NEW BOOK From the author of DROWNING – winner of the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama and #1 Amazon bestseller.
“THE DEER EFFECT is a story of loss, redemption and forgiveness.”
Hi Susan, thank you for answering my questions! So let’s begin the interview!
- What inspired you to write your new book?
It’s funny you should ask. I just wrote a post about it on my blog, WRITING FROM THE COUCH. This is what happened. It was a chilly fall morning and I decided to take my dog, Robert for a walk. Were my husband and I fighting? I really cannot remember but what happened spurred on the story. Robert and I turned a corner and saw a downed deer. She had been hit by a car near another turn a ways down. She was long dead by the time we got there. Thank God. But I bent down to touch her. To somehow soothe the incident if that were at all possible. I placed my thumb on her forehead and softly rubbed the sign of the cross on her. It was so sad. She may have been one of my deer. I feed them. They come, all seventeen or so, each morning for oats, corn and barley and to loll about in our pasture out back.
It was while I bent to console her that I thought, Robert and I could get hit by a car too if we don’t get off the road.
Anyway, the story flooded my every thought and before I knew it, I’d written THE DEER EFFECT.
- File Size: 851 KB
- Print Length: 194 pages
- Publisher: Eye of the Needle Press (November 5, 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00MRPKZ2O
- How did you come up with the title & who designed the covers?
I came up with the title for THE DEER EFFECT and gave images to the graphic artist and she came up with the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? I think it lends a sense of mystery and is quite evocative.
- How much of the book is realistic?
Well, one of the main characters – Bobby is fashioned after my little Westie, Robert. And the scene where Hannah and Bobby find the fawn dead on the side of the road is from the actual event I described above. Everything else is fiction.
- What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Not crying while I was writing. Many scenes are heartbreaking and as an emotional person, writing the story through tears was difficult. Plus, I had to stop so much to keep getting tissue to blow my nose! LOL. But it’s true. This story is what I would describe as tender and it should be since a good part of the story is about loss and grief.
- What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I had to call some local law enforcement agencies and getting them to open up is never easy. Once they know you’re light though they will pretty much give you whatever information they can.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything that was too difficult. I didn’t have to research deer because we have a small herd of seventeen who come everyday for corn, oats and barley. I feed them and go out walking about through them. It’s awesome to be that close to antlered bucks and pregnant does who are supposed to be aggressive because of mating but in fact are tender and serene. I love my deer.
As for relationship research and psychological aspects of THE DEER EFFECT, the hardest part was to envision not being around for my pets. In the very first scene, Hannah is killed while taking her dog, Bobby for a walk. Bobby lives but can still sense her presence. He still feels her with him but cannot spot her. These are moments of anguish not only for the dog but for me while I was writing the scenes.
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Always. I can’t imagine writing a story where readers won’t learn something from my heart.
The logline is “…between Heaven and earth lies The Deer Effect…”
I think the logline gives a mysterious quality to our existence here on Earth. But I go further with the question: How would you feel if the last words you spoke to a loved one were cruel words?
This goes to the heart of the story. How we treat people we love.
In part. Yes. I had a girlfriend way back about 25 years ago who had a fight with her husband and he left angry for the store. He was killed in an automobile accident. Wrapped his car around a telephone pole and was killed instantly. I remember how morose she was because of their last fight.
That event has stayed with me for a long time, informing me. And, honestly, I can’t imagine the horrible irrevocably of such a final conversation. It’s too sad to comprehend.
- If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
I don’t write from an outline any more. I used to and I can say that those books I could go back and tweak plot and change circumstances for the character. However, with THE DEER EFFECT it came so naturally, so honestly that to change anything would make it false. I don’t think I would change a thing in this story.
- Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d love to. This is the scene where Hannah and Bobby find the downed deer.
Though blue skies played peek-a-boo behind a bank of scudding billowy clouds, the air felt moist. Bobby stopped and shook his coat out hard. A halo of silvery mist jettisoned off him in all directions. And when he stopped, he didn’t continue forward but, instead, he dug in his feet, anchoring himself to the ground.
