Author Dave A. Cleinman stopped by recently to discuss his novel, Toys In The Attic.
Tell us about your latest novel Toys In The Attic is the story of a teenage girl, Sara Stewart, whose mother dies of heart failure when she is just 14. She spends the next three years suffering horrible emotional and physical abuse by her father. When he has a severe mental breakdown, attacks and rapes her, she is forced to take his life in self-defense. Not long after, while recovering in the hospital, Sara discovers she is pregnant with her father’s child. The story follows her slow and steady recovery and the rebuilding of her life. She must learn to cope with horrible memories and teach herself to love a child who is an ever present reminder of that horrible day. It is a story about fighting for hope when despair is all that is available.
How did you come up with the title? Toys In The Attic is really a play on words. Part of it is Sara’s son Conner and his personal play space in the attic which comes into play at the denouement. More, it is about the personal attic space we all have upstairs (our minds). It is also a colloquial term referencing a person being somewhat crazy.
What genre is your book? I would call it mainstream fiction, with a slight lean towards women’s fiction. The farm setting and Conner’s athletic prowess do make this a story several men have read and enjoyed. Almost every woman who has read it thus far has given it high praise.
Describe your book in 15 words or less. Toys In The Attic challenges us to fight for hope when despair is all that is available.
Who are your favorite writers and why? JRR Tolkien will always rank first. His mastery of language and story is unrivaled. Shakespeare for his ability to seamlessly blend tragedy and comedy. His use of comedy to enhance the depth of the tragedy was masterful. JK Rowling, who created a world that I am fairly convinced really does exist. Some of my Indie friends: Athanasios, Talia Jager, Remi Michaud, JR Tomlin, and Cheryl Shireman, who have all produced great works that I truly enjoyed. [Editorial note – I did not twist David’s arm,threaten him, or give him cash to mention my name]
What is your next project? At present I’m about half way through the rewrite of my fantasy novel: Black Blade, which is the first book in my Burden of Truth trilogy.
What do you love most about writing? One word will suffice here: FREEDOM. When I write I am free to be me. To be honest, to be direct, and to be creative with no fear. My writing lets me explore any world I want, any character I choose, and any idea that pops into my mind.
What advice would you give to a new writer? Write. Write every day. Learn fundamentals of writing and story. Join good writing groups and participate. Read every day.
What is the key to realistic and memorable characters? Observation. To write a memorable character just pay attention to people. See what makes them tick. Get a feel for their emotions. Understand why they think how they think and do what they do. Chances are, in this whole wide world, you are intimately familiar, already, with the very type of character you want in your story. Pick someone you know, tweak them a bit to fit the story, and you are guaranteed to have a true-to-life character.
Did you have to do any type of research for your book? Yes, quite a bit actually. I studied the psychology of raped and abused women. Aspects of mental illness. Farming, and especially dairy breeding methodologies. I had some good help there from an old friend in my hometown in upstate New York.
Do you have any special circumstances that help you to write? I like to listen to music that matches the emotional impact of the scene that I am writing. I prefer low light, just enough to see the keyboard, and cool air circulating.
Tell us a little about yourself I was born and raised in a small village (Gilbertsville) in upstate New York, have been writing since I was a teenager, and love the beauty of nature and open spaces. I love people and enjoy spending time with friends. I believe that when it comes to my fellow humans the masses come first, and I love literature and music of all kinds. Good movies are also on my preferred list.
What was the last great book that you read? Mad Gods Redux by Athanasios. Amazing Indie historical fiction in the occult/religious genre.
David’s website – http://www.davidcleinman.com/writings
Toys In The Attic for Kindle
Principle Destiny in paperback
Barnes & Noble Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/toys-in-the-attic-david-cleinman/1031110030
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/63261
Other – My Principle Destiny novel site: http://www.principledestiny.com