Thursday, October 28, 2010

Author Interview: Douglas Pearson

Douglas K. Pearson, Michigan native and journeyman, currently winters west of Rockford, MI with his cool bride of 19 years and their three kids. During his summers, he sails his family around the Great Lakes on their ketch, Learnt’s Wake, pilgrimages to Europe and runs a conference or two. He is now working on a novel, Blood Line and helping in the production of the movie, The Frontier Boys.

We had the opportunity to do an interview with him, for his book In Jane (at the end of the post you can find more about it) and finally it's time to share it with you too. You will find some interesting questions about the book progress, the research and many many other things! And guess what..In Jane has a sequel in progress!

It would be amazing if you can share some things from your book. Something more than an official summary.
Some of the great things from Injane came in the form of surprise.  As a writer, I give all my characters a lot of room to come alive and I try not to limit what they say or do.  And with Injane, Jane both surprised and scared me on a consistent basis.  I was always amazed at her perspective towards both people and her environment and how she was able to be so brave despite her harsh memories and experiences.
What inspired you to write it, you took any ideas from other books, games, movies etc?
The novel, Injane, came to me at the intersection of Summit Ave and 13 Mile Road above Rockford, Michigan at the V.F.W. Hall. (The same intersection where I saw a teen do something that inspired my novel, Veterans’ Day!  Wierd!) Injane came to me when I was traveling westbound into a stunning squall line of lightning, black clouds and fierce rain.  I turned to my brother Dave and said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if we someday discovered that dangerous storms develop whenever angels and demons fight?” The working title for Injane for many years was The Line, indicating the link between spiritual wars and severe weather.  I remembered a well-loved Frank Peretti novel we studied back in Wheaton Graduate School in 1991 called, This Present Darkness.  When I realized the only thing missing between the spiritual world around us and me connecting it to weather was a character, Jane was born!
Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the book?
The research for Injane took me into the development of storms and into the history of severe storm outbreaks like the following story...   
On March 18, 1925 a huge tornado formed in Missouri, crossed the Mississippi River and moved into Indiana before dissipating in the late evening. It was the most devastating and powerful tornado in American history. The Great Tri-State Tornado grew to be a mile wide along a 219-mile-long path. It left four large towns completely destroyed, flattened over 15,000 homes, and injured over 2,000 people. Most significantly, 695 people were killed, a record for a single tornado. The Great Tri-State Tornado left a legacy that is evidenced by ghost towns, lost ancestors, and stories passed from generation to generation.
... and as a life-long sailor on the Great Lakes and captain of Learnt’s Wake (soon to be featured in Cruising World Magazine), I’ve always paid great attention to weather and its power.  As to Jane’s suffering, I did go back to some of my notes from my 3rd novel, Day of the Dog, which took me into the disturbing territory of Criminal Sexual Conduct.  I researched this topic quite a bit while teaching at Michigan’s maximum security prison for teenage felons charged as adult men.  But as to actual pre-research done before writing Injane? I must say that I did very little.  This is because my novels are character based and I rarely know which direction they will take me.
Which scenes were the hardest to write?
The scenes in Injane that were the hardest to write were some of the scenes that didn’t make into the final book, the one currently out for publication and perhaps that is for the best.  It may not be necessary for the readers to see all of Jane’s suffering and her descents from situations beyond her control are rare and disturbing.  It is also important, however, to know that her insights and bravery come on the heels of her great suffering and the current released copy is honest with this.  I see Billy Graham’s statement as true, ‘God rarely uses people that haven’t suffered deeply.’ As to the horror of the war between God and Satan that she can observe? I got little sound sleep during those writing episodes and at least one blood-curling yell still echoes in my home when a hand touched my shoulder at 3am while I was writing.  That one or two seconds of terror that erupted before I realized it was my wife’s hand, lasted a long, long time!
How long has it taken you to write it?
Injane as novel was written in about two or three weeks.  I live myself deep into my novels and they always come out pretty quick and of course, I believe that they all are masterpieces.  I make doubly sure that my family is ready for me to write a novel because I’m a disaster when I write, burying my desk in food, beard dandruff (oops!  Too much info!)  I now know that I have to sit on a completed novel for a year of so before I can finish them.  Letting them bake makes me not so attached to the characters or cutesy stupid stuff that found it’s way into the narrative.  Stephen King said it best in his book, On Writing, “Murder your darlings!”
