Publisher: Anthonyann Books
Publish Date: November 2012
Order Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: In the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, during the 1980's, Jason Lee Rainey struggles to find his way amongst the old, steadfast Southern attitudes about race, while his friendship with a black boy, Samson Johnson, deepens.
By way of stories from others, Jason Lee learns about his larger-than-life father, who was killed in Vietnam. He longs to become that sort of man, but doesn't believe he has it in him.
In The Clock Of Life he learns lessons from the past, and the realities of inequality. He flourishes with the bond of friendship; endures the pain of senseless death; finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right; and comes to realize he is his father's son.
This story explores how two unsettling chapters in American history, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, affect the fate of a family, a town, and two boyhood friends.
Interview: Please tell us about your current release.
The Clock Of Life is about friendship, inequality, senseless death, and doing right for others, just because it’s right. It’s a coming-of-age, Southern tale set primarily in the 1980’s, with elements of the 60’s Civil Rights Movement, and the 70’s Vietnam War woven throughout. It’s a boy’s search to find himself and become the sort of man the father he never knew would be proud of. The journey is rife with hardships and lessons from the past.
How did writing this book affect you?
The idea of human inequality and how it comes to be has always been something I’m unable to understand, so the foundation of that aspect of the book was more emotional than cerebral. It felt good to express some of my feelings about civil rights and also the fiasco we call the Vietnam War.
Can you tell us about the journey which lead you to writing?
I started writing short stories while traveling for my work in advertising and marketing, as a creative outlet on long plane rides. I like the short story genre, with its economy of words. My stories tend to revolve around friendships, real or imagined. There’s a magical element to peeling layers and exploring the characters motives.
This novel, The Clock Of Life, began as a short story of about 4,000 words dealing with friendship, and also bigotry. One morning while in a workshop at The Santa Barbara Writers Conference, I read an excerpt. When I finished, the instructor, Sid Stebel, asked what I was doing for the next couple years, because, “What you have written isn’t a short story, it’s a novel.” Because of the weight of the subject matter, I took up the challenge.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Sitting my butt in the chair, and giving my writing a higher priority than, oh, everything else.
Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what kind of music?
No. I prefer silence when I write. I “see” the scenes in my head as if I were watching them play out, and hear the voices during the conversations. For me, music gets in the way of the process.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
It seems that the word "that" shows up all over the place. He knew that. . . I found that. . .Thank goodness that. . . My first chore when going back for a rewrite is to do a word search and take out 90% of the that’s.
Do you have any subsequent books?
Yes. Without giving away too much, the premise takes two women on a road trip. Their names are not Thelma and Louise, and there is no gun, but I think it will be just as memorable.
Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not)
About two weeks ago a strange little individual named Flat Stanley arrived in our mail box. We introduced him to binge drinking, bondage, tattoos, body piercings, and golf. Even though he wants to stay, we’re stuffing him back in the envelope. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu.
Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself.
I learned to handicap the ponies and take no prisoners at the poker table, from my bookie Grandpa. On my eleventh birthday Gramps took me to the track, where I ate my first pastrami sandwich and then picked the daily double, to win $657.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Readers hold the key to any writer’s heart. Readers are our raison d’etre, and I am particularly grateful to everyone who has expressed appreciation for my efforts.