WIPs and New Releases
1) Tell us about your work-in-progress, or WIP, as it’s known as in the industry or New Release…
Ø What is the story about?
· Right now, I have three projects running concurrently.
· I’m writing a biography of a pop artist and two novels.
· The project I’m most excited about is called “The Associated Risks of Reentry” and it’s a timely look at race, family, and politics in America.
Ø Who is the main character?
· Who you view as “the main character” depends largely on your perspective. There are three possibilities: Eli Harris, his wife Amanda, or his father, Isaiah.
· Each of the three represent a different facet of the undercurrents that are shaping the country right now, and they each respond to different pressures in ways that are at once familiar and tragic.
· Eli Harris is a doctor, a family practitioner, and his wife is a NASA safety engineer. His father, Isaiah, has been an absent figure in his life, locked away in prison since Eli was an infant. What happens when these characters are all thrust back together?
· Where my previous novel, “The Patriot Joe Morton,” focused on change for change’s sake vs. a dogged defense of the status quo, “Associated Risks” is all about how we manage to just “be” where we are in any given moment of time – and what happens when someone is removed from their moment in time for an extended period, decades.
2) What inspired this tale?
Ø How did the story come to you?
· At first, I was more focused on Amanda’s story, which begins immediately during the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. As the story unfolded, though, I really got to know her family.
· An accidental google for the title of the book – while researching the risks of re-entering spacecraft – led to the duality.
· Prisoners reentering society run many of the same risks as a spacecraft landing on earth – burning up and getting destroyed by the pressure.
Ø Did you have to research for this novel, and if so, why?
· Researching this novel has taken me to NASA, to prison blogs, to criminal justice professors and law enforcement officials.
· For this novel to work, it’s going to have to be grounded in hard facts from both Amanda’s story and Isaiah’s story.
Ø If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn, and why?
· For years as a journalist, I read and even wrote about recidivism rates and the challenges inmates face post-incarceration. What shocked me the most was just how deep the trauma can be – and the level of abuse of the system that’s taken place.
· I’ve read a dozen or more accounts of death row inmates who were wrongfully convicted, and even in the face of exonerating evidence, are still on death row. It’s appalling what some of these individuals are facing. They’re humans, their innocence is beyond question, and yet they’re sitting in a 5x10 cell, behind a steel door, waiting for someone to come kill them.
3) Do you relate to your character?
Ø Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
· They all three are, indeed.
Ø If yes, then how?
· I’m headstrong, I don’t always know when I’m wrong, and when I find out I’m wrong about something, it can take me a little while to adjust my worldview. But I do adjust my worldview – eventually.
· At the same time, I’m a profound believer in the ideals of the American family, what family represents and the bonds family forge with one another.
· And I understand the challenges facing parents today are quite different than they were when I was a teen, when my mother was a teen. Or were they?
Ø If no, how do you differ from one another?
· I’m not sure how to answer this. I recognize they aren’t me, but at the same time, there isn’t a facet of the characters that don’t spring from my imagination. They’re all in some part me, but they’re a different version of me.
Ø What made you write this character; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?
· The Harris family’s story is hardly unique. In fact, it’s far too common, and that’s why I wanted to tell it.
4) Is there anything you specific want readers to know about this piece of work?
It’s not about what you’re going to think it’s about. It really is about the American family – the whole family – and what it means to be a parent.
5) When will the novel be available for purchase?
Hopefully in the second quarter of 2018.
Ø If not, when is the approximate release date, or when does it go live?
· I’m aiming to have the book to the publisher by Twelfth Night, if not sooner.
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