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Author/Reader Discussions > Bill Warrington's Last Chance - Author/Reader Discussion

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod
Hi everyone!

We are giving away 10 copies of James King's Bill Warrington's Last Chance: A Novel to stimulate the upcoming discussion taking place here in December.

Want a copy? I know you do... and all you have to do is comment for a copy on TNBBC's blog http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...

Whatcha waiting for???

message 2: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod
Winners have been chosen for the giveaway. Were you one of them?

message 3: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod
If you did not win a copy of BILL WARRINGTON'S LAST CHANCE (but left your email address in the comment)...

Check your email! A little surprise from the publisher is waiting for you.

message 4: by Kayla (new)

Kayla (kaylasreadsandreviews) | 20 comments thanks Lori!

message 5: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod
Hi all!

As the December 1st quickly raced towards us, it was discovered that there was a slight mix up at the publishers office - the book we are about to discuss has not been shipped!! Eeek!

They will be on their way shortly, so please - if you won a copy - it's on its way, I promise!

In the meantime... Since James will be hanging with us... what questions do you have for him? What would you like to know about the writing, editing, or publishing process?

message 6: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Hi everyone! It's an honor to be here and I'm really looking forward to your questions. Hope you'll drop by often starting Dec 1.
All best,

message 7: by Donna (last edited Nov 29, 2011 04:44PM) (new)

Donna (donnasafford) James wrote: "Hi everyone! It's an honor to be here and I'm really looking forward to your questions. Hope you'll drop by often starting Dec 1.
All best,

Hi, Jim. I just wanted to thank you for joining us to chat about your book, etc. I look forward to the discussion. =)

message 8: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod
Hi Jim,

When I was peeking around your blog today, I found this interview on a local news channel. I wanted to share it with our readers because I thought it gave a quick inside perspective on what influenced the plot and places within the book.


Can I ask whether the male host was as odd in person as he appeared on the video? He seemed so nervous or new at interviewing :)

message 9: by James (last edited Nov 30, 2011 03:55AM) (new)

James King | 38 comments Donna, thanks for the welcome! I'm looking forward to chatting with you.

Lori, the interview took place at around 6:15 a.m., so the host might have been a bit over-caffeinated. :) But he was really nice off-camera as well as on-camera, as was the female host, China. What I appreciated most was that he actually read the book. I've been interviewed by others on TV who clearly read, at most, the flap copy. (Not that I truly mind all that much... heck, they've invited me on their show!) The whole experience, despite the hour, was a lot of fun.

message 10: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod
James wrote: "Donna, thanks for the welcome! I'm looking forward to chatting with you.

Lori, the interview took place at around 6:15 a.m., so the host might have been a bit over-caffeinated. :) But he was reall..."

Jim, how many other tv interviews have you had for the book?

I also saw on your blog that you sometimes attend the book club meetings when they discuss your novel? What is that experience like?

message 11: by James (last edited Nov 30, 2011 04:47AM) (new)

James King | 38 comments Lori, I've "done" about four tv interviews and four or five radio interviews--from local shows to NPR. The TV interviews are kind of funny in that you're ushered into the studio (after the "green" room) about a minute before the interview. You sit on the couch, the host comes over, shakes your hand, and the camera is on. After the interview, you shake hands, and you're out of there. The host you referenced in your earlier post, however, came out to meet and chat before the interview, which was nice.

One of my favorite radio interviews was with a "shock jock" that I grew up listening to in Cleveland, Ohio. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but he was the perfect gentleman during the interview.

Regarding book clubs, I LOVE visiting book clubs--either in person or via Skype. I've met with book clubs located as close as two streets away from my home to one in Tokyo. Every club is different, with lots of interesting questions and insights. Sometimes I have to kind of pinch myself when I realize, "Wait a minute! This is MY book they're talking about." It is a real thrill, and I'm always honored to be invited.

message 12: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod
Tokyo? I assume that one was a Skype interview, yes?

I'm still fairly new to Skype, how does a book club interview work on that type of medium? Are all of the readers crowded around one webcam, or do they each conference into the call? How long do those type of interviews tend to last?

message 13: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Just back from the dentist. There's a writing analogy in there somewhere...

Anyway, Lori, yes, the Tokyo visit was via Skype. In that case, the person hosting the event had a great camera that was able to get almost everyone into the picture. In most cases, however, someone usually has a single web camera on their laptop or desktop, and people gather 'round. If it's a laptop or external webcam, it's easy to move it around so that I can see the person asking the question or making the comment. It works quite well. From the comfort of my home here in Connecticut, I've visited with groups in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tokyo. I'm looking forward to another one this month with a club in Missouri.

