You may notice I'm postifying a bit earlier than usual, but I go on holiday for the weekend tomorrow!
Apologies for the typo in last weeks post. I am human (believe it or not!)
So, Nancy Klann's book is The Clock Of Life. (Two hyperlinks in one sentence!) The blurb reads as:
In the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, during the 1980s, Jason Lee Rainey struggles to find his way amongst the old, steadfast Southern attitudes about race, while his friendship with a black boy, Samson Johnson, deepens. By way of stories from others, Jason Lee learns about his larger-than-life father, who was killed in Vietnam. He longs to become that sort of man, but doesn't believe he has it in him.
In The Clock Of Life he learns lessons from the past, and the realities of inequality. He flourishes with the bond of friendship; endures the pain of senseless death; finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right; and comes to realize he is his father’s son.
This story explores how two unsettling chapters in American history, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, affect the fate of a family, a town, and two boyhood friends.
Wow! And the interview we conducted:
(I made up the questions)
BF: How would you describe your book to an alien?
NK: I’m hoping the alien is an English speaking being, named Xzarbo, who comes in peace.
Xzarbo, my novel, The Clock Of Life, is about friendship, inequality, senseless death, and doing right for others, just because it’s right. It’s a coming-of-age, Southern tale set primarily in the 1980’s, with elements and lessons from the 60’s Civil Rights Movement, and the 70’s Vietnam War, woven throughout. It’s a boy’s search to find himself and become the sort of man the father he never knew would be proud of. Having said that, I have to add, it’s a feel good story.
BF: What inspired you to start writing your book?
NK: The idea of human inequality and how it comes to be has always baffled me, so the foundation for this book was more emotional than cerebral. This narrative began as a short story of about 4,000 words. In my mind, that was the end of it, until one morning while in a workshop at The Santa Barbara Writers Conference, I read an excerpt. When I finished, the instructor, Sid Stebel, asked what I was doing for the next couple years, because, “What you wrote isn't a short story, it’s a novel.” Realizing that the subject matter was so important, I took up the challenge. By the way, that first short story is titled, Fate Carries Its Own Clock, and is included in my short story collection titled, Like the Flies on the Patio.
BF:Are any of the characters traits based on something or someone?
No. The characters simply grew from how I imagined they would be, but a few of the events in the book were based (with embellishments) on stories I’d heard from others. One in particular was the time my husband told me about getting his first suit, and the unfortunate instructions his mother gave the tailor. Any further explanation of this would be a spoiler. But, those who have already read the book know the disastrous outcome of that one.
Also, the scene where my protagonist and his best friend drink moonshine for the first time, I knew from personal experience:
“You gonna drink that or what?”
I couldn’t come up with one more excuse to prolong my reason for being there. “Sure am.” I brought it up to my lips. “This stuff smells like my mama’s nail polish remover.”
Not one second after I took my first swig a fire hit the back of my throat, then roared through my chest and settled like smoldering embers in my belly. “Tastes bad as it smells,” I said between chokes. pg 77
How did you come up with the title?
As I said before, the original title when in short story form was Fate Carries Its Own Clock. I was, and still am, very fond of that one, and held onto it throughout the writing of the novel. The Clock Of Life is easier to remember, but still stays true to the theme I was after.
BF: How much research did you do for your book?
NK: On the acknowledgment page of my book it says, “And I am especially grateful for Google.”
Googling shaved at least 8,760 hours off my research time while writing it, (yes, I just you-know -what’d to find out how many hours are in a year). Google helped garner nuggets of inspiration and informed me of some critical points about the Civil Rights Movement, and it introduced me to Amalgamation cake. When my protagonist’s mama got her new job with the Diversity Coalition of Legal Assistance League, as a transcriber, she took a cake into town every week for, “A little employment insurance. Somethin’ to sweeten ’em up. It can’t hurt.”
But, I believe it’s the walk-around-and-do-something research that infuses the writing with authenticity.
BF: Which bit of research was your favourite?
NK: The road trip I took through the back roads of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, to take in the spirit of the many small towns that collectively breathed life into my fictitious town of Hadlee.
BF: Which three authors (living or dead) would you most love to review your book?
NK: Ray Bradbury, Flannery O’Conner, and Pat Conroy.
BF: What was your favourite book as a child?
NK: I was given a book called “A Story a Day,” with 365 stories, one for each day of the year. I don’t recall any of the tales per se, but I remember how much I adored that book.
BF: Who’s your favourite historical figure?
NK: Martin Luther King
BF: What book would you give him?
NK: The Clock of Life
BF: What were you good at in school?
BF: If your book was turned into a film, then who would be your dream cast for the main characters?
NK: This question makes me laugh because someone once told me that the act of picking which actors should be in the movie version of your novel before you have a contract is called Casterbation.
So, I've stayed clear of that, and instead think about who I would want to produce it. George? Yes. (We should sign the contract while meeting in the villa on Lake Como.) Ben? Hell, yes. Will and Jada? Of course. Opie? It’s an endearment, Mr. Howard. Wahlberg? Yes, but which one? Hum, deciding this could take some time.
Thanks, Nancy! The above is all in her own words and the original copy.
Next week will be a review of the Clock of Life! I was sent a copy by Nancy and am not being sponsored for any sales subsequent to this.
Did you like the questions? What questions would you like to see next time?
Love reading, love life...
The Book Fridge
I feel like this has no pictures!