Saturday, January 7, 2017

Savvy Saturday: Interview with Bob Bickford

This week on Savvy Saturday we have the author of this month’s new release, Caves in the Rain. Let’s give a warm welcome to Bob Bickford!

Hello Bob! It’s lovely to see you here.

Thank you for having me.

Tell us a little bit about yourself Bob.

I’ve loved reading and writing since I was very small. I don’t think I’ve ever gone anywhere without a book. When I was eleven, I wrote a short story for school--something sad. My mother read it at the kitchen table, just as a matter of homework-checking, since I tended to not do mine. I remember the shock of watching her read and realizing that she was crying. The power of that--something I had written making her cry--was unforgettable.

I didn’t like school, though, and I barely scraped out a high school diploma. I always thought that being a novelist, a Raymond Chandler or a John D. Macdonald, would be the ultimate high, but that doesn’t often get done without an education. I read my way through adulthood, vaguely wishing I could write the kind of books I read. At an age when sea changes shouldn’t happen, someone asked me, “If you could have been anything, what would it have been?” I let the question bother me for a year before I bought a new laptop with Word installed, took a deep breath, and wrote “Chapter One”. Eight months later, I wrote “The End”, and didn’t know what to do afterward. So I wrote “Chapter One”, again, and started another one.

I think I’ve learned a lot over the course of five novels, most importantly that it’s never too late for anything. Except for typing. I still use two fingers, and expect I always will.

We hear you’ve lived in a lot of places. What was your favorite?

They’re all my favorite.

I’ve been lucky. I was born in Southern California, and have spent a lot of my years there. I lived for a time in Atlanta, Georgia. I also did a lot of my growing-up years in Canada, and that’s where I live now.

There are such differences in climate and terrain and culture in the world. I love the cool, cosmopolitan atmosphere of Toronto, which is such a melting pot that tolerance is a basic staple. I love the charm and sense of history in the Deep South. California, the ocean, desert and mountains, will always be my home in a very primal sense.

All of my books have depended heavily on geographical place: not just the particular sounds and smells of an area, but the way a place exerts itself on people and events. Trees, rocks, streets, and bridges play a huge role in everything I write. And water--perhaps water, most of all.

Tell your loyal readers a little bit about Caves in the Rain.

It’s really a story about love and loss, wrapped up in a thriller. Mike Latta is a fairly ordinary guy who thinks he’s lost everything. A wife, daughter, and an expected suburban success story are all taken away by the kind of freak accident that could happen to anyone. The bottle gets him by for a little while, until it turns on him and bites. Running away to a remote island to sort things out seems like his last chance.

The trouble is, running away might be just another way of giving up…until he runs into a psychopath, and has to figure out if he if he can scratch up enough goodness to stand up to him. There’s always more to lose, even when you think you’ve lost it all.

There’s also a healthy dose of romance. It often drives my stories, the way it often drives life.

Where did you get the inspiration for this book?

The book had its genesis in Echo Island, a real place in the Kawartha Lakes area in Canada. It’s a small lump of forested rock in the middle of a very big lake, with one ancient cottage built on it. The place has long history, and (as far as I’m concerned) is deeply haunted. I wouldn’t spend a night alone there for anything in the world. I knew I had to tell stories about it, but the challenge was to unfold something in a quiet, isolated place where nothing much ever happens. It’s completely secluded; it’s virtually inaccessible in the winter, and only sees humans for a few weekends during the summer.

What are your hopes for your readers as they follow Mike through this mystery?

That’s a complicated question for me, one that probably goes back to my mother reading my story at the kitchen table and crying. I’m humbled that people read what I write in the first place, and I’m enchanted that if everything works just right, they’ll have a movie playing in their head. It’s magic.

Reading is done best all alone, and the author should know better than to interrupt. Nobody likes people who give audible movie commentaries two rows back.

Magic is almost always fragile, and I think any writer who expects to control it will fail. It’s fascinating that the same character one person adores, another reader will detest. Someone once insisted that one of my characters had bright red hair. I had never written that, or even imagined her that way, but it was vivid in the reader’s mind. I love the individuality of experience in a book’s pages, and I think a good writer tries to bring that to life without trampling on the magic.

So…I hope my readers see a good movie in their minds. I hope there’s lots of ice in the Coke and butter on the popcorn, but I won’t be there. If they want to, they can come tell me about it later.

Bob, that is all the time we have today, but thank you for being here! It was really great getting to hear your unique perspectives on storytelling.

Thank you for having me.

Don't forget to check out Caves in the Rain for yourself. We think you'll love it!

Caves In The Rain
By Bob Bickford
Paranormal Mystery/Thriller
Champagne Books:

Mike Latta can’t forgive himself for the death of his daughter. It was a freak accident, but fathers should protect little girls from the bad things that can hurt them. He didn’t, and a descent into divorce and the bottle has gotten rid of every happy ending he ever hoped for.

A year of solitude on an island in northern Hollow Lake, away from the booze and the reminders of grief, may be the last chance he has. There’s more than peace and quiet on the lake though, because the ghosts of a long-ago murder haunt Echo Island. If Mike can’t figure out what the ghosts want from him, it may cost another little girl her life.

1 comment:

  1. The books sounds incredible and definitely my kind of read! I'm a Canadian girl myself.