Today I’d like to welcome author James LePore to Thoughts in Progress as the special guest blogger as he makes a stop on his virtual book tour.
James’ latest release is ANYONE CAN DIE. Here’s a brief description of it - ANYONE CAN DIE is a collection of three emotionally charged stories written by James from the world of his widely acclaimed novel, A WORLD I NEVER MADE.
TILL DEATH DO US PART: A young couple on their honeymoon in New Mexico find a bond they did not know they had when they are forced to confront trouble in the form of a surly trio of locals.
GOD'S WARRIORS: A cynical American woman on her own in Europe makes a decision that both reveals and belies her true character.
MAX: The childhood roots of Max French, a quirky, deadly and, in his own eyes, oddly lovable F.B.I. Agent.
On his stop today, James is talking about how his latest work came to be.
I knew when I was writing A WORLD I NEVER MADE, my first novel, that in-depth character development would have to give way to pace and plotting, the two key elements of the suspense/thriller genre. I did not know that I would get the chance, after the final draft was handed in, to expand on my characters in the trio of short stories that ultimately came to comprise ANYONE CAN DIE.
When I was given that chance, all of the non-essential thoughts and notes and back stories that I had relegated to a sort of literary limbo over the twelve months it took to write A WORLD I NEVER MADE, began suddenly clamoring for my attention. An attention I was happy to give them.
I turned first to Lorrie Nolan, who died at the age of twenty—twenty-nine years before the novel begins—while giving birth to Megan and leaving her twenty-one-year-old husband Pat (WORLD’s two central characters) devastated, so devastated that he pretty much abandoned Megan until she was a teenager. Lorrie is only mentioned in passing in the novel, but she is flesh and blood in TILL DEATH DO US PART, on her honeymoon with Pat—raw and wildly in love—in New Mexico.
My purpose in writing the story was to give the reader a deeper understanding of Pat’s loss, and therefore of his motives, both in abandoning Megan when she was a child and in desperately pursuing her across Europe as World unfolds.
It was my love for Megan Nolan, not an elucidation of motive, that drove me to write GOD’S WARRIORS. Though she would deny it, Megan’s heart was not all black, not completely hardened by the cards life had dealt her. Her decision to help a young girl who has been terribly abused, but to absent herself completely from the girl’s life while doing so, will give the reader an insight into the things buried in Megan’s heart, the things that force their way out when she has to make much more momentous decisions—life and death decisions—in the novel.
Max French, an eccentric FBI agent, also pursues Megan across Europe in A WORLD I NEVER MADE, falling in love with her, from a distance, along the way. What made him so quirky, and why did he fall in love with the women he pursued without ever really meeting or getting to know them? The answers are to be found in the two events in Max’s early life around which ANYONE CAN DIE’s third story, MAX, revolve. Max is a man with a past, and a big secret; to my mind exactly the kind of flawed but fearless soldier we want in the front lines of the post-9/11 battles we are fighting at home and all over the world.
James what a great way to give background to a story and more depth to your characters. Thanks for guest blogging here today.
Now to share a little more depth on James, his first novel, A WORLD I NEVER MADE, was written after extensive research into the history of Islam on the Iberian Peninsula, and travel in Europe and North Africa. He writes novels of suspense, driven as much by gripping stories as by strong, complex characters. His second novel, BLOOD OF MY BROTHER, was released on December 25, 2010; and his third, SONS AND PRINCES, in May, 2011. In addition, James is a writer of short fiction. He is currently at work on his fourth novel, the story of a Manhattan district attorney whose son is wrongly accused of murder, which The Story Plant will publish in fall, 2011.
James is an attorney who has practiced law for more than two decades. He is also an accomplished photographer (his work can be seen at www.nakedeyeimages.com). He lives in South Salem, New York with his wife, artist Karen Chandler. To find out more about James and his writing, visit James LePore Fiction
What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy learning background on a character after meeting them or would you rather have all the information at once?