Sunday, October 11, 2015

#INTERVIEW David B. Seaburn - More More Time - Virtual Book Tour


Maxwell Ruth, a cantankerous, old high school history teacher falls down his basement stairs and soon thereafter starts hearing “The Words” over and over again--- endingtimeendingtimeendingtime. His life is changed forever.

In this story we learn about the lives, loves, and losses of Max, Hargrove and Gwen Stinson, Beth and Bob Hazelwood, and Constance Young. They are lively, funny, at times; a little bit lost or wounded, yet resilient and hopeful.  They are wrestling with life’s most challenging issues, including, abuse, loss, infidelity, aging, secrecy and what gives life meaning. And, like all of us, they would like more, more time to find the answers to life’s most important questions. The clock, though, is always ticking and time is always short. 

 
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What is your book about?

This is a novel about love and loss, hope and the constraints of time. The main character Maxwell Ruth, a sixty-two year old high school history teacher who is obsessed with Abraham Lincoln, desperate for a relationship with a woman, and frustrated with a life less great than he had hoped. After a fall down his basement steps, Max starts hearing a voice with a simple yet puzzling message, “endingtimeendingtimeendingtime.”

Subsequently, Max’s best friend’s marriage falls apart under the dead weight of grief and indifference; his neighbor’s marriage, already at risk due to infidelity, is revived; and Max falls in love with the lively and sensuous Constance Young. All of this takes place with an awareness that’s life’s clock is always ticking and each character, in his or her own ways, discovers the limits of More More Time.
 

What inspired you to write this particular story (and/or series)?

The title of the book came from a game I played with one of our granddaughters when she was about eighteen months old. I would hold onto her wrists while she went limp on the hardwood kitchen floor. Then I would swish her around the kitchen. She’d laugh and laugh. Soon I would get tired and say, “Gianna, one more time.” Well, she thought I was saying, “More more time,” and so that’s what she called the game. I liked this so much that I decided to use it as the title for my next book even though I didn’t yet have an idea for a story.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track? When I start writing a novel, I have usually done two things. First, I write profiles of the main characters so I have an idea who they are. Second, I think of challenging situations in which to put them so I can see how they will interact, how they will behave and think and feel. After that, I just plunge into the process. I don’t know how any of my stories will end until I am almost finished. Sometimes, despite my planning, new characters emerge, demanding to be a part of the narrative. I try to write regularly, but I don’t write every day. I must say, though, that even when I’m not sitting at my computer, I still feel like I’m writing. The ideas are simmering or percolating of just lying dormant, waiting for me to get going.

What authors inspire or influence your work? Because my background is so varied (I am a retired family psychologist and minister) the writers who have influenced me most aren’t just fiction writers. Among them are: Paul Tillich (philosophical theologian); Martin Buber (philosopher); Ernest Becker; Norman O. Brown; Annie Dillard (nature and fiction); The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous; Ellie Wiesel (Holocaust related fiction); Nikos Kazantzakis (fiction); Rainer Maria Rilke (poet); the journals of May Sarton; the journals of Thomas Merton; the novels of Philip Roth; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey. I better stop!


Favorite snack when writing. I am an ice cream addict. Panda Paws. Toffee Coffee. Mmmm.

Once a character is fully developed do you set them free or do they still dance around your mind? This is a great question. I don’t thing I ever “fully develop” the characters. I think it’s much more mutual than that. In the beginning, of course, I am in charge of what characters do, wear, think, look like, etc. But soon they start exercising their own influence over what happens in their lives. Many times I have to amend the story because a character has gone off in a direction I hadn’t anticipated, or I have tried to get them to do something they would never do. All this sounds quite odd, unless you do any fiction writing, then you understand the power of characters to influence stories.

What project(s) are you working on now?

I always start a new novel when I am going through the publication process for a current novel, so a year ago I started writing “Parrot Talk” about two brothers who were estranged from their mother for over forty years. When they are notified of her death they also discover that she had a pet parrot who, it turns out, has a lot to say. I have a long way to go with this one!

