Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Serials and Scenarios - TL Hines - Waking Lazarus

I had the opportunity to read Waking Lazarus in May. What a read! See below for links to my CBD review, Tony's Amazon page and his blog.

Since you'll have to wait a couple of days to get your hands on the book - I thought you might like to know a little bit more about the author and the inside story of Waking Lazarus.

I read somewhere, a long time ago, that one of the quirky cartoonists spent some serious formative time in his basement. Apparently he had an older brother who had a lot of fun at his expense. Do you have any strange life-shaping quirks that show up in your writing style?

That's interesting. I grew up in the country, away from other kids my age, so I spent a lot of time by myself. Oddly enough, I spent a lot of that time in the basement of our family's home, listening to music,reading, writing and drawing. So I think that obviously shaped me as a writer: any writer has to be comfortable spending chunks of time alone.I do have some mild obsessive compulsive tendencies--very minor forms of the kind of thing Jude Allman struggles with in the novel. For instance, I tend to count letter groupings in words, over and over,when I'm not actively thinking about something. I'll find myself looking at a sentence, or repeating what someone has said, and grouping what they've said into letter clusters of two, then three, then four letters. Does that shape me as a writer? I don't know. But my mind tends to chew on words and patterns, and I love repetition and patterns in my storytelling. I don't think that's a coincidence.

How many times did you second-guess your subject matter? Waking Lazarus' sub-plot includes child endangerment and is intense in some spots. Did you rewrite, hesitate, cut or pray?

You know, I didn't really ever second-guess my subject matter. I was always comfortable that I was writing the story I was meant to write.I've had reservations about it being in the CBA market; but then, I had reservations about it being in the ABA market, as well. It seemed to me to be in the gap between the two. When it came time to write some of the hardest scenes, I chose, very consciously, to let the worst stuff happen off stage. First, because I didn't see any need to concentrate on that--it's not what the story is about--and two, because the reader can do a much better job envisioning it than I can explaining it. I think some of those parts are very creepy for readers precisely becauseI don't describe them. One scene was cut in the final edit that, now that I think about it, I'm glad stayed on the cutting room floor. Dave,my editor, wanted to cut it because it was extraneous; I was fine with it because I think it might have pushed a few people over the edge,creepiness-wise.

Your writing is tight and compelling and I found myself pulled into the story immediately. My husband even got sucked in because I left it on the kitchen table. He rarely picks up a book for pleasure. Where does your story weaving skill come from?

I don't know, to tell you the truth. I'm a voracious reader--a couple books a week, when I'm on track--and I think anything you read can impact you as a writer. I don't consciously try to emulate anyone,although I do have to say I read a lot of Stephen King when I was ayoung teen. That formed me as a writer, in many ways.

My husband struggled with and was a bit angry with the choice in subject matter and almost set the book down a couple of times, but couldn't. He's now glad he chose to finish the book. What would you like to say to people who might get angry or hostile over the content of Waking Lazarus? What difference would it make if those people had not actually read the book?

Interesting, and I'm glad he finished it. I've taken to telling people it's a book that deals with dark subject matter, but it's not a dark book. Seems like an oxymoron, I know, but I really think that's true:the ultimate message of the book is positive. I'm not out to glorify the darkness in the book at all; it is what it is. And I don't have any problem with the dark subject matter. After all, the Old Testament itself deals with some rather grim subjects. But I will say this: in the darkest places, a ray of light shines all the brighter. I hope folks can read the story, and see that I was concentrating more on that ray of light than on the darkness surrounding it.

What's next for you?

I'm working on my second book for Bethany House, which will release Summer of 2007. It's tentatively titled VALLEY OF SHADOW, and it's about a woman who hears her dead father speaking to her from the shadows. He tells her the spirits of the dead occupy the shadows of our world, and recruits her into a secret government network that communicates with the shadow operatives. But all is not as it seems.Soon, she discovers the true nature of what the shadows are--and the true nature of what they want.

See my review and more comments from Tony here:
or earlier comments on Scrambled Dregs......

Waking Lazarus Amazon page is -

TL Hines blog is -