Monday, April 23, 2018

New interview with author Douglas Wells

Writer Douglas Wells has come back for a visit and today we’re chatting about his new contemporary literary fiction, How We End Up.

Douglas Wells is an award-winning author who was born in Seattle, Washington. His father was an officer in the U.S. Army, and by the time Douglas finished high school he had lived in Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, Okinawa, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of South Florida and has taught English and Literature at several colleges.

Douglas has a unique interest in and perspective on the tragic, comical, and the redemptive in his characters. TouchPoint Press released his novel, The Secrets of All Secrets, on May 12, 2017.

The Secrets of All Secrets received the Literary Titan Silver Award on August 4, 2017, was a Finalist in the 2017 Independent Author Network’s Book of the Year Awards, and was a Finalist in the 2018 Amelia Island Book Fest and Expo Book Island Literary Award.

His new novel, How We End Up, released by TouchPoint Press on March 20, 2018, received the March Literary Titan Silver Award, and the following are comments from reviewers:
“Suspenseful…Nothing can prepare you for this tale as you find out how these characters ‘end up.’ Thought-provoking and intelligent.”

“If you only take one suggestion this year on what to read.  Read this!”

“This story forces us to transcend the pages of the book. A true masterpiece.”

“This book has it all.”

Douglas is a Professor of English at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. He is the father of two grown sons, and he lives with his wife and two cats in Panama City Beach.

Douglas, welcome back to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your newest release.
Jackson Levee, a professor, saves young twin girls, Hadley and Haley, from drowning. He soars to literary fame by writing about the incident and from media attention. The twins mature into troubled young women. Jackson’s success leads him to a job at an esteemed university where he meets and marries LaVeda, with whom he has a happy marriage, but his ascendant star falls soon thereafter. Hadley marries a womanizer then realizes she is gay. She sinks into alcohol and drug abuse. Haley suffers from depression then begins an ill-fated affair with her supervisor. She later marries an army reservist who is horribly wounded in the Iraqi War and whose PTSD threatens everything. Through twenty-five years, Jackson’s, Hadley’s, and Haley’s recklessness in sex, love, marriage, and life produce wild and horrific results. Through it all, they struggle to realize their destinies and find balance.

What inspired you to write this book?
I used to walk the beach in a park near my house. The park gets numerous visitors, mostly families, and I would frequently walk by young children playing in the surf. This area is known for its rip currents, and there are always news stories about people being caught in one and having to be rescued. It occurred to me that one day I might have to jump in after someone, particularly a child. Fortunately, I never had to. It got me thinking, though, about how these rescues are often called “miracles,” but the story stops there. It did not, of course, tell us the aftermath, so I began formulating a story that shows us how the characters were brought together by the rescue then what happens to them over a long span of time. People marvel that the girls’ lives were saved and at Jackson’s heroism, but it’s only for a brief moment. We live with them as their ensuing lives ironically often spin out of control, and we stay with them until they “end up.”

What’s the next writing project?
I’m working on a novel in which the central character leads five different lives, all separated from the others.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
In reference to the novel I’m working on, I have to keep the character’s lives separate but somehow work in an oblique reference to the others. I think I’ve found a way to do that, but I’ll have to judge how it works out.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?

I usually know where in the novel I will have to do some research, but I wait until I reach that particular place in the story then I pause to investigate. A good example from How We End Up is the part when Haley’s husband is sent to Iraq. I researched the environment he would be in, what his duties would be, and similar details. I’m pretty sure I got it right. At least some readers have told me so.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I work at a small desk where I have a view of my backyard and the canal beyond it in which boats pass by. I insist on working where I can see out a window. Better to stare at trees, birds, squirrels, and boats than at a wall.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
For fiction, I’m reading a literary novel by Taylor Larsen called Stranger, Father, Beloved. I alternate that with a biography of John Cheever. I went through a phase of reading all of Stephen Hawking’s books, two books on the Civil war, and my next book to read is John Le Carre’s Legacy of Spies. My reading choices are eclectic.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Just that I hope they will read How We End Up. I think it speaks to the experiences many of us have as we ramble through life.

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!
Thank you for the opportunity.

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