Where can readers find you and your book(s) online?  My books are most easily available through Amazon. “More More Time” is at AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
 
I write a blog for Psychology Today magazine at
www.psychologytoday.com~blog/going-out-not-knowing

You can also visit me at www.davidbseaburn.com
 
David B. Seaburn served a rural country parish, worked in community mental health, was an assistant professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center for twenty years, and also directed a free public school-based family counseling center before his retirement in 2010. He has written five novels: More More Time (2015), Chimney Bluffs (2012), Charlie No Face (2011—Finalist in General Fiction, National Indie Excellence Awards), Pumpkin Hill (2007), and Darkness is as Light (2005). He and his wife live near Rochester, NY. They have two adult daughters and two wonderful granddaughters.

 In the days after Maxwell Ruth fell down his basement stairs, he begins to hear something alarming. He decides to tell his best friend, Hargrove Stinson, even though Hargrove has gone through a similar problem when his wife, Gwen, started hearing things after their daughter, Sally, died.

 

"But something's wrong." Max grimaced, his eyes wide.

 

"Something's wrong? What are you talking about?"

 

"Not long after I fell, I started hearing things."

 

"What things?" Hargrove thought of Gwen. “Did you hear that?” she’d often say, fear in her eyes. His heart skipped a beat.

 

“I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. I don’t want you to think I’m…”

 

“What are you hearing, Max?” Hargrove’s words were more clipped than he had intended.

 

“It’s like, these words.”

 

“Someone talking?”
“No, nothing like that. It’s just this repetitive…” Max’s voice trailed off.

 

“A repetitive what?”

 

“You’ve been through enough of this…”

 

“Look, Max, tell me what’s going on.” Hargrove’s eyes didn’t move.

 

Max looked out the window again.

 

“Words. I’m hearing words. Woke me up after I got home from the hospital. Words slung together over and over again.” Max shrugged, his jaw went slack. “They go away. They come back. I don’t know what the hell it is.”

 

"Words, it sounds like words?”

 

Hargrove’s back stiffened. The hair on his neck prickled. “Listen. I hear her,” Gwen would say. “It’s Sally, I’m sure of it. She needs me.” He scrutinized Max’s face, looking for the terror, for the cold panic so familiar to Hargrove, but it wasn’t there.

 

“What did your doctor say? Did you tell him you’re hearing voices?"

 

"Jesus Christ, I'm not hearing voices!" Max threw the marker on the floor and walked to the window again. He wiped his face with his hand. Hargrove went to him and reached for his shoulder but then withdrew his hand.

 

"Okay, okay, you're not hearing voices. You're hearing words."

 

"Yes, I'm hearing words." Max turned around to face his friend.

 

"What words?"

 

"One word is ‘ending’ and the other word is ‘time.’” Max shrugged his shoulders.

 

"Time ending?" said Hargrove, his voice a monotone.

 

"When I hear it, it's 'ending time.' And they run together like they’re a single word playing on a continuous loop: endingtimeendingtimeendingtime." Max frowned and nodded his head to one side as he said this.

 

"That’s it?" Max shook his head. The corner of Hargrove's mouth twitched slightly. "What did the doctor say?"

 

"Well," said Max, looking at the floor. "I didn't exactly tell him."

 

"Jesus, Max."

 

"Look, that's all I need. A doctor thinking I've gone off the deep end.” Max paused. “I don't need a friend thinking I've gone off the deep end either."

 

"Of course not." Hargrove cleared his throat. Max put his hand on his briefcase as if he were about to leave. "But, Jesus, Max, you should have told your doctor about this. I mean, maybe something can be done. Maybe if you had a CT or an MRI, they could find the cause. It has to be something."

 

"Had those. Nothing's wrong."

 

Hargrove was quiet.

 

"You think I'm crazy, don't you?" said Max.

Hargrove studied Max's face, his full cheeks and wide eyes seeming almost childlike


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