The sessions usually last around forty-five minutes to an hour--but they can be as short or as long as the club wants, as far as I'm concerned. Having wine and cheese on hand, as always, helps! And according to the feedback I get from the book clubs, participants seem to like it, too. (Then again, most book clubs are too nice to say something like, "Wow, Jim, that Skype session really sucked.") :)

message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (sarahhonenberger) | 20 comments Would love to hear what you were asked on panel at NCTE conference.

message 15: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Sarah wrote: "Would love to hear what you were asked on panel at NCTE conference."

Hi Sarah, and thanks for your question. For anyone reading who is not familiar with the NCTE acronym, it stands for "National Council of Teachers of English," which recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary at their annual convention in Chicago. At the Convention, I was thrilled to be invited to participate in two "events." The first was a book signing at the Penguin booth, where the #1 question I was asked was, "What grade level for your book?" For some reason, this entirely reasonable and understandable question took me by surprise. Fortunately, one of the Penguin people threw me a lifeline; i.e., upper level high school and adult. Pshew!

The second event was a panel discussion on the topic, "Books on Families and the Peer Cultures of our Time." I was on the other panel with three other writers. We each gave a short talk and reading, followed by a Q&A. (I'm finally getting around to your question, Sarah!)

I can't recall all the questions, but the one I do remember clearly--and it's a question I'm asked often at other events--is, "Why did you choose to give your title character (Bill) Alzheimer's?"

My answer always includes a small clarification: Alzheimer's is never mentioned in the book. There are many forms of dementia; Alzheimer's is one of them. I purposely did not name it because I did not want the novel to be about Alzheimer's. I wanted it to be about families and all the messy politics and misunderstandings that characterize them. Bill's malady was really just a device (as cold-hearted as that sounds) to move the story forward.

BUT! One of the biggest challenges in writing the book was trying to get in the head of someone suffering from dementia. Outside of my maternal grandmother, who suffered from it for a short time before she died many years ago, I have no personal experience with a loved one suffering from this cruel disease. So writing the "dementia scenes" was challenging--but also highly rewarding.

Sarah, if you had been at the panel, what question would YOU have asked?

message 16: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (CassieWinters) James, first I want to thank you for taking the time to actually spend with us and answered questions we have. I am currently a student at a university in Indiana, not that far off from Ohio hehe, and one of my two majors is Creative Writing (the other is Social Work). As the semester is currently winding down we are discussing a lot about revision. As many of us are still reading the book currently I would like to ask you about your own habits as a writer, specifically around revision. Though it would be interesting to hear any pearls of wisdom that you have about the writing process. I assume that the finished product was very different from the first draft of the book. What was the revision process like for you?

message 17: by James (last edited Dec 02, 2011 01:36PM) (new)

James King | 38 comments Hi Eric. I went to college in Indiana, too, so that makes me an Honorary Hoosier, right?

Great question about revisions. It seems there are two camps on this one: writers who hate to revise, and those who prefer revising over writing first drafts. I am solidly among the latter. First drafts are painful for me. Revisions can be painful, too, but once I've met my characters and roughed out a plot, the revisions become much more enjoyable. I'm currently on the third draft of my work-in-progress. Actually, I call it my second"post-vomit" draft. The vomit draft is the very first draft of the story. I just type and give myself permission to write, as writer Anne Lamont put it, "a really shitty draft." The second draft puts a bit more polish on the story, killing off some characters and removing all the cliches and redundancies. The third draft is the draft I hope will be the one I send to my agent.

So, in a nutshell, I love to revise. Somebody said that writing is 99% re-writing. I concur 100%.

Hope that answers your question. If not, or if you have another one, I hope to hear from you again. Best of luck with your own drafts and revisions. Keep writing!

UPDATE: I just noticed I attributed a quote to someone named Anne Lamont. The author of the terrific book on writing, "Bird by Bird," is Anne Lamott.

message 18: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnasafford) Jim, thank you for such wonderful answers. I am about 1/3 of the way through the book and hope to finish this weekend. I do have a question, however, about your characters. Without giving any of the story away, could you tell us how your characters came about? They all are compelling in one way or another and I am curious if that is on purpose. Thanks!

message 19: by James (last edited Dec 02, 2011 01:52PM) (new)

James King | 38 comments Hi Donna. I hope you're enjoying the book so far. Thank you for your comment about the characters. I prefer character-driven fiction to plot-driven fiction, so I'm glad to hear that you're finding the characters interesting.

