Yes, let’s. Now, why Ryan Gladney? I found him this week in an author group on Goodreads, where we occasionally promote each others’ stuff. I don’t usually play. As you know, I have this tendency to only promote authors whose books I’ve read and wholeheartedly like. Ryan’s book though, sounded so interesting that I couldn’t resist. (It’s on the to-read pile, so expect a review sooner or later. Probably later, since I’m in full writing mode at the moment.) Plus, he has this very sweet author pic.
I asked him a few questions today, and he replied with superhuman speed.
Who are you?
Where are you?
I’m in the back of a public library in Maple Grove, Minnesota, at this little desk situated between the Mystery and Biography sections. This is atypical, though. I do most of my writing and book-related activities on the coffee table in the sun-room of my apartment in Minneapolis.
How are you?
Great! A little hungry, and craving some cold pressed coffee, but author interviews are enough fun to keep my mind off food and drink for a while.
Cold pressed coffee sounds like an emergency. I’m impressed, and not a little honored, that you decided to answer the questions first. Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.
I want to talk about Nine Lives of Adam Blake. It’s my debut novel. In the first scene of the novel the main character dies, and he finds that his afterlife is his own life, lived over and over again. He doesn’t know why, doesn’t know whether this is standard procedure for dead folk, so much of the book is him trying to understand why he’s trapped in this loop of life-after-life, and how he’s supposed to work his way out of it.
Why did you write it?
Mainly to appease my own curiosity. I came up with the idea and the characters, and I really just wanted to know where they would go and what would happen to them. I felt strongly that I had stumbled onto a really good idea, and I wanted to do it justice.
Is there a song you’d associate with your book?
What a fun question! In my book, there are moments when Adam is in this disembodied, between-life state, and I always imagine The XX’s Crystallize playing in the background of those scenes. That song is mysterious and seductive and ethereal; it sounds like something drifting by you in the wind. That’s how I imagine Adam in those states.
Not my kind of music, but I get what you mean. Definitely a disembodied quality about it. Is there a message in your book? Do you want your readers to take something home?
I guess there is a message, but it was 100% unintentional. I did not sit down to write a self-discovery journey or a philosophical exploration or whatever – I thought I was writing sci-fi at first! The “message” at the end is a product of Adam’s journey; it was the only conclusion/resolution I found to be reasonable. It wasn’t something I had planned to express all along. And I can’t tell you what it is without ruining the book.
Plot or characters? Which is more important and why?
Characters, no doubt. Just look through the history of good and bad books and movies and TV. You can have the most inventive, fascinating idea ever, but without characters worth investing in, your story will feel hollow. Rich, developed, and honest characters can make even the most by-the-numbers and pedestrian plot a piece of compelling art.
With that answer, you’ve won my heart. I need to read faster and get to your book as soon as I can. Thanks for stopping by!