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1) How did the idea for the novel come about?I grew up in Skaneateles and was fortunate enough to have daily access to the Lake all summer long, and I literally lived in the water.  I guess that’s the real or genuine part of the novel I tried to convey: my feeling about the body of water in my hometown.  I think that’s part of the reason why my parents moved us there when I was young.  There’s something truly magical about it, and I’ve wanted to put down into words what it means and feels like as best I could. Steamboat Springs, my other hometown, is magical as well.  It's the Old West and it's in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  I grew up skiing with my Dad, and I had my heart set on skiing out west somewhere for a long time.  There’s something surreal about standing on top of a mountain, without a cloud in the sky, viewing the world around you for miles, and getting ready to rip down runs in deep powder with reckless abandon.  Nothing matters for the time you are out there, and it’s still one of the greatest escapes I’ve ever known.  Both places hold a certain romantic quality to them and I attempted to give readers that experience in words as best I could. Besides the settings, I’ve always had a story in mind where the characters are closely tied to the places they live.  Their relationships and what they go through in their search for love, their own inner-peace, companionship, and security revolve around the places they live.  I think it matters whether you live in an apartment building in a city, a cabin in the mountains, on a farm, in a small town, the burbs: every place has its uniqueness that affects those living there.    

2) Why is there music for the novel and how do the two interact:  What’s the deal?
 
Music drives my life.  It’s been tied to me for as long as I can remember: from the bluegrass shows Mom and Dad took us to in Eastern N.Y., Dad playing at parties, seeing Elvis in concert (that's right: Elvis), going to concerts since I was young and still going to concerts, and of course playing the guitar, writing songs, and performing music.  It's lifesblood.  There’s something so special and healing and rejuvenating about music: especially live music.  It’s the most common thing worldwide that binds humans regardless of what we listen to. 
Music is also tied to movies, whether it’s the score or songs in the soundtrack.  The sounds help the visualization by helping to paint a picture.  Every time I read a book, I hear music for certain parts.  So I decided to combine my songs with my novel to create a broader reading experience that will bring readers into the story more and add to the overall visualization.  It becomes a little bit more personal and interactive with the songs attached.

3) Since the main male character, Jake Taylor, plays guitar and sings, is he based on you?
 
No, he’s not.  Invariably the comparison will be made, however, his ability to play, write, and sing is more part of the whole vehicle to include music in the novel.  I felt it made it far more personal with songs that became “internal” to the story and not just the “external” songs.  I did project my thoughts on the settings through him, but I also did it through the other characters.  They all became vehicles to help portray the feelings the settings give.

4) Why relationships as the focal point of the plot; hasn’t that been done before?
 
Yes, it has been done before.  Every character in a novel goes through some type of transformation and they are rarely alone.  I look at it like writing a love song.  Who hasn’t written one?  Books and movies all try to handle the same topics.  It’s hard to find something truly original.  I tried to go deeper into what the characters were going through in their minds at pivotal moments through internal dialogue.  Who hasn’t been in situations where their blood rushes in anger, stress, desire, excitement, and anticipation?  What woman hasn’t stared at a man and asked, “What the hell is he thinking right now?”  The starting point is similar, but I tried to convey it all a little differently.

5) Violence and abuse against the female characters in the book happens more than once.  What is its purpose?

I'm not sure when I first became aware of her story, but I was profoundly moved by the death of Taylor Behl.  She seemed so sweet and innocent, but they all are.  Violence and abuse towards women somehow continues in our world and it's simply sickening.  I used it in my novel for the characterization of some of the females based on certain backgrounds.  What's scary is, in reality it sometimes results in death and far from it ending that way, it should never even begin.  
 
I'm not an authority on the subject, nor am I criticizing anyone involved in any situation (whether it be direct or indirect) and hindsight is always 20-20, however in almost every case I've ever heard of, there is some knowledge of or interaction with the perpetrators of the acts. Barring random acts of violence, the question remains: what could've been said or done to help prevent the terrible outcomes of these events that keep happening yet never should?
 
I was recently moved and very saddened by the senseless death of Yeardley Love, a women's lacrosse player at UVA  on May 3, 2010.  What's sad is that under current laws in Virginia (if I'm correct in what I've read) Yeardley couldn't have gotten a restraining order because she was only dating someone.  The man accused had also showed signs of violence prior to her death as well.
Until things change, it seems like these tragic events will continue, so everyone, including the victim herself, needs to be vocal about abuse to help prevent anything from happening despite the fear involved.  Tell the police.  Tell your friends.  Tell whoever, but don't let silence promote the situation.  Awareness might save someone.  Find out where you can go or who you can talk to in your local area so that nothing like these events have a chance to happen.
 
 
6) Is this, will this be a movie?
 
This will be a movie someday.  Period.  I think it’s a story that’s going to transfer to a screenplay smoothly.  Who should play Jake in the movie?  Mercy?  Rachel?    

7) What is “booze cruising speed”?  Exactly how fast is that?
Although I’ve never attempted this feat, I would imagine it’s just the right speed that you can hold your beverage of choice and still be able to drive the boat with your foot while remaining “safety conscious” the whole time.
  

 


 

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