What’s the best part of writing a book for you?
The best part of writing Injane is how it taught me to believe in my characters, even when they have baggage that isn’t popular or have abilities that are for the most part are unbelievable.  It is vital to realize that what Jane saw, I saw.  How she was beaten, I was there too.  And even though I was unable to rescue her from the scenes, I trusted that her future would somehow bring redemption through her struggles.
If you could pick another genre to write about, which one will be?
The genre of fiction is my genre.  And the ages of my characters at this point in my writing career seems to be some of the greatest ages of tension and honesty.  Injane, by its nature, forced the characters to deal with some basic understandings of spiritual warfare when some of my other novels never touch the subject.  One of my novels, Coffin Light, for example has many opportunities for spiritual insights, but the characters weren’t interested in thinking that way.  Not interested at all.
Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
I have a lot of support for being a writer.  I keep getting fired from normal teaching jobs and writing for a living keeps getting thrusted upon me!  And of course, my wife, kind of ‘digs’ my imagination and although she throws my manuscripts across the room once in while and yells, ‘this is not the man I married!’ I always know she supports and loves a good story.  I tribute my wife, my late father and my in-laws for believing and supporting me during those long years when times were tougher.
Did you always had in mind to be a writer or it just happened?  
I am a constant reader.  I read both ‘brainer’ and ‘no-brainer’ books equally and ironically, seem to appreciate them both.  I am currently writing the sequel to Injane.  It’s working title is Blood Line and it is her search for her roots.  Injane, as some may have understood from its beginning, links Jane’s ability to see in the dark to her earliest memories when she was slotted to be aborted.  I’m currently battling with the facts of this controversial social issue as they keep trying to invade Blood Line and reduce it to a Social Action Novel or Agenda Novel.  I believe an ounce of propaganda can ruin a masterpiece.  And I keep having to be honest with my discoveries even though the realities of such topics are just plain dangerous.
What’s book genre do you usually read?
The book genre I mainly read is fiction.  The Dome, Theodore Boone, any Louis L’Amour I can get my hands on were last September’s reading.
How important you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
The connection and communication between me and my readers is the stuff of legends and I love every second of it.  Currently on Facebook, two of my characters from Coffin Light have somehow created their own Facebook Profiles and are hacking on any readers who dare comment on the Coffin Light Group Site.  I enjoy watching the sparks, especially when some of my former students make comments about the book without reading it!  But Coffin Light deals with racism, and that topic seems to be raising its ugly head around Michigan of late.  I also hold low key meetings and talks for those who follow my novel, The Dead Sea Souls.  The novel is officially released around this Halloween, and deals with one families journey through an apocalyptic genocide.  It’s not a light read and I took a vow never to do another edit because it only makes me want to buy more guns, food and ammunition! 

Are you working on any other projects except writing, right now?
Projects that are taking my time right now that are outside of my writing business, is my adventure company, Storymakers, which uses my storytelling ability to run team building exercises for companies.   In the summertime, Learnt’s Wake LLC, my sailing business aboard my old Irwin 52 also runs team building exercises in between my family cruises!
From the days where children look out at their new world through crib bars, Jane sees two worlds at once. Diagnosed schizophrenic by the clinical profession and insane by her peers, she bounces around in a foster care jungle until landing in Michigan at age 17.
When activity in her invisible world begins to intensify, Jane finds herself caught in a maelstrom; a turbulent story where good and evil can only be deciphered by access to both worlds.

Thanks Douglas Pearson and Shantel Vander Galien  for the interview

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the great interview! The book sounds amazing. Being a student of Psychology I am on the lookout for books about illnesses.


There is lot of spam lately at the posts, so for a while i will put up the comment moderation. Sorry for that, i really don't like it but i thought it might stop the spamming. It will be down soon enough! Thanks a lot :)

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