Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway - Doug Magee - Never Wave Goodbye

I reviewed Doug Magee's debut thriller Never Wave Goodbye yesterday. Doug has a rich and varied background and I wondered how much of that was used in the writing of his novel. Doug responds....

"First Get The Facts

I’ve always enjoyed the quote attributed to Ben Franklin, “First get the facts, then distort them at your leisure.” I think it quite apt for most politicians, especially during campaigns, but recently I’ve been realizing it applies to writers of fiction as well. We who supposedly make up stories are often taking our own snapshots of the real world and, well, distorting them at our leisure.

In my own case I know how specifically this worked in my novel Never Wave Goodbye. The story is about a woman whose daughter and three other children have been kidnapped by a man pretending to be from the camp they were to attend. This idea, this hook, came to me a few years ago and then, when I sat down to write the novel, the question arose as to how to develop it, what to look at, whose part of the story to tell.

I made the decision to spend large parts of the book with the families of the kidnapped as they lived through the horror of not knowing what had happened to their children. I wanted to see that part of their experience that the media wouldn’t see, that perhaps their friends and neighbors wouldn’t see.

But I didn’t come to this decision arbitrarily. In 1980 I published a book of profiles of the families of murder victims (What Murder Leaves Behind) which was a look at the experiences of these survivors in the aftermath of the nightmare that had happened to them. In going around the country talking to families I found that many of our assumptions about their experience comes from inaccurate media portrayals, mainly news sources in which the survivors face a camera and say pretty much what the reporter wants them to say about their grief and anger. But back in their houses their experiences were quite different.

So when I wrote Never Wave Goodbye, I drew heavily on the interviews that I had gathered for the earlier book, trying to make the characters as real as possible, their responses to their tragedy as varied as I know they are in real life. But I also was aware that I was writing fiction and that characters in fiction need to be exaggerated in many cases in order to fix themselves in the reader’s mind. And so I followed Ben Franklin’s dictum and distorted at my leisure.

From reader’s responses I’ve had so far I think the strategy may have paid off in one regard. I’ve found a lot of people saying the novel makes them ask the question, What would I do if this happened to me? That makes me feel two things. First that I haven’t strayed too far from the “facts” to distance the reader from reality and secondly that I’ve distorted those facts in a way that allows the reader to keep involved in the story.

I didn’t do so but I probably should have added this line to the book’s acknowledgments. “Many thanks, Ben.”

Thanks so much Doug! Here's your chance to win a copy of Never Wave Goodbye for your summertime reading list. Simply comment to be entered - open to both Canada and the US, ends Sat. Aug 21 at 6 pm EST.

89 comments:

Linda said...

Great guest post. I've always known Ben Franklin said a lot of clever things, but had not heard this particular quote. It is wonderful and I plan to commit it to memory and use it when appropriate. And the book sounds incredible. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Marjorie said...

This is such an interesting storyline and I would really like to win and read this novel.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Indigo said...

I can't think of a more thrilling premise than a parents agony of losing a child. Thanks for the opportunity to read this. (Hugs)Indigo

ravensquietscreams@gmail.com

clenna said...

I can't wait to read this book. It sounds exciting and a page turner.

clenna at aol dot com

kjovus said...

I love the ben franklin qoute -it made me giggle.

This will be a scary read, a kidnapped child is my worst nightmare.
kjovus(at)gmail(dot)com

pinkflipflops said...

It definitely is a story that a lot of people (me included) get thinking about!
pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com

Kailia Sage said...

This book sounds really interesting!

twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

This one is on my wishlist. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks

forwhlz at gmail dot com

fredamans said...

This is on my wish list! Thank you for the chance!

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

Carol M said...

I would really like to read this one! Please enter me. Thank you!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

bermudaonion said...

After your great review yesterday, how can I not enter? Please throw my name in the hat. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

PoCoKat said...

Would love to win!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

a real librarian said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

Francine said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

fmd518(at)gmail(dot)com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, darling. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments and would love to win this one.
JOYE
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

a real librarian said...

Oh, I'd love this one! Thanks!!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

MJ said...

This sounds like a book I'd love at hate, all at the same time!

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

gcpeach17 said...

I very much enjoyed reading this guest post. And, I would love to read the book. Thanks, for entering me into this great giveaway.

gcpeach17 at aol dot com

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

I would love to read Never Wave Goodbye :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

Margie said...

Sounds like an exciting book. Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

nfmgirl said...

Sounds wonderful! Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Colleen Turner said...

Please enter me in this wonderful giveaway!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Melissa said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Lafittelady at gmail dot com

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

abfantom said...

This sounds like an interesting book that I'd like to read. Please enter me in the giveaway.

abfantom at yahoo dot com

Denise S. said...