Bill Warrington's personality (and only his personality) is based on an old neighbor of mine, now deceased. He was a cranky, proud, New England Yankee-type who, beneath the gruff exterior, was a very likeable guy. One quick example: One day I was at his house because I hadn't seen him in a while and wanted to check on him. He wasn't doing so well, and I took him to the hospital. In the hospital, I said to him, "Please let me help you more often. I want to be a good neighbor." His response: "You are a good neighbor. You mind your own damned business." How can you not write about someone like that?

I have no idea where the rest of the characters came from. I knew I wanted to write about a family, so I gave him a few kids. They kind of took on their own personalities as I wrote. The character who surprised me most was April. She just kind of showed up one morning and demanded to not only be in the story, but to play a major role in it. (I know that sounds goofy, but that's how it happened. Morning. Blank screen. And suddenly, there was April.) The gods were very good to me that day, because April is probably the most-liked character in the book.

Creating characters is a mysterious process. I really wish I could explain it, because if I could explain how to do it and do it well, I could repeat it. And if I could repeat it, I'd be finished with my current novel-in-progress!

Thanks again, Donna.

message 20: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnasafford) James wrote: "Hi Donna. I hope you're enjoying the book so far. Thank you for your comment about the characters. I prefer character-driven fiction to plot-driven fiction, so I'm glad to hear that you're finding ..."

Great answer. Thank you. It is easy to believe April just showed up one day. It matches her character. And, yes, I am enjoying the book. =)

message 21: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (CassieWinters) My teacher this semester has mentioned Anne Lamont several times and that exact book. With you mentioning it I think I am going to need to pick up a copy of it. That perfectly answered my question. I tend to be in the other camp when I am writing a non-fiction piece because part of my unique voice is lost in revision, but when writing fiction I always revise. Thank you for the great answer. I greatly appreciate it.

message 22: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Eric, "Bird by Bird" is a great addition to any writer's bookshelf. Definitely worth picking up. And again, it's Anne Lamott, not Lamont. See? I should have edited/revised my original response before hitting the send button. :)

message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (sarahhonenberger) | 20 comments James wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Would love to hear what you were asked on panel at NCTE conference."

Hi Sarah, and thanks for your question. For anyone reading who is not familiar with the NCTE acronym, it stands f..."

James: Here's the question I wish they asked authors like you and me who've written books that both adults and young adults are enjoying. With today's hype on YA, I wonder how true the writing can be if an author sits down with the intent to write a book for young adults as oppposed to simply telling a story? Don't characters have their own voices? Should an author manipulate the language and the 'voice' to suit a grade level??

message 24: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Sarah, this issue was actually addressed in the panel discussion at NCTE. One of my fellow panelists was pointing out the fact that authors, if their goal is to have their book become part of a school reading curriculum, have to be aware that certain words--most notably the F-word--can knock them out of contention in many, many school districts across the country.

The panelist is a staunch opponent of censorship and was not advocating that authors censor themselves. He was simply pointing out the reality of how certain school districts make their decisions.

Certainly if an author's intent is to write for a particular age group, he or she has to keep in mind the parameters of what works (sells and gets read) and what doesn't. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. In fact, it's the smart, professional thing to do.

But I, personally, don't write that way--and it sounds like you don't, either. The characters do, indeed, have their own voices, and when I try to stifle those voices, they sound, as a character in your "Catcher, Caught" might say, "phony." Other people, thank goodness, pull it off very successfully, creating realistic and memorable characters.

I never really thought of my book as appealing to the YA market until a librarian at a reading of mine said BWLC makes for a great "crossover" book. I was surprised and delighted--especially since there is a liberal sprinkling of F-words, and more, throughout.

message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (sarahhonenberger) | 20 comments Very well said. Don't you love that word, 'crossover.' And you have the teenage granddaughter too.
The language 'issue' is more pronounced with middle grade writing where authors simplify sentence structure, etc. and concepts as well as book length, chapter headings, etc. I didn't realize that they were still censuring for a carefully placed "curse" word or two. When I first read to my critique group a portion of CC where Daniel uses the f-word, they cheered, said it was a major breakthrough for me, not a word I use myself, but a 16 year old with leukemia is angry enough to use it in certain situations. Profanity, like dialect, can be used sparingly and still make the point. From what I read of your novel in the ABNA your writing is subtle and characterization is tantamount. Thanks for taking the time to answer so fully.

