Interview – 1 book in 5 questions : Finding Jake – Bryan Reardon

An interview with Bryan Reardon about his book : 

Finding Jake


Original cover / French cover

My review (in french)

The topic is sadly in the news, again, in the United States. Do you think about it every time there is another school shooting?

I do, and I don’t. It saddens me every time a child is shot at their school. We, as adults, fail them at the most basic level, keeping them safe. At the same time, I never intended the book as an attempt at solving our horrific failure. Instead, I started out writing about introversion and the power of judgment. I knew I wanted to have a quiet young man be accused of something awful, and delve into how quickly others decided his guilt. I guess the most telling fact is that I needed there to be a tragedy, something believable that the boy could be accused of, and I immediately thought of a school shooting.

At the beginning of the writing process, did you decide straightaway to not describe the shooting itself?

Although it was not a conscious decision, I never once thought about describing the shooting. I knew Jake was Simon’s story to tell. And, although I often write multiple points-of-view, for this book I chose right from the beginning to keep it in his voice. As such, the shooting could not be described as it happens, only in news stories, etc. When it came to addressing it in that way, I chose to stay away from a graphic depiction. In my opinion, the way the media handles shootings, sensationalizing the violence, is exactly what inspired the book in the first place. I believe that the more kids, and even adults, see graphic violence in the news, the more incidents of violence will occur.

Was it challenging to narrate such a story by letting the emotions talk, in a heart wrenching writing style, yet never falling into voyeurism?

I believe that letting the emotions of the character speak is the most challenging part of writing any story. Although I am classified as a thriller writer here in the United States, I never see myself that way. I am far more interested in the relationships between my characters, whether it be parent and child, or husband and wife. As I was learning the craft, I think the one thing that helped me get this book published is that I taught myself to get into the character as I write. I try to live what they are living, feel what they are feeling. That can be taxing, and sad at times, but it has certainly improved my writing.

You’ve been inspired by your own experience to talk about this father, stay-at-home dad, living in the suburbs, did you?

I did. When my kids, now fourteen-year-old twins, were six months old, I left my job working for the government and stayed home with them. My wife had gotten a job at a large corporation and I could pick up freelance writing work, so it made perfect, logical sense for us. Then, when the day came for me to start home and her to go back to work, I remember wondering what in the world I had been thinking when I agreed to it. But, the experience helped me write this book. And more importantly, I was lucky enough to spend an amazing amount of time with my kids. I’ll never regret that.

Was it also a way to show how much the media’s power affects the way to think in the every day life?

The media’s role in the book is very intentional. The very first inspiration for the story came as I watched news reports of a recent school shooting. Like everyone else, I hung on every word. Needing more and more information. Maybe because I wanted there to be some reason for it. Some way to know that it wouldn’t happen to my family. To my kids. Yet, the more I watched, the more uneasy I felt about what I was seeing. I was a voyeur to the heartbreaking tragedy of others. I can honestly say that I have not turned on a televised news program since the day I started writing Jake.

Catégories :Interviews littéraires

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