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The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian Book Review

two-half-stars

The Double BindTitle:The Double Bind
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Release date: February 13, 2007
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 384

About the book:

When Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography, spending all her free time at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies, Laurel discovers a deeply hidden secret–a story that leads her far from her old life, and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.

In a tale that travels between the Roaring Twenties and the twenty-first century, between Jay Gatsby’s Long Island and rural New England, bestselling author Chris Bohjalian has written his most extraordinary novel yet.

Review:

This is a story of a young social worker Laurel. She works at a small homeless shelter named BEDS in Vermont.

Several years earlier this avid bicyclist was brutally attacked by two men as she was riding her bike in a wooded area in Upstate Vermont. These two men were caught and sent to prison.

One of her clients at the homeless shelter is named Bobbie Crocker. He is an elderly man with a sparkling personality who at one time was a professional photographer. When he dies he leaves his mediocre photography collection with the shelter.

Laurel discovers that among his photographs are pictures of very famous celebrities of years ago. Also, she discovers two pictures of a young woman on a bicycle riding in a wooded area which she assumes could be her.

This is when she starts her quest to learn more about Bobbie Crocker and what kind of man he was.

A cleverly woven tale ensues when you learn that Bobbie is a direct descendant of James Gatz and Daisy Buchanan. A carefully intricate account of his young life is mapped out based on the F. Scott Fitgerald novel “The Great Gatsby”.

But in all it’s charm and glory, I found the book very difficult to read. It had a hard time holding my interest. I truly muddled through the novel. And while the end was shocking and deliberate, when all the pieces of the puzzle are put into place, I found it to be way too much too late.

Others have certainly disagreed with me on this book, so try it and see for yourself.

About the author:

CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of ten novels, including Midwives (a Publishers Weekly Best Book and an Oprah’s Book Club selection) and his most recent New York Times bestseller, Before You Know Kindness. His work has been translated into eighteen languages and published in twenty-one countries. He lives with his wife and daughter in Vermont.


Interview with Andrew Cratsley, author of Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA native of Honeoye, New York, Andrew Cratsley lives in North Carolina. Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows is his debut novel. Cratsley is a lifelong fan of fantasy books, films, and RPG-style gaming.  A champion of literacy issues and proud supporter of the World Literacy Foundation, Cratsley will donate a portion of the proceeds from Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows to the World Literacy Foundation’s fight against illiteracy.

When did you begin writing?

 

It was about fifteen years ago when I wrote my first draft. As I studied my craft and experimented with characters I made many revisions.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Mostly at night, but I have my 18 hour surges of inspiration, fueled by steady IV drip of coffee.

What is this book about?

Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows is the first in this 5 book fantasy series. This coming of age story is filled with adventure and peril. Corinth, the youthful sage knight strays from his homeland under the ruse of a mercenary to quell the mischief of Khalid, the lord of conquest. He and his unlikely companions are snared by the web of Mortiscet–a devilish entity with an obscure agenda–amid the deadly trail of contracts. They are forced to flee the region to seek this defiler’s ancient enemy, while battling assassins and sinister creatures.

 

What inspired you to write it?

The idea occurred to me many years ago and festered as the pleas of my 11th grade English teacher to take up writing haunted me. When I started to write this story I was amazed by the colorful world that formed in my mind. I knew I couldn’t rest until I sought to share it with the world.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

That is impossible to answer. I love all my characters like they are my children.

frontcover_444x664Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Very rocky and stressful, yet exhilarating.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes, I would have started this project much sooner…instead of wasting time on self-doubt rather than studying the craft.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

I offer a discount excusively on my website www.keeperofrunes.com (discount code on the page), but it can be found on Amazon in paperback and kindle. It has been made available to book stores and libraries globally.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

There are not yet any video feeds, but my site connects to my blog on my goodreads profile , where I do weekly Q and A with my readers.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22071000-keepers-of-runes-and-the-tower-of-shadows?from_search=true

Also everyone can follow on twitter @Mortiscet.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Maryglenn. I would be lost without her.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never lose sight of your dream and feedback is a learning tool, not a brandished weapon.

What is up next for you?

Keepers of Runes and the Rise of Khalid is ready for my editor. I’m eager to give my readers the next installment of this series next year.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Enjoy the journey as it is about to become much darker, while the young characters continue to grow and discover themselves…as well as the true nature of the cursed world around them.


A Conversation with YA Fantasy Author C.H. MacLean


C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

For More Information

Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Right now, my day job takes up most of my time, but I love to read and be active outdoors, such as biking or hiking. Not at the same time, of course. Exploring a new forest, or re-discovering an old one, in reality or symbolically in a book, brings me joy.

Two Empty Thrones 2If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

A particular place isn’t terribly important to me. Anywhere an unfettered forest grows, where green explodes between brown and blue. Could be Scotland or Costa Rica. Or maybe where I am right now.

What do you find fascinating about the YA fantasy genre?

Fantasy gives me the room to explore everything new again, reminds me that life is fun and magic. YA similarly shows characters at the first crucial point of an individual, the turning of a bud into flower. But that’s why I like reading the genre. I just write the stories that come to me, which happen to be YA fantasy.

When was the adrenalin rush – writing that first chapter or the last and why?

First, last, and a lot in between. I saw the story all at once, an explosion that laid out the trunk and branches of the story further than I could keep in my mind. When I went back to explore the details and put the images on paper, I felt the excitement all over again. Every time the plot twisted perfectly, the characters revealed themselves brightly, it brought the story closer to the first vision I had of it. Still gives me tingles.

What is the most important thing about your book that we as a reader should know?

What people are saying about it:

“Wish I could give this 5 more stars! I am in love with this series!”

“Can’t wait for the next book in the series.”

Your best friend is an aspiring author and his book really sucks. What would you say to him?

Dude, your book, I think it needs some work. Here’s what I like, and how I think you can make it better.

You’re sitting at a dinner party and seated next to NY bestselling authors. They are intimidating indeed and one of them remarks that your book sucks. What would you say to him or her?

Thanks for the feedback. What was it you didn’t like? How can I improve it? What did you like about it?

You catch someone sitting on a park bench reading your book whether on an e-reader or the real McCoy and you walk over to him or her and what do you say?

(After waiting so as not to interrupt, of course.) Hi, I couldn’t help noticing you’re reading the book I wrote. Here’s my card. If you’re willing, I’d love to hear what you think.

You’ve just been offered the Pulitzer Prize. Who do you thank?

The love of my life, first and last. Then, my father, manager, cover artist, editor, publicist, but most of all, I would thank you, the readers. Without you, there would be no point in writing.

Any final words?

Ignore impossible realities. Miracles and magic can be found all around us.

I’d also like to thank you for your interest in me and my book Two Empty Thrones! The third book in the series, We The Three, will be released in the summer of 2015. I love to connect with my readers so please do visit and come chat with me on the internet. You can find me on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.