message 26: by James (last edited Dec 03, 2011 06:20PM) (new)

James King | 38 comments Sarah, I loved your comment about being cheered for using the f-word. When my kids read my manuscript and read the language and a few of the scenes, they asked, "Where did THAT come from?" My tennis partner asked me if it was uncomfortable to write all those swear words, since he'd never heard me curse. I explained that the characters were responsible, not me. (And on the court, I always cuss under my breath.)

message 27: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnasafford) Here is my next question/observation, Jim. How much time did you spend researching memory loss situations like Alzheimer's and Dementia? I find Bill's moments of slipping or loss to be extremely poignant and sad. They have even brought tears to my eyes because they mirror real life. Here are a few examples: pgs. 147 - 149 (so many memories all put together so quickly); the pit stop at the gas station; and the roller coaster story. With the story, he seemed to go for a while then had to stop, whether to catch his breath or his memory is unclear, but it is so well written. These sections have brought back memories of those I have known with Alzheimer's or Dementia, and the struggles they went through. Again, well-done!

message 28: by Julia (new)

Julia Gallagher (juliagallagher) | 3 comments Hi Jim! Thanks so much for being here! I received my book this week and I've been able to finish it this weekend. I found it to be an interesting read, particularly as I lost my own dad to Alzheimer's and I now work specifically with older adults, many of whom have dementia. Like Donna, I'd like to ask about your own experiences with dementia and how you did the research for the character of Bill.

One thing that I see over and over again, is that the frustration is very internalized in those with early dementia. They know they're losing cognition/memory, and so they try to compensate by writing notes to themselves, etc. It's a very internal struggle. As the person progresses into mid-to-later stage dementia, it becomes a much more external frustration for the family. I think that is generally how you portrayed the situation in your book as well.

While on one hand, it surprised me that Bill's children couldn't immediately see some overt symptoms of dementia (forgetting names, the mess in his house, etc), I see it happen in real life quite often. Sometimes it's a lack of insight, but I think there's often a level of denial (this happened with my own mother).

Thanks again for being here! Looking forward to more discussion as everyone finishes the book!

message 29: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Thank you, Donna and Julia, for your kind comments about the book. You both asked about researching dementia, so here's my confession: I did not do a lot of research. (There. I said it.)

That doesn't mean, of course, that I didn't do ANY research. I did spend time online investigating the symptoms of dementia. I was particularly interested in how slowly or quickly various forms of dementia take control, as the timeline for my story required a rather rapid descent. But in terms of actual research, I didn't spend days and weeks as some writers (admirably) do before they start writing. My approach was to take some of the symptoms and then put myself in Bill's shoes. What would it be like, for instance, to be in a gas station restroom in the middle of nowhere, look into the mirror, and have no idea where you are and what you're doing... and even who or what awaits past that bathroom door! It was one of the most challenging aspects of writing the book. I'm thrilled when people tell me that I pulled it off. One reader told me that she didn't believe no one in my family suffered from Alzheimer's. She stopped just short of calling me a liar. It was one of the highest compliments I've received.

Julia, let me comment on your observation about Bill's children not seeing--more quickly--what was going on with their father. You're absolutely spot-on about the power of denial. I also wanted to to show how anger, misunderstanding, and denial can get in the way of seeing "a thing" for what it is. It colors our perceptions... and our actions and reactions.

You know what? I'm really enjoying these comments and questions. Keep 'em coming! It so nice to meet you all.

message 30: by Mike (new)

Mike Wood Hey Jim, LOVED the book and highly recommend it every chance I get, and was wondering about the possibility of a movie. I seem to remember reading somewhere that a deal was in the works, but it could just be wishful thinking. Any info you'd care to share?

message 31: by James (last edited Dec 04, 2011 07:25PM) (new)

James King | 38 comments Hi Mike. Yes, the book has been optioned for film by Josephson Entertainment. This was something I hadn't really thought about or expected, so it was pretty thrilling to get "the call." I'm learning that these things take time, so I don't have any real news other than the (very exciting) fact that it's been optioned. (And it's fun to fantasize about which Hollywood star will play who...)

message 32: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Wilkins | 38 comments Hi Jim. Thank you so much for participating in this discussion! I've just started the book, but wanted to ask you about "dating" the book and whether it was a conscious decision to reference current things like iPods and Nick at Night, putting the book clearly in the 2010-ish timeframe. Yet, Bill worries about paying long distance charges, which seems more 90's to me. Was that just to make him seem old/miserly?

