It's the truth. I admit it. But I also admit I'm not in one. My wife is in two. And I like them. But what I really like about book clubs is that they talk about books. A couple of years back, I co-wrote a memoir. When that book came out, I visited a number of book clubs. These conversations were so much fun. Even more, though, they provided such amazing insights. Members brought up some really perceptive points, things I hadn’t even noticed when I wrote the book. The questions got me thinking in different ways and showed a side of writing that the writer, unfortunately, doesn’t see enough: what the reader thinks and what the reader wants to read.
Soon after that, I sat down to write Finding Jake. And honestly, I wrote it with book clubs in mind. After working from home for a decade and taking care of my kids, I really thought that writing a story from that perspective could be interesting to talk about. Over those years, I stumbled through so many misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and misjudgments. I battled my own insecurities. And in writing the book, I realized most of what I endured had been self-inflicted.
I knew the book would be from that point-of-view. When I began thinking of themes I hoped to touch on, many played very well with that decision. I've always been fascinated with how well, or how little, we all know the people in our lives. And, as I can tend toward being introverted, I thought about how that concept is magnified with people that don't speak out as much. I wondered how that would play out in a time of stress. Having read Dave Cullen's Columbine, and thinking a lot about the effect on the families of both the victims and the perpetrators, I made the final decision to plot the book around a high school shooting.
When I started writing Finding Jake, the floodgates opened. I put so many of my thoughts and feelings over the past 10 years into the book. The process became cathartic. Each time I sat down to write, my mind would travel back to moments that stood out. Our life together became fodder for my writing. In the end, though, the stories never turned out the way they did in real life. Instead, they melded with the other themes and the book finished itself in about four months.
Now, with it released out into the world, one of the things I most look forward to is the chance to speak with book clubs. I can't wait to hear what people think, what parts of the story worked, and what parts didn't. I know that every opportunity I get will make me a better writer. I have three concepts we are playing around with for my next book. Each idea starts with: can you talk about this? I love writing that way.
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