Friday, July 17, 2009

Author Interview ~ Patrick Dilloway

Today is a special Friday, as part of his blog tour, we have on the couch author Patrick Dilloway. Welcome, Patrick, it's so great to have you here with us today. Make yourself comfy and let's get started. How did you come up with the title for this book?

The original title was No Matter Who You Are, after a Bob Seger song. But when I was working up the second draft, I decided that the theme-like substance for this version would be that Frost wants to find Where He Belongs. So that became the title.

Both are great titles, but the second choice works even better. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

As the title suggests, the book is really about finding your place in this world—Where You Belong. Maybe you’re a man and find you belong with a woman. Or maybe you find you belong with another man. The important thing is what you and your significant other feel in your hearts, not how your genitals line up. I hope we can someday get to the point where a story like Frost’s wouldn’t be all that shocking.

Oh, me too. That would be a great time indeed. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

For Where You Belong, I consider John Irving my silent mentor, though of course he has no idea—and probably never will. I created the project because I wanted to do a book like The Cider House Rules or The World According to Garp, two books that mean a lot to me. While writing my book, I reread all eleven of his novels to help me maintain the same overall tone. He in turn patterned the aforementioned books off the works of Charles Dickens like Great Expectations, so I guess we all try to stand on the shoulders of giants.

We do, but you chose a great one to look up to. What book are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading “The Hours” by Michael Cunningham. I rented the DVD a week ago and really loved it. I think it really affected me because it involves a writer and her impact on these other lives. Because I liked the movie I was curious not only about the book but also about Virginia Woolf, whose Mrs. Dalloway is the focus for “The Hours.” So I checked Mrs. Dalloway out of the library and read that and now I’m going to read the other.

Both sound like amazing books. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It really all started in third grade when we were assigned at school to write a journal. In mine I wrote stories based on my stuffed animals, coming up with all sorts of adventures for them, mostly cribbed from episodes of Star Trek and shows/movies like that. After that I continued to write, the stories changing over time.

LOL, they sound like great stories. It would be neat to go back and read them to see if you "voice" stayed the same. What do you want to know about the future?

I’d like some stock tips and sports scores so I could be rich and famous like in Back to the Future II. I’d probably use all that money for evil like Biff Tannen too.

Oh, you would not... but it sure would be nice to know. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

Not really. I misted up a little the first time I saw the end of “Titanic”—that part after Kate Winslet dies and meets up with Leonardo DiCaprio and you see all the other people who died as they climb the staircase. That got to me a little bit. A really great dramatic image.

Awww, see, you're a romantic. Nothing wrong with that. What is one thing scientists should invent?

Just one thing? I wish they’d invent all that stuff from Star Trek, but I guess I’d go with the transporter. Taking a transporter to work would be so much easier. You could work in Manhattan and beam yourself home to some nice place in the French countryside or something. How great would that be? Of course you might get your molecules scrambled and end up with a leg instead of an arm or something, but it would still be worth it not to have that road rage and pollution and paying high gas prices.

LOL, a true Trekki at heart. I think the rearranged leg would put me off it, road rage or not. Are you a morning person or a night person?

I’m definitely a night person. In college I used to stay up until 2am or later on a regular basis. Mostly I would write during that time, after everyone else went to sleep.

Me too! It's so much easier to write without the constant interruptions other humans can bring. LOL. And, last but not least: Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

I can’t really taste the difference, but usually I can feel it later. Coke makes me belch more for whatever reason.

ROTFL, hey at least you're honest about it. I've seen it have the same effect on my boys... maybe it's a guy thing! Thank you so much, Patrick, for joining us here at The Menagerie today. It was a true pleasure getting to know you better, your book looks to be intriguing. Good luck with all you do, and don't be a stranger.

Where You Belong by Patrick Dilloway

Orphaned at an early age, the closest people in Frost Devereaux's life are the free-spirited Frankie Maguire and her conniving twin brother Frank. Over the years Frost's life takes him from the lush fields of the Mideast to the burning heat of the desert to the sparkling promise of Manhattan. His heart, though, never strays far from the two people who have meant the most to him. Ultimately, Frost must decide where—and with whom—he belongs.


I wake up again and the hand is gone, but I’m not alone. I sense a figure lurking in the shadows, hovering there like a ghost. I think at first it’s my mother; unable to speak I revert back to babyhood and whimper in what I hope is a reassuring fashion. The figure, caught, shuffles forward and I see it’s not my mother—it’s my father.

“Hey, kid,” he says. “How you feeling?”

This is a stupid question as I’m in a hospital bed, surrounded by machines with my face wrapped in bandages. He hesitates before taking the seat next to my bed. For what could be a minute or an hour he sits there, staring at me as he searches for something to say.

“It’s too bad about your mother,” he says.

Though not quite four, I understand this means something terrible has happened. I whimper again, this time mournfully. This rattles my father; he twitches uncomfortably in the chair. He doesn’t want to be there and I don’t want him there; I want Mommy. My father was only the man who lived in our barn.

His hand reaches out to touch my forehead, but his skin is sweaty and warm, not the cool, soothing presence of my other visitor’s. I try to move my head to shake it away only to find I can’t. “I’m not going to hurt you, kid,” he says. His hand moves across my forehead to the bandages. He peels these back gently and then leans close to me so that he can see what lies underneath. Whatever it is causes him to quickly pull his hand back, letting the bandages fall into place again.

“Oh shit,” he whispers into the darkness. I’m too young to know the meaning of this expression. Still, from his tone of voice I gather something’s wrong and whimper again. “It’s all right, kid,” he says, trying to sound cheerful. I know he’s lying. I know things aren’t going to be all right. Not ever again.

My father pats my left hand with his. “Hang in there, kid,” he says. He backs away until the shadows swallow him again. He pauses for a moment before making a decision. The door clicks shut. I wait a moment for him to come back, but he doesn’t. Not ever again.


Emma Lai said...

Great interview!

Wow. What a great excerpt! I love the writing style, very evocative.

SarahAnn said...

I agree with Emma, lovely interview. And the excerpt reeled me right in! He's only four, and already I really, really want him to find that right place in the world!

A. F. Stewart said...

Neat interview, loved the Star Trek musings.

Rogue Mutt said...

If we can't have transporters I hope we can at least get flying cars sometime soon.

Lisa Lane said...

What a great interview! Your excerpt is phenomenal, by the way.