Delighted to welcome Daniel Gothard back to the blog today. He appeared last year when his novel, Simon Says, was published and he’s back now as his latest, Reunited, comes out. It tells the story of a successful journalist, Ben, who attends a school reunion for a feature and adds a whole other layer of conflict to his already complex and confusing life. Thanks for coming, Dan. Over to you…
So, it’s almost time to launch your second novel with the same publisher – who has already done an incredible job with your first and is putting his heart, soul and faith, not to mention finance, into another book by you. How do you feel – elated at having another opportunity to show your artistic skills? Sure this story will be a much bigger success than the previous one – regardless of how well that previous one actually did? Or can you feel a creeping sense of the ‘What ifs’ beginning?
My next Urbane Publications novel – “Reunited” (out October 6th 2016) is set in 1992 and 2012. The central character, Ben Tallis, tells his story as a 16 year old keeping a journal – in the wake of his father’s death – and as a 36 year old journalist – ordered by his editor to attend a dreaded 20 year school reunion.
I loved writing this book; the thought of those ‘What ifs’ in my own past kept coming to mind – although the book is pure fiction – and I really enjoyed reviewing the sheer weirdness of being a teenager. It is such a strange time for most people: the changes in your mind and body, the social and sexual anxieties and the peer-group pressures. Of course things WERE different in my day and, even in 1992, the internet, mobile phones, email, etc, just didn’t feature. That actually did me a creative favour and let me focus on ‘real’ human contact – talking instead of texting.
My guess is we all have those moments of wondering how we could have done something differently in our pasts, used other words to express ourselves and become someone else perhaps. I wrote a short story in 2001 about the 30 year old me meeting the 15 year old me on a train; trying and failing to impart knowledge and edge myself away from the sad and painful sections of my following 15 years. I’m not sure whether that inspired “Reunited” but I do love the idea of time travel and thinking about alternative timelines.
I’m exactly where I want to be in life and am incredibly lucky to have my wife and three children. My ruminations aren’t embedded with sadness, just a feeling of wonderment.
Remembering doesn’t have to mean regretting.