Wednesday, September 25, 2013

“Finding Our Way” Celebrating A Year of Publication





“You tell it from your perspective. Then I will tell it from mine.” 

 

Justin Parker and Derrick Wilson have been the best of friends since meeting back in middle school. Both of them are now in their junior year at Chandler High School, and are living the good life as teenagers. They have great girlfriends, plenty of close friends, their own cars, and parents who are well off. As nice as things might look to an outsider, something is missing from both of their lives.

Justin and Derrick both take turns narrating the story of their junior year in high school and all of the events that take place in each of their lives. Being a teenager can be tough. Being gay can be tougher. For Derrick and Justin they are both, and life cannot get any more complicated.


 

It has been a year now since I published my debut novel Finding Our Way that brought about two follow-up novels throughout the next year.  Below are the questions I’ve been asked by my readers and my responses to them.

 

 

How did Finding Our Way come to be?

The story itself was an idea I’ve had for years, but was never able to figure out how to write it.  I thought it would be boring told from one characters perspective and never even given any thought to telling it from both of their point of view.  I wrote the part with Derrick and Janie at the burger place after having a similar experience myself.  This was actually the first part of the book that I wrote.  I had imagined myself being younger and having an encounter with this guy who would later become Brad.  I wrote  a couple of pages and saved them to my desktop.  A month later, I had an idea about this guy being the same age as Brad, checking of him out and feeling conflicted about a drunken episode with his best friend.  The biggest struggle I had when I first started the book was that I hated how the story unfolded in third person, yet I didn’t feel it worked being told by only one of the characters.  I struggled with this for over a week and almost abandoned the idea.  Then one morning I woke up with the idea of Justin and Derrick telling their story together.  Once I had this figured out, the ideas flowed.  I shared my ideas with a friend, ironing out the details, she in turn would insist I write it and I would.   As the weeks wore on, I realized that I was writing a book and not a story as I had planned.  Next thing I knew I had finished the book, another friend read it and loved it enough to edit and convince me to publish it.  I am so glad that I did all of it, rather than just thinking about doing it.

 

Who was your favorite character in Finding Our Way to write, and why?

Justin Parker is my favorite character.  Although I do not believe, I realized it when I was writing him.  He is a flawed, but a lovable character.  One of my favorite things about him is he is a handsome, outgoing guy who could have any good-looking guy he wanted, but he chooses to be with this guy who he knows is beautiful on the inside and has spent years bonding with. 

 

 

Derek and Justin’s home lives are very different, one coming from a stable family, while the other’s parents are on the brink of divorce. Which is closest to your own experience growing up?

Justin’s home life was my own, without the alcohol.  The Thanksgiving Justin experienced was one of the more mild dysfunctional holidays I experienced at his age.  Much too often the stress was so bad, I’d come close to snapping, and things were on the verge of hitting a point of no return.  Yet somehow, I overcame.  To this day, I still struggle when it comes to the holidays, although things have gotten much better. 

 

 

What is the balance between reality and fantasy with the characters Justin and Derrick?

Most of Justin and Derrick’s story has been made up based upon my own life experiences.  Sure there are some of their story that is true, but I will never tell what parts are.  Those who know me, know what is true and what is made up.   I have always tried to keep the characters based in reality.  Though there is a story (a dream Justin has) where Derrick and he have super powers.  I have notes written here and there, but nothing in the works beyond what I think would only be a short story.

 

Will Tyler and Tyson have a book of their own?  How about Hayden and Ryan?

Yes, though I am not sure how soon it will be finished.  I started a book with Tyler and Tyson several years ago, but it soon became a project I abandoned.  When I started writing Finding Our Way I knew I wanted to use these two as friends of Derrick and Justin.  My editor and friends I have told about the story, have all expressed how much they would love to see this be one of my upcoming projects I finish.

 

As far as Hayden and Ryan, they were characters in a book I started a couple of years back.  Much of that book I used in Tormented Discovery.  Though they are a favorite of many of my readers, I do not have any current plans for a book featuring the two of them.

 

Are there plans for a final chapter in their (Justin and Derrick) story?  Wedding, children, happily ever after?

Oh!  The proverbial burning question, I’ve managed to dodge.  To be honest, I would like to write at least one more story with Derrick and Justin as the main characters.  I’ve recently run a couple of ideas by my friend and editor.  She agrees with my feeling that I would like to put out at least one book that is not part of the series.  As one keen reader has noted, Finding Our Way was book 1 and then Tormented Discovery was released as book 2 in the series, while Drifting was released as a story in itself.  Keep a watch out, because I can tell you that I have not written the last of Derrick and Justin.

 

How did you come up with Chandler, the place where most of your books take place?

I always loved how Stephen King’s books were written in the same place, as if it was a place I had lived or known.   Kevin Smith had did this with his movies, again I felt as if these were people I knew and connected to.  Chandler is loosely based upon the town I grew up in, as Sweetwater the city south of it where we used to often go out to.

 

What is the most frequently asked question by the fans?

“Do you like writing or drawing better?”  My answer to this question is it depends on my mood.  Sometimes I feel more inclined to write and other times I am more in a disposition for drawing.  Every now and then I will bounce back and forth, which is either therapeutic or annoying to me.

 

What are you working on now?

Chasing after my puppy and working on training her.  Ha!  Just kidding, though sometimes I feel I do more of that than anything creative anymore.  I knew going into adopting her, writing would take a bit of a backburner for at least the next year.  Really, she is a great dog and I have gotten back to writing sooner than I thought I would be able to do.

 

Right now, I am working on a book I am calling TED (once it is finished, I will hopfully have a different title).   TED focuses on three guys, each dealing with individual struggles.  One of the characters is written in first person; Turner is writing in a journal about the events in his life after his counselor recommended it.   I am writing the story in layers, giving the readers an inside look to each character as the storyline unfolds. TED also focuses on serious matters such as bullying and depression, and the effects it has on not just one person, but other people's lives as well.

 

 

Thank you for your support this year of what I hope is many more to come!

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