Lisa: Please join us in welcoming author Jordan Taylor today, on the tour for her new novel, The Places We Say Goodbye.
Thanks for being here with us, Jordan. Let’s start by having you tell us a bit about yourself.
Jordan: Thanks for having me!
That’s a tough one. I love ice cream, used bookstores, and cat pictures. I live in the Pacific Northwest. And I would rather be writing than … anything. Besides maybe being in Powell’s City of Books in Portland. When I go in Powell’s I begin to hyperventilate with the rush of adrenaline. My brother has told me I’m on crack in there.
More on topic, The Places We Say Goodbye is my twelfth published novel and my first full-length novel to encompass my favorite research topic, World War One. This 100-year-old period of history, from 1914 to 1918, is another passion of mine.
Lisa: This book sounds like it has an intense dynamic to it, what with the paranormal element and the PTSD aspect. In what did the idea for this story originate; how did you come up with the idea for the book?
Jordan: The concept came from a trip to New York City about five years ago. I had never visited Manhattan and was inspired to write a “short story” in that setting while there. I was working on WWI fiction at the time and the idea of juxtaposing the modern city with this historic event came naturally.
Much of the story is set in a perfectly normal modern day New York, while the idea of a man dreaming about something from the past and trying to figure out what is happening to him somehow made sense. The length was more of a surprise. When I saw this was turning into a novel, I set aside the opening I had written and just went back to it last year to finish. With a primary setting of 2016, I felt some urgency last year!
Lisa: Which of the characters in the book did you enjoy getting to know better as you were writing them? What things surprised you about them as you were fleshing them out?
Jordan: I like getting to know everyone who comes along. Probably the girls were the most fun though. There are a couple of young girls who are a major part of the story and I love dealing with family dynamics.
In this case, by the time I actually sat down to write the whole first draft, the main characters were like old friends, so not many surprises.
Lisa: What were some of the easiest and most difficult parts of writing this novel for you? Were there some parts of it that left you feeling emotionally drained while writing it?
Jordan: All dialogue focused scenes are the easiest for me. I’ve been told I should be writing plays. The hardest … probably technical details. There is a lot of merging between fact and fiction in this book—real places and events with invented ones. Making sure all those details merge in what is hopefully a seamless manner can be a challenge.
There are a couple of scenes late in the book in which Flep is put through emotional trials related to his visions of the past that were definitely draining.
Lisa: If you could name one book you’ve read over the course of your lifetime that you wish you’d written, what would that book be, and why did it make such an impression on you?
Jordan: Three Junes by Julia Glass. Ms. Glass perfectly merges literary with commercial fiction, mass market apparel with personal interests, and leaves behind an unforgettable novel. Although anything by Pat Barker comes to mind for historical.
Lisa: If there were any author you were given the opportunity to sit down and chat with, living or deceased, who would that author be and why him/her?
Jordan: Richard Adams. I hope to see the day that his novel The Plague Dogs is adapted into a live action feature film (there’s already an animated one), and I’d love to discuss it with him.
Lisa: As both a writer and a reader, what do you feel makes for a great protagonist?
Jordan: Details. If a person isn’t a real person, they’re just not that interesting.
I recently read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Her novel is wonderful because of her characters. And her characters are wonderful because of a million details that make you remember the time you have spent with them and look forward to seeing them again.
Lisa: Would you like to share a little information on some of your upcoming projects and current WIPs with us?
Jordan: I never know until they’re going through real edits what will be next. I have a couple of contemporary and a couple of historical novels that I’m working on now. I daresay I’ll have to choose one genre or the other to pursue before long.…
Lisa: Thanks again for taking the time to visit today, Jordan. Will you tell readers where we can find you on the internet?
Thank you for your time, and thanks to your readers for stopping by!
About the Book
Author: Jordan Taylor
Title: The Places We Say Goodbye
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: July 18, 2016
Category: Lit/Genre Fiction
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Orientation: Bi, Gay
Length: 235 Pages
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Purchase Links: NineStar Press || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || OmniLit/All Romance Ebooks
Blurb: Flep has a great job as a New York City production designer, a blossoming relationship with Torin, and the potential joy of becoming a stepparent to Torin’s two young daughters. Nothing could be better—yet his life is crumbling from the inside out.
Ever since moving in with Torin, Flep has dreamed of muddy trenches, bullet-riddled bodies, and endless horrors which only grow worse and spill into his day-to-day life. Traumatized and sleepless, he slogs on: a soldier afflicted with post-traumatic stress. Only, Flep has never been a soldier, let alone been to war.
Fighting for his sanity, Flep turns to unlikely sources for help—even phantoms from another era. It could take a family from 1916 to illuminate his waking nightmares, but the truth may come at the price of losing his new family along the way.
Monday, June 27
A dirt road stretched away, straight and flat, as far as I could see. I stood, then walked. Maybe I was walking all along, but didn’t feel like I had moved.
A dozen horses lay along the road. Fat, white maggots emerged from their nostrils and eye sockets, wriggling over dark fur. Abdomens bulged, grossly distended below summer sun.
A man stepped up to me. Rows of men behind. Packs on their backs and rifles in their hands. Sunlight flashing off steel helmets. This man had a mustache and never glanced at the animals along the road.
“There’s a farm ahead, sir. I’ll have the lads check for a pump.”
Then, in a gloomy building at night. Dust thick on the floor. Men talked around me. I was apart, away from them, beside only one other.
My companion tried to tell me something important. Like with the water pump man, I could not listen. He read from a notebook in his hand.
How could he ask my opinion on poetry? While maggots flopped and convulsed down sunken faces—so crowded, they forced each other out? While the young man in the corner scratched his own head until his fingers were bloody? While another sang about ghost horses as he smoked one cigarette after the next, lighting one with the butt of the last?
Still reading to me, insistent. He jabbed his finger at a page.
I wanted to shoot him. I scrambled to my feet. I said I had to write a postcard.
Then I stood in a river of mud, legs braced, shouting, “Get out of there, Attwater!”
I couldn’t see him, couldn’t feel him, and couldn’t get away myself. Scorching metal flew past my face.
“Attwater!” Panic and mud sucked me back into that dark river.
I woke with a jolt, shivering and disoriented.
The TV plays a cooking competition show. Both girls riveted.
10:00 p.m. and I sit at the kitchen table, laptop open—working. Asleep sitting up. Fresh anxiety that the girls are not in bed. Then remember: Torin asked me to bring them to the restaurant tonight.
I open my mouth to tell Isabelle and Carine they can get ready to go. Parting my lips, I see flopping maggots—bloated like slugs—almost tasting them. I must shut both mouth and eyes for several minutes.
Hands shake on my keyboard. Still nauseated when I inform them we can go.
Only a dream. Only a dream. I wonder if I am trying to reassure—or trying to convince myself.
Jordan Taylor © 2016
All Rights Reserved
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