message 33: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (pistaco) | 2 comments Hi Jim: I'm happy to hear you book has been optioned. I recall the story you wrote, which was the start of this novel. What happened with the story? Also, reading these posts reminded me I wanted to pass your book onto my 15-year-old daughter, who bugs me constantly to take her to the school parking lot to practice driving and who I think would enjoy April. What are you working on now?

message 34: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Hi Lynn: Thanks for this question and for your very nice shout-out on FB. The story you're referring to lies peacefully at the bottom of a drawer that contains my many other oft-rejected short stories and poems. It will remain there. It wasn't a very good story, but it did serve as the spark for Bill Warrrington, so I'm grateful to it.

I'm currently in the middle of revisions of another novel. It's another family-focused drama. I'd tell you more, but whenever I talk about a work-in-progress, for some reason it distracts me from it and makes it harder for me to return to it. I know that sounds strange, and I'm not sure why talking about it has that effect on me. Another writer idiosyncrasy, I suppose. In any event, I hope to finish a "submittable" draft within the next few months.

Thanks for stopping by and for the questions, Lynn. I see from your note that your daughter is now the same age April was when she and her grandfather took off for California. Careful!

message 35: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnasafford) James wrote: "Hi Mike. Yes, the book has been optioned for film by Josephson Entertainment. This was something I hadn't really thought about or expected, so it was pretty thrilling to get "the call." I'm learnin..."

Awesome! I think it will make a wonderful movie, and maybe help people understand what happens through the process of Alzheimer's or dementia.

message 36: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Donna wrote: "James wrote: "Hi Mike. Yes, the book has been optioned for film by Josephson Entertainment. This was something I hadn't really thought about or expected, so it was pretty thrilling to get "the call..."
Hope so, Donna. The whole thing still seems kind of unreal to me.

message 37: by Julia (new)

Julia Gallagher (juliagallagher) | 3 comments That's great that the book has been optioned! I think the story would translate well to a movie, and I'm always in support of dementia awareness - such a difficult disease that affects so many, but we don't talk about it like we talk about other many other disease processes.

Jim, I wanted to ask about your revolving narrator. I really enjoy reading books written in this fashion, and I wondered if it was challenging to write. Did you write in the general order that the book is structured in, or did you write one character at a time?

message 38: by James (last edited Dec 05, 2011 11:09AM) (new)

James King | 38 comments Julie, your question reminds me of the advice I received from a writing teacher many years ago. "Don't write from more than one or two different perspectives," he told me. "It'll confuse the reader." So what did I do with BWLC? I wrote from five different perspectives.

I'm not quite sure why I decided to tell the story this way. It must have had something to do with the fact that I wanted to underscore the importance of walking a mile in someone's shoes before judging, blah blah blah. Whatever the reason, I certainly enjoyed the process. It was fun getting inside the heads of five different characters and trying to create five distinctly different personalities and voices.

I wrote the book in the general order it is now vs. writing each person separately and then interspersing them. The way it worked was I'd be writing and, at the end of each chapter, would say to myself, "I wonder what Nick would say about that," or "Haven't heard from that rapscallion Mike in awhile... let's see what he's up to." I also helped keep me... and the reader, I hope... from getting bored or overly irritated with one character.

message 39: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (sarahhonenberger) | 20 comments Congrats on selling the option, that's an accomplishment in itself. When they optioned my screenplay of my first novel WHITE LIES, I tried to be ever so practical, having heard from other authors about the vagaries of movie-making. Still it was disappointing when the lawyers bogged down in the contractual language with the actress they wanted to play Lacy, and the movie deal fell through. Nothing the writer can do, but I hope yours gets made.

message 40: by James (last edited Dec 05, 2011 01:27PM) (new)

James King | 38 comments I know what you mean, Sarah. I'm trying to take the same practical approach. If it happens, great. If not... c'est la vie.

message 41: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Leslie wrote: "Hi Jim. Thank you so much for participating in this discussion! I've just started the book, but wanted to ask you about "dating" the book and whether it was a conscious decision to reference curren..."

Oh my gosh, Leslie, I just saw your question! I don't know how it got by me. Sorry about that.

Interesting question about dating the book. I actually tried to avoid it for awhile for fear that by dating it I was building in a sort of "manufactured obsolescence." But to make the story and characters feel more "real," I needed to get more specific about things like the year and make of Bill's car, which war he had fought in, and realistic ages of his kids and grandkids. And I wasn't entirely successful at all that in my submitted manuscript. My editor pointed out a number of inconsistencies that, had they been left in the book, would have been most embarrassing.