This sounds great. Please enter me.
lazybones344 at gmail dot com

Sky Princess said...

Sounds great, please include me!

Sky Princess said...

Sounds great, please include me!

Mary said...

I so want to read this one.

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

elaine said...

Love thriller/suspence books-keep me reading til the wee hours!

Elaine R
emrosser@shaw.ca

Carole Spring said...

I enjoyed reading the comments from Doug Magee and also your review of Never Wave Goodbye. I would really like to read this book. Thank you for the chance
blondie_31971(at)yahoo(dot)com

shel772 said...

This definitely sounds like the kind of book that would be read in one gulp.

Mystica said...

I just read about this on another blog and thought it a fascinating though a bit nightmarish read. Dont count me in as I am overseas.

Phoenix said...

This sounds much more realistic & intelligent than a lot of what's available in this genre.

littlelatina said...

sounds like a good read

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Please include me.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

maria said...

Sounds like an interesting book!!

billiondollarprincesss@hotmail.com

wildcat32 said...

This sounds like the type of books I read.
monster6236 at gmail dot com

Nicole C. said...

I would love to read this book!

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

409cope said...

This sounds like my kind of book!cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

Sue said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Would love to read this book. Thank you for the giveaway.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

christa @ mental foodie said...

Sounds interesting! Thanks for the giveaway.

cytljjb @ gmail. com

holdenj said...

Please count me in, it looks interesting! Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Sky Princess said...

I think this sounds like a real page turner. Thanks for the giveaway!

Alicia said...

Would love to read this.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

bloggyig at gmail dot com

mindy said...

sounds fabulous thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

degood said...

I would love to read this book

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

Meredith said...

Please enter me! Sounds like an interesting read!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Vidisha said...

Great Giveaway!!
Please enter me
vidishamun@gmail.com

Ruthie said...

This would be a great pick for my book club. Please enter me, thanks.

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

Beth said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

bethsbookreviewblog2 AT gmail DOT com

ChristyJan said...

Please enter me

hawkes(at)citlink.net

k_sunshine1977 said...

i love these nail-biting premises....count me in!

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Benita said...

Please include me.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Dawn M. said...

These kind of stories scare the crap out of me but I read them anyway. I can't help it. Heh. Count me in, please!

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Marilu said...

This sounds like a great read. Please enter me. Thanks.

lovemykidsandbooks @ gmail . com

Bethie said...

Great guest post. Please count me in.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Lauri W said...

I'm always ready for a new mystery ! Sign me up and thanks for the giveaway !

lauriwilson(at)gmail(dot)com

Kerry said...

Sounds great! Please enter me.

ofabookworm AT gmail DOT com

justpeachy36 said...

Please enter me in the giveaway.

justpeachy36@yahoo.com

Aisling said...

I enjoyed the guest post very much. Doug seems to have had a lot of background material to write this book and it sounds like it will be quite good. I'd love to have a copy.

Melanie L said...

I would love to read this book. Please count me in. Thanks.
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

Becca said...

You find the best books to give away...thanks! sbcashortie at hotmail dot com

PeechieKeen said...

This sounds great!

kittenlover03@sbcglobal.net

Betty2222 said...

It sounds like a suspenseful book. I can't wait to win this.
corrineb201@hotmail.com

Rhonda said...

What a powerful book. I would like to read this

rhondastruthers atyahoo.ca

Jon_Lefkove said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

courtney haas said...

This book looks interesting & I haven't read a good book in awhile! Would love to win this :)

iheartjmac87@yahoo.com

K Spencer said...

Sounds like a great book to read.
kaspencer50@yahoo.com

Kathryn said...

Great giveaway! kzebrowski@gmail.com

Pamcakes said...

Sounds like a very interesting book. Would love to read this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
iii.141592653589793238462643383[at]gmail[dot]com

Sandy said...

This is my kind of story. I'd love to win.

SalanderServant said...

Sounds like an extraordinary read, thanks for the shot at it!

Renee G said...

Would love to read this.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOT)com

Deborah Wellenstein said...

Please accept my entry-thank you!

purango said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds very interesting. Thanks. garrettsambo@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Interesting guest post, would love to read this book. Thank you for the chance
Diane Baum
esldiane@gmail.com

susan1215 said...

Sounds like a good book

s2s2 at comcast dot net

esther said...

This book sounds really good!!

kathy pease said...

klp1965@myfairpoint.net
Thank you for the Great giveaway please count me in :)

Julia said...

Looks interesting!

juliabaxter at ihmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Happy Weekend!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

Heather said...

Gotta love Ben and his wisdom.
I have to say, this book sounds like it's going to make me cry. Ack!

Debs Desk said...

Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Debbie D
debdesk9(at)verizon.net

Nanci said...

I need a book to read to end the summer.