’s the first one he’s ever been paid to write, and nobody read the other ones anyway. “It’s a fan fiction piece that explores what would’ve happened to Kobe Bryant if he faked his death and lived on in anonymity,” Owen explained. However, he made it clear that he couldn’t share too many details at risk of violating the terms of his $1,500 contract for the roughly 500-page novel. “I think Kobe moves to Portland, opens a Kobe beef burger food truck, and tries his hand at slam poetry on open mic nights. I’ll leave it at that because I can’t really say any more without potentially getting myself into trouble with the NDA.”
Owen then confessed that his first draft of the novel didn’t go over particularly well with the publisher. “They said I don’t have any good female characters. That they’re completely undeveloped, that was the big note. I honestly don’t get the criticism. Maggie is one of my favorite characters in the whole dang story. She swears like a guy and has unconventionally good looks. And they think Maggie is undeveloped?” the incredulous Owen continued, perhaps sharing more about his book than he originally intended. “She’s not like the other girls. That’s what makes her special.”
Hoping to establish his credibility as a writer of female characters, Owen continued to overshare about his resolution to the criticism. “I’ve made Maggie bisexual in the latest draft. It doesn’t come up much in the story, but when she’s hanging out with Kobe, Maggie likes to catcall women or make lewd comments or whatever. But, at the same time, it’s clear that she’s also romantically interested in Kobe. He won’t give her the time of day anyway because he still loves Vanessa, so it never really plays out. It’s more atmospheric. It’s like, Maggie is bisexual, but she’s more into men than women — but you know she’d be down for like a three-way if the situation arose. That’s a developed character. That’s a character with depth.”
Following the interview, Owen’s book deal was nixed by the publisher.