Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Covers:Will Lavender & Obedience-Part 1

I always bring a book anytime I travel by air. Last week, when I went to Philadelphia, I brought along Obedience, a thriller by first-time author Will Lavender. I did not finish it on the trip there and I seriously could not wait to resume the book on my return flight. It was that good.
I enjoyed Obedience so much that I contacted Lavender to inquire about appearing here for a short Q&A. Lavender quickly and graciously agreed to my request.
I started by asking Lavender how it felt to see Obedience in a bookstore.
I have to admit that I wasn't blown away. It was a little surreal, but because we had been working on the book for so long and because I'd seen so many copies of it--physically and on the Web--it was like "oh, there it is in the store." Of course you dream of that, seeing your book on the shelves with all of those writers you look up to, but when the moment comes, it's just next in a line of "This is actually happening to me"-type moments. Also, there's the fact that I have always wanted to be a writer. I'm not the kind of writer that began in another field and then moved back to literature; I have wanted to write books since I could read. It is one thing I believe I am truly good at, telling stories, and I think I knew that at some point those stories would be in a book. Seeing it there on the shelves was a culmination of a lot of things--hard work, good luck, patience--but I was not stunned that it happened.
Next, I asked Lavender about book signings and autographs.
I have done quite a few book signings. The only autographs I have signed were between the covers of the book. I do not see a situation where I would be "famous" in any practical sense of the word. Stephen King is maybe the only author I would personally recognize and I read a lot--so you are talking about a niche when you get into books and the people who write them. In my tiny Kentucky hometown I am recognized as "the guy that wrote the book," and that's interesting. But fame is something the author rarely achieves, and it's something I certainly don't want. I felt enough pressure to get my second book finished, and I am a just-starting-out author. If I were suddenly famous and recognizable and signing autographs, the pressure would be enormous and I really don't think I could write well. There are authors who thrive in the spotlight--Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis immediately come to mind--but you have to be a rare sort of person to want that kind of lifestyle if you're in the business of publishing.
I asked Lavender if he had messages in his writing.
Not really, but messages are like any other symbolism--they end up in the text regardless. Stephen King says that theme is better left for English 101 and I agree. What I am trying to do basically is entertain a person for a few hours. But when you write something, you are invariably sharing part of your subconscious mind. Because of that, you are bound to put things in the writing that are coded and sifted through your own experience. One of the messages that reviewers have pointed out regarding Obedience is that it brings up the question of reality itself. An interviewer once asked me if the novel was about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs were in the news not long after the manuscript was purchased). Of course, all I wanted was to write something that people enjoyed, but I do not deny that there are meaningful sections of the text that connect wit the things going on in the world.
Stay tuned for the second part of this Q&A with Will Lavender, author of Obedience. In the next part, I ask about Obedience itself (may contain some spoilers) and Dominance, Lavender's upcoming second novel.
Author Will Lavender (photo courtesy of Will Lavender)


Niki said...

Sounds interesting. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

Great story.

Tony said...

II took your advice and just bought the book. I am looking forward to reading it this weekend.