Nice catch on Bill's objection to long distance. It is certainly less of a concern today with the various plans and cable service, etc. But Bill was old school, which is what I wanted to demonstrate via his reaction to staying on the phone with his son--even though it had been a while since they'd last spoken.

Thanks again for the question, Leslie, and sorry for the delayed response.

message 42: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Wilkins | 38 comments Thanks for the great response. And no need to apologize - it's great that you give such special and individual treatment to all of the questions and comments!

message 43: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 10 comments I really loved this book and am thankful you are here to discuss it with all of us. Each of the characters was so different, yet I could really see them in my head. So I think you did a tremendous job of that. I also appreciate the fact that Bill suffers from Dementia. I don't think there are very many fiction books that address this issue, yet there are a lot of people suffering through it. I've recently been dealing with this with my Mom, who declined after a stroke 20 years ago, and then after another stroke last spring had to be moved into assisted living. Maybe I loved this book because it was so timely for me, after just having gone through all of this. And the thoughts of the house being a mess, and not knowing where he(Bill) was, and sometimes being nasty with people, all of that really does happen.

I love the way April responded to Bill, not as just some callous teenager. And boy, oh, boy, Marcy. Sometimes it's nice to hate a character. Ha.

Thank you again for being here. I don't have a question. Just wanted to let you know you are very talented & I look forward to your next book!


message 44: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments What a nice way to start the day! Thank you for your comment, Dre. What I've learned from readers is just how widespread this cruel disease is. My heart goes out to people, like you, who must deal with the practical and emotional aspects of caring for someone they love suffering from it. My best to you and your mother.

message 45: by Sydney (new)

Sydney I just finished the novel and really, really enjoyed it. My favorite thing about it was the character development. In my opinion, well-defined characters make the plot so much easier to follow. You mentioned in an earlier post that Bill was inspired by a neighbor. Were any of your other characters based on anyone in particular? Did you incorporate parts of characters from people or situations in your everyday life? I have to admit that I was not a fan of April at the beginning, but if I'm honest with myself, I was probably a lot like her as a teenager! And I find myself wondering what happened to all of them.... does Marcy go on to be realtor of the year? Does Nick find a nice girl? Does Mike learn how to be a real husband? So, thank you for creating such wonderful characters that are human and identifiable.

message 46: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Hi Sydney,and thank you for your nice comments. I love hearing that people enjoyed the characters... and not always because the characters were "likeable." I think that unlikeable characters can be interesting--in fact, they'd better be!

Other than Bill, whose personality was inspired by a neighbor, the characters were pretty much made up. (You don't think I would name someone who served as a model for Mike, do you? :)) Your observation about April is exactly how I feel about most of the characters I create: There's a little bit of me in all of them.

I also am glad that the book left you wondering what will eventually come of each of the Warringtons. That's a much preferred reaction to, "I've had enough of those characters. Next!"

Thanks again, Sydney.

message 47: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnasafford) Jim, I was wondering if it was hard to end your novel where you did. I also imagined what happened to the characters and wanted a little more. Was it hard to say good-bye for now?

message 48: by James (new)

James King | 38 comments Hey, Donna. Beginnings and endings are hard. With beginnings, the challenge is to make it compelling. With endings, the challenge is to make it "right."

When I thought I had finished BWLC, it didn't feel right. But I'm not talking about the final scene. When I wrote the final scene as part of the very first draft, I knew that it was exactly how I wanted to end the book. But something nagged at me, told me the story wasn't complete, wasn't right. It wasn't until I went back into the story and inserted a scene (the scene in the car after Chicago) that I felt "right" about the ending. Does that make sense? When I think of finishing a book, I try for the same feeling I get when I finish an excellent novel. I like to close the book, look at the cover, nod my head, and say, "Yes."

Even though I spent several years with Warringtons, saying good-bye was not all that difficult. I guess that's because I felt a mixture of profound relief... and an eagerness to share their story with others.

message 49: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnasafford) James wrote: "Hey, Donna. Beginnings and endings are hard. With beginnings, the challenge is to make it compelling. With endings, the challenge is to make it "right."

When I thought I had finished BWLC, it didn..."

Yes, it all makes sense. It is like getting the recipe just right. =)

message 50: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10034 comments Mod

If Bill Warrington were to come out as a movie, who would you cast to play Bill and April?

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