Today’s Q. & A. is part of another blog tour with Novel Publicity and debuting author dk LeVick. Below he’s given some great responses about his writing and his fantastic first novel, a young adult, historical multicultural contemporary story called Bridges a Tale of Niagara.
When a faded picture sets in motion a perilous journey for five young men, they not only encounter harrowing adventure in the forbidden Niagara Gorge, but are forced to confront the swirling illusions of the world they knew changing their lives forever.
‘Bridges’ brings together a series of historical events, in a twist of mystery and revelation with a group of 1962 teenagers caught up in the complexities of a changing world around them, exploring the questions of all peoples of all times.
Bridges a Tale of Niagara was a great story interweaving fact and fiction. With a Stand by Me kind of feel, I was pulled right in and was excited and nervous (!) to see what the boys were going to do. I really enjoyed how the history of the falls was woven into the tale as Ol’ Gordy reminisced about the pictures on his wall. It was a clever way to work in some of the fascinating tales that go along with the majestic falls. I think this book will appeal too many of all ages. Adults can look back at their own youthful adventures and younger readers can fantasize about making the trip with the boys.
Q) Is Bridges a tale of Niagara your first book?
It’s my first novel and first published work. I’ve written some short stories and novellas but did not publish them.
Q) What prompted you to write Bridges?
Wanting to write about people who feel their life is unimportant and they live in a time when everything has already been done and invented. Of course that’s not the case and this is not truer than in the 1960’s when everything in America was turned upside down and technology literally took off like a rocket ship.
For that particular story – the ‘picture’ itself brought all this to focus. It’s one I seen in an antique shop almost 40 years ago and it started me thinking about it. A combination of a Niagara few people know about coupled with the decade of the ’60’s which was the best and worse times of America. A decade when America was at its prime and its base. When young people thought everything had been done and there was nothing left for them to do, yet, next to the revolutionary era itself, it was the most revolutionary decade in American history.
Q) This book has stories intertwined within the main plot. How much of the stories Ol’ Gordy told is fact and how much is fiction?
Ol’ Gordy’s stories are all based on actual fact and events. The ice-bridges, the power company collapse, the Honeymoon bridge collapse, the whiskey runners – all true.
Each of the four stories in the novel are based on real historical events but is fiction built around them. There was a ‘hermit of Niagara’, but the clarinet and reason for his isolation was fiction. The water did stop in 1848, but Henry and Sam came from the space between my ears. There was an underground railroad and Pontiac’s war, but the characters portrayed were fiction.
Q) What preparation did you do prior to writing? Due to the history woven in, I’d guess some research was called for or were they stories you had heard your whole life being that you grew up in the area?
Lots and lots of research went into the novel. I am physically very aware of the Falls and the Gorge, but the stories I wasn’t. People there don’t know their own history as much as we’d like to think they do. But there is a large contingent of ‘history nuts’ who know a great deal of Niagara history, so I took a lot of time to research the events surrounding the stories to make them as historically accurate as I could. In fact most of the ‘editing’ and revising I did to get the novel down from over 100000 words to just over 80000 was cutting out detail.
Q) Your characters are very diverse, ranging in race and differing socio-economic statuses. What prompted you to bring them together as a group?
For one thing, that’s the way I grew up, in a diverse, mixed part of Buffalo, so it was natural for me. Secondly, I wanted to tie the themes of the historical stories into the main characters and that was to include their nationalities and backgrounds. For example, I love the paradox of Lennie and Kevin standing looking at the railroad bridge not knowing that it was their own ancestors together working together over a hundred years earlier that gave Lennie his freedom, only the reader knows.
Q) Does Ol’ Gordy’s shop with its wall of photos really exist?
No. There’s a number of shops and businesses in Niagara that have pictures of the old days up, but Marty’s was a fabrication of life as I recall it in 1962.
Q) How would you describe Bridges a tale of Niagara to a non-reader to entice them to pick it up?
I wish I knew the answer to that so I could do it. ‘Bridges’ is a tale of camaraderie and historical fact, weaved together in a unique fashion, with a twist of mystery and revelation involving a group of 1962 teenagers caught up in the complexities of a changing world around them. A faded picture from a by-gone era sets in motion a perilous quest; five young men not only encounter harrowing danger in the forbidden, historical laden Niagara Gorge, but confront the swirling illusions of the world they knew – changing their lives forever. Interwoven are four stories from Niagara’s past that are stand alone yet have tentacles into the group in 1962. It’s a story of adventure and seeing the world from a much wider and deeper view than what is immediately within our grasp.
Q) What do you hope readers will take away with them once they’ve finished Bridges?
First and foremost is a good read. If that is achieved then it’s successful. Second, nothing is new in human history. Technology changes, transportation changes, all facets of living change – but people are the same today as they were thousands of years ago. The same drives, needs, fears and wants. “Bridges” attempted to show.
Q) Who or what are your writing influences?
I’m old fashioned so my influences were Somerset Maugham, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Trotsky and the other great writers. Today I follow many writers and am influenced by some – Ken Follett writes in a style I find myself also in. As far as personal influence, until recently it’s been a singular drive without influence and has been private.
Q) What can we expect from you next? Are there any other projects we can look for?
Absolutely! I’ve written some short stories recently that I’m preparing for publication soon and I’m working on my next novel. I’m fortunate and blessed that my ‘flame’ didn’t go out over the years and was able to be turned up, so as long as there’s breath in my body, words in my mind and feelings in my heart, I’ll find the means to write and hopefully, someone will want to read it.
Q) How can fans follow and contact you?
I have a blog: http://dklevick.wordpress.com/ where I post at least every Thursday. MY posts are a combination of text and visual and I post a lot about Niagara and the history of it which readers will enjoy and find interesting.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with email, I’m on Twitter dk_levick and welcome followers and in addition I have a Facebook author’s page “Bridges – dk Levick” which I welcome folks to “Like”.
Q) Lastly, just for fun, if they were making a movie based on your writing journey, what would they call it and who would they cast to play you?
They would call it “The Bucket List II” and cast the Dali Lama
Please vote for my blog, Keystrokes & Word Counts, in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Bridges blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.
You can win a free paperback copy of Bridges: A Tale of Niagara by entering your name and email address on its official blog tour page. The winner of the give-away will be announced on Wednesday, June 29 – be sure to enter before then!