I walked past, assuming he’d catch up.
When he didn’t, I had to stop.
“Come on.” I pumped my arm at the words. But he wouldn’t move. His snout remained forward, popping up, sniffing the air. The hum of the motorcycle engines seemed to be growing louder but I figured it was my mind still playing tricks on me.
But, Bobby remained frozen. Locked his legs and wouldn’t budge.
“Come on.” Still he refused. I pulled harder at his leash. “Come on, Bobby. Now.”
Then he bolted, jarring my arm forward with him.
“Bobby. Good Lord. Stop!”
I finally got close enough to make him stop and see what he had seen, to smell what he had smelled. Bobby continued to pull hard.
My focus locked onto the object.
It was still breathing.
Mist around its nose formed delicate clouds of rapid fire vapor.
I didn’t feel my legs jump into a lope but there I was, there we were, running toward a deer that had been hit.
Nearing it, I saw it was no more than six months old, with fading spots in a series of lines on its side.
Someone had hit a fawn.
Those bastards. The motorcyclists, when the engines cut.
As I got closer, it struggled to get up. As if it had fallen on ice it flailed.
The jagged formation of its hip told me they’d busted its spine.
The energy the fawn expended dealt its final blow. The animal fell back, resting its head, straining to breathe. Seeming to understand its fate.
Blood pooled out from under the fawn, forming a widening circle. I put my hands onto the ground, then my elbows, trying to form a boom around it, as though surrounding the blood, capturing its outflow would help.
“Oh. God. Please. No.”
Garnet continued to flow from somewhere near its head.
The fawn tried to scramble up one last time. It bayed like a calf, making a sound like “maa,” and settled its head onto the ground.
Her breathing sounded raspy. The distinct smell of fired iron filled the air as blood continued to leach out of her body. The baby deer was going to die. There was no turning this around.
My heart cramped at the knowledge.
I believe it was then I should have heard the engines gunning too close but nothing else mattered except for this dying fawn. My eyes, my heart, my soul, my total energy was riveted by this animal.
Half on, half off the road, head slumped into the ditch, her eyes began glazing over, fast.
Bobby ran into the street next to the fawn. I pointed and yelled to him to move off the road and to go down into the ditch where he stood with his face toward hers. He whiffled his snout around hers and then, once, licked her. Gently.
She continued to pant but more quietly now.
I laid my hand on her.
“Oh baby,” I said.
That’s when it happened. A flash, blazing around the corner. The same two bikers. Startling me once again back to the world around me, the world outside this small dying deer, to the living world.
But I didn’t react fast enough.
My hands flew off the fawn as if surrendering.
The pain came next.
My head flipped back as a handlebar cracked me square in the forehead. Behind it, the second motorcycle appeared, landing a death blow to the fawn. The bike bumped up onto my pelvis and over my chest, crushing my ribcage and snapping my neck as it rolled on and off and over my head.
When my neck broke, it spun my head to the right, toward the deer. My hand fell limp landing over the fawn’s spots, across its rib cage.
Our eyes locked.
bobby go home.
It was no more than a thought, but perhaps I spoke the words to him. I couldn’t tell from the noise of the fleeing motorcycles.
After that, all my energy seemed connected to the deer lying next to me. And, as our stayed eyes connected, its breathing slowed with mine.
Hazy clouds of fog ghosting from our mouths slackened, then dissipated, and, finally came to a stop.
So, I hope that gives you a little idea of where the story ends and where it will go. Thank you, Meglena! Your questions are great. They go to the core of the story.
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. I appreciate it.
- Website: www.susanwingate.com
- You can find THE DEER EFFECT on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/1usmKKm
- Blog: http://susanwingate.wordpress.com/writing-quirk-fiction-from-the-couch-with-susan-wingate/
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/susanwingate
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