When I was a kid, about eight, I remember my dad talking about capital punishment and me thinking that when I’d grow up I’d be accused of a crime I didn’t commit and be found guilty and executed. The idea that life is uncertain and irrational and that we’re at the mercy of rumors and secrets has stuck with me my whole life. That’s especially so when when society is fearful -- demagogues have a field day and innocent people can easily be railroaded. It was true at the time of the Salem witch hunts, the Cold War, and is equally true today.
2) You've done a lot of traveling, and witnessed a lot, what has been your most memorable experience?
Gosh. Maybe being alone in the red pyramid in the Egyptian desert south of Cairo. Or going up in a balloon with my eighty-year-old mom in Turkey. Or hiking along the Great Wall of China. BTW, I just got back from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, and I gotta say that climbing the main temple at Angor Wat is right up there. (I’ll be blogging about my trip in a series of posts starting middle of April at allanstratton.blogspot.com . You can also check out past trips to Argentina and, December 2009 about being on set in South Africa for the filming of my novel CHANDA’S SECRETS.)
3) In what ways do you relate to Sami?
I like to think I have a sense of humor, that I fight for what I believe in, and that I’m absolutely, totally loyal to my friends. I also had a really tough time with my dad. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him. We were strangers, and I remember thinking: If I can’t know my own Dad, who can I know? All those things are key to Sami -- as well as his confusion about growing up in a world that seems to be exploding out of control.
4) Can you share some information about your WIP, THE RESURRECTION OF MARY MABEL MCTAVISH?
MARY MABEL an adult novel with a teen heroine set at the time of the Great Depression. A kid is electrocuted when the cross on a revival tent is stuck by lightning; Mary Mabel, who believes she is channeling her dead mother, lays on hands and the boy resurrects. Then all hell breaks loose from New York to Hollywood.
I’m also currently editing my next book THE GRAVE ROBBER’S APPRENTICE. It’s set in medieval times and is funny and creepy and loads of fun. The title kinda speaks for itself. :)
5) Is there a specific message you're trying to spread by writing BORDERLINE?
I never write messages. Instead I try to write great characters facing big stakes. I think meaning and ideas come out of people in conflict. I try to write as honestly and truthfully as I can about human nature and trust my readers to take from my stories what rings most true and important for them.
6) You've written many plays, in addition to your novels, what is the biggest differences between writing the two?
In theatre, the feedback from the audience is intense and immediate. You hear it and feel it immediately, and the reviews are out after opening night. In fiction, it takes so long for a book to be published that by the time it’s out one’s finishing a draft of the next one. As a result, fiction is less of an emotional roller coaster.
I also think that in fiction there’s an illusion of control; you don’t have to worry about a bad production destroying your work. On the other hand, as I said, it’s an illusion: different readers create different images in their heads -- and those who speed-read or read your books in the bathroom or on the bus can miss all the careful builds one has worked so hard on. :)
I do miss the collaboration with actors in developing a play, and also the immediacy of having my work in front of a live audience. I think that’s why I like doing public readings and question and answer sessions; they connect me directly to my audience.
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