Monday, September 21, 2015

More More Time by David B. Seaburn Giveaway & Interview

General / Literary Fiction
Date Published: July 18, 2015

Maxwell Ruth, a cantankerous, old high school history teacher falls down his basement stairs and soon thereafter starts hearing “The Words” over and over again---endingtimeendingtimeendingtime. His life is changed forever.

In this story we learn about the lives, loves, and losses of Max, Hargrove and Gwen Stinson, Beth and Bob Hazelwood, and Constance Young. They are lively, funny, at times; a little bit lost or wounded, yet resilient and hopeful. They are wrestling with life’s most challenging issues, including, abuse, loss, infidelity, aging, secrecy and what gives life meaning. And, like all of us, they would like more, more time to find the answers to life’s most important questions. The clock, though, is always ticking and time is always short.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first novel, “Darkness is as Light” (2005) was adapted from a story that a patient of mine told me in the 1980s. I was a psychotherapist in a medical clinic at the time. The story stayed with me for years. In 1990, I made some notes fictionalizing the story, changing the focus, and altering other aspects of it. Then I put it away for over a decade. I early 2000, I was reading a novel that helped me think about writing a first person version of the story I’d been carrying around in my head for almost fifteen years. When I finally sat down to write it, it took me one year exactly to complete a first draft.

Do you have a specific writing style?
When I start writing a new novel, I never know how it’s going to end. I trust that the impetus to move forward, usually a feeling that is difficult to articulate, will be enough to get the journey started. Although I am on the road, so to speak, without knowing exactly where I am going, I am not traveling blindfolded. I write character profiles in advance and I put characters together in challenging situations that I hope will make the reader think, “I wonder what’s going to happen next?”
In the process, I discover what themes I am working on. This may seem counter-intuitive, but I often don’t know what I’m writing about until I start writing. The writing process is always one of discovery. And this purposeful not-knowing gives my writing an energy and serendipity that is remarkably generative. I feel like I am not just the creator, but the created, changing through the writing process as much as my characters change.
When I sit down to get started, I am always excited to know that for the next 14-18 months (sometimes longer) I will sit alone with these characters, wrestling with issues, dilemmas, and conundrums that are important to me, and, I hope, to the reader. The beginning phase feels expansive as the characters develop and their options are wide. Somewhere near the midway mark, though, those options narrow, as it becomes clear that there are some things the characters would do and some they would not. In a sense, the characters exert as much influence over the story arc as I do. I have an intuitive sense of the story’s ending many pages before I actually know what I am going to say and how exactly the story will end. Often it is not until the last fifty pages or so that the end takes shape and words coalesce into final scenes, paragraphs and sentences.
In terms of my writing routine, I don’t write every day, which is to say I don’t sit in front of my computer every day. But when I am working on a novel, I feel like I am always writing; that something is at work in my mind even when I am not trying to put it down in words. I often edit as I go, reworking sentences, paragraphs, scene choreography, even characters. I like to have a well-crafted chapter before I go on to the next, even though the whole thing may change later.

How did you come up with the title?
When our first granddaughter was about eighteen months old, I played a game with her that involved me holding her wrists and swishing her around the hardwood kitchen floor. When I would get tired, I would say, “One more time, Gianna,” but she thought I was saying “More more time.” That was the name she then gave to our game. The phrase got me thinking about time, aging and other matters, so I decided I would use it for the book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think the main message of the book is that time, no matter what we think, is short; it is precious; be thoughtful about what you do with it.

How much of the book is realistic?
I would say that the whole book is “realistic,” in that the characters wrestle with the kinds of issues that many of us have wrestled with. Loss, marital discord, aging, sexual abuse, how to remain open to what life brings, how to make changes, how to maintain hope.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Aside from the story about my granddaughter (which does appear in the book), none of the rest of the book is based on personal experience. It is influenced, though, by having done individual, marriage and family therapy for over thirty years. I learned a lot from working with folks who faced and often overcame the kinds of difficulties that I have mentioned above.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Oh my! Where to begin? Interestingly, most of these books are not fictional. The Courage to Be, Paul Tillich; I and Thou, Martin Buber; The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker; Life Against Death, Norman O. Brown; Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard; The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous; Night, Ellie Wiesel; Zorba the Greek and Report to Greco, both by Nikos Kazantzakis; Letter to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke; The Awful Rowing Toward God, Anne Sexton; the journals of May Sarton; the journals of Thomas Merton; the novels of Philip Roth; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey. I better stop!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I feel like I should be able to identify a writer that I think of as a mentor, but I can’t. There isn’t a writer that I have modeled myself after or tried to emulate. As noted above, though, I have been influenced by a great many writers. They have inspired my thinking, more than anything else.

What book are you reading now?
            I am reading “Case Histories” by Kate Atkinson. She is a Scottish novelist who writes mysteries. What I like about the book is that it is not only an interesting mystery about three different, though ultimately, linked cases, but that she bring a real literary sensibility to her characters. They have great depth and the story is nicely nuanced.
What would you like my readers to know?
            I have followed a circuitous route to becoming a long fiction writer. I started as a parish minister. I then went into community mental health as a counselor. The majority of my career, though, was as a family psychologist and faculty member at a university medical center. And finally I ran a free counseling center for students and their families in a public school setting. Each of these experiences has contributed to who I am, and has kept me close to issues of significance that people deal with day in and day out. My writing has sprung from that.
            Also, I am married and retired from gainful employment; we have two wonderful daughters, one married with two unbelievably adorable daughters, and one who is engaged.

Virtual Book Tour - September 13 - October 11

David B. Seaburn served a rural country parish, worked in community mental health, was an assistant professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center for twenty years, and also directed a free public school-based family counseling center before his retirement in 2010. He has written five novels: More More Time (2015), Chimney Bluffs (2012), Charlie No Face (2011—Finalist in General Fiction, National Indie Excellence Awards), Pumpkin Hill (2007), and Darkness is as Light (2005). He and his wife live near Rochester, NY. They have two adult daughters and two wonderful granddaughters.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment