A Scene You Deleted But Love Anyway: 5 More Questions

The Big ThrillWake Me Up is now speaking “softly” to early readers out and about the multiverse. Feedback is trickling in, reviews welcome on all platforms (Goodreads and Amazon), and articles and interviews to answer. The local paper has a bright new paperback copy and I sat with them for an interview yesterday. The local bookstore, Watermark Book Co. has copies in a stack on the front table with other new trade-size paperbacks, and I’m thrilled. These are signed if you want to be one of the lucky to call them and nab a copy!

On February 1st the latest edition of The Big Thrill will come out, and a keen interview they offered to me last month will be featured. If you want to read this interview, please subscribe by email to The Big Thrill at www.thrillerwriters.org (click the link) and fill out the email request. The Big Thrill is the thriller readers magazine that the International Thriller Writers group puts out each month, and it reaches over 27,000 mystery readers and fans. Lee Child is a Co-President, and I was newly admitted as a member last year. I am honored and humbled by this development. Look for this cool piece talking about Wake Me Up in an intimate and creative way. Thank you.

So, as January passes too quickly, there are five more questions about Wake Me Up I’d like to answer and share with you:

1. A favorite line about emotion from Wake Me Up. He didn’t say much at the hospital as I clung to his middle and pressed and wouldn’t let go, his gaze blank and unforgiving. A look you could get used to and do nothing about.

2. A scene you deleted but love anyway (sadness!). I wrote the actual scene where Geoffrey, the married father of the narrator, knocks on Deepika’s door to initiate an affair. It was short, and an addition I added after the first draft was completed. I deleted it because it didn’t enhance anything and the information, even though more detailed, was already there to pick over by the other characters.

3. A piece of feedback that made you smile. One of the most helpful pieces of advice, critical feedback, I received before hitting the publishing button was to delete the entire last chapter and end at a much different point in the novel. I weighed this for days, and realized this “huge” step was completely necessary. It made the long book shorter by 30 pages, and it’s now just under 140,000 words, all of which fits in a beautiful paperback of 324 pages! It really is a gorgeous book to hold and read.

4. How do you want your target audience to be affected by this story? I say the age group of readership for Wake Me Up is 15 and up. The narrator is fifteen and dealing with his own bullies in his high school. But, even though the age of the narrator is fifteen, the themes the book circles around are fully adult. Adult negligence, mid-life depression, chronic illness, adultery, family estrangement, sibling rivalry, and antigay bullying, which leads to a crime being labeled a hate crime. Parents reading this book will hopefully tackle the issue of bullying no matter if their kids are bullies themselves or the bullied. Both the bully and the bullied suffer in many ways, but a bully who grows up without being stopped in any way, shape, or form, will always be a bully as an adult, and that kind of adult is not easy to be around. Bullies who continue to bully into adulthood are successful people, can become successful, but I abhor their nature. Bullying in the workforce remains a huge problem.

petsematary5. Is there an animal you love in your book? There are a lot of kittens on Millie and Frank’s farm, and these kittens were one autobiographical detail I love to add into stories. We always had anywhere from 2-8 cats at our house, all outdoors except in winter when a few found their way inside. Zsa Zsa was one, and she ended up peeing in every corner. I would wake up before school and the first thing I’d do was feed all the cats. They came running in the garage area. Every so often one of the cats would go missing. We lived on a rural highway and trucks rushed by at full speed. We had our own Pet Sematary!

So, there you have it, five more questions for each of the days of January 2016. I like answering these questions about Wake Me Up. The book is so new, so unread by readers at this point, I hope these answers build up a curious thought: maybe I should read Wake Me Up? That would be great. Please let me hear from you in the comments.

ever,
Justin

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