11 December 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Guest Post by Rob D Young, author of Broken Glass

We’re here today with Rob D Young to discuss his recently published novel, Broken Glass. Rob, why don’t you tell us more about the basic plot or idea.

Well, Broken Glass is actually a bit difficult to sum up. In the opening sequence, we have our main character—the narrator—putting a bullet into someone’s chest. Murdering them. Most of the rest of the book is the narrator’s journey as he tries to figure out everything that led to the decision to murder this person who was, at one point, his best friend.

That’s an interesting idea. What brought you to the idea and the need to write about it?

You mean besides that one time when I murdered my best friend? [Interviewer laughs] Well, to be bluntly honest, this book started after I got into reading the transgressional genre—Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, even to a lesser degree Heller’s Catch-22—and I wanted to give that style of writing a try. I started with nothing more than the opening scene: With that murder. And my journey was the same. I had to unwind the reasons for such a powerful, permanent human act that is so difficult—if not impossible—to fully understand. This book is an attempt to fully understand it.

What types of discoveries did you make while participating in the journey and getting to know your narrator?

I don’t even know where to start with that. The process of diving into someone’s mind and then plunging, with that character as a medium, into these dark—these irrevocably dark—places helped me understand more things about myself, about what it means to be human, about how we seek redemption and attempt to redeem ourselves. But at the same time, it was a story, and a journey, that didn’t give me neatly packaged answers wrapped in a ribbon with a bow on top. The story, like life, has few “full” resolutions. It’s not about the destinations, but about the struggles.

Do you feel the reader share the same kinds of struggles you, as the author, went through, or will they go through something different?

Yes. [laughs] Yes, I hope they manage to do both. This is a book that goes into very dark places. But I want it to be clear this journey isn’t a process of beating our faces against the most painful parts of life. This book is an up-close story of a person, the evolution of his beliefs, and his greatest struggles. The weather in a journey like that has its storms, but there’s also humor, passion, and other core parts of the human experience. The sunlight and double rainbows. I hope that, as people get to know the characters of my story, they gain a greater understanding of themselves and how they relate to the world. This, by its definition, must be a unique journey for each reader.

Were you able to gain a greater understanding of yourself as you wrote the book?

Oh, absolutely. Both as a writer and a person, this book marked the trail of my personal growth. It was written over the course of eight years and saw literally dozens of drafts. Spending that much time with your mind on a project of this nature certainly … tints your thoughts in a certain way.

You’ve published before, correct? How has this book been different from your other projects?

Well, I’ve published various shorter work, but this is my first full-length novel available to the public. As to whether this book is fully different, the answer is yes and no. I try to tread a lot of ground with my writing. There are similarities with my other work; I tend to like first-person narratives, I tend to focus on character psychology and, broadly speaking, how people relate to one another. At the same time, the themes here, about redemption and how to cope with the painful, the overwhelming painful, parts of life—this is the piece of work I’ve written that dives into those issues.

Do you have any short messages you’d like to share on those questions?

Yeah. The main answer, if we can call it an answer, to how this book informed my personal efforts to deal with life’s pain is that—really, pain is beautiful. And that as we recognize that, as we hold onto the beauty found within the pain, we transform those experiences. That, as the book puts it, we are never so beautiful as when we shatter.

That’s an intriguing idea. Looking to the future, what are your hopes for this book?

That it will be read. [Laughs] That it will be enjoyed. And I don’t mean “enjoy” as in butterflies and rainbows, but I do mean that people will read the book and feel it, in some sense, enriched their lives. And also, of course, that they won’t be able to put it down. The word readers have used most commonly to describe the book is “intense.” I’m pretty happy with that word.

In what ways is this book “intense”?

In two main ways, at least I hope. We start with a murder, and while the pacing slows, it never really comes to a stop. There’s a lot of physical struggle that happens in this story. But the physical struggle is reflected, interplays with—is, you know, enmeshed with—all the internal struggles of the characters. So I like to believe when people tell me it’s “intense,” they’re talking as much about that internal intensity as they are about the violent, external struggles.

Great. Well, that’s the time we have for you today. Again, that was Rob D Young discussing his most recent publication, BrokenGlass. You can find more about his work, as well as his blog on the writing craft, at RobDYoung.com. Thanks so much for meeting with us, Rob.

Thanks so much for having me.

More about the author:

Rob is an enthusiastic traveler and educator. At age nine, Rob decided he wanted to become an author, and the seventeen years since have largely been devoted to that aim.

In addition to his Kindle publications, Rob has published more than a dozen creative pieces with literary journals (such as Irreantum, V Magazine, Touchstones, Warp + Weave, and Enormous Rooms). Rob regularly writes columns about the writing craft, which you can find around the web, including at LitReactor and Rob’s website.

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