I like quirky, and the cover of this book stopped me. Then I read the synopsis, and I knew this is one of those books, those who take you for a great journey.
Gavin Goode by David B. Seaburn will be out on July 4th in the Literary Fiction genre.
“I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but I think I died today.” So begins the complex and mysterious journey of Gavin Goode and his family. What happened to Gavin and why? What secrets will emerge along the way? Frankie, his wife and a dress store owner, feels guilty, but why? His son, Ryan, who owns an ice cream parlor, and daughter-in-law, Jenna, who is a bank manager, are expecting their first baby. How will this trauma affect them? And what of Rosemary, Frankie’s best friend? Or Ben Hillman and eleven year old, Christopher? How are they implicated in the events that unfold around Gavin’s misfortune?
This is a story of despair and hope, dreams and reality, uncertainty and faith,humor, secrecy, forgiveness and beginnings. As in his previous novels, David B. Seaburn demonstrates his in-depth understanding of the human experience and his storytelling mastery.
~Gavin’s wife Frankie arrives in the Emergency Room.~
When Frankie starts screaming, emergency room nurses fly at her from every angle, trying to calm her, trying to keep her quiet.
“That’s okay, that’s okay.”
But it isn’t okay. “Gavin! Gavin! Gavin!”
“Please Mrs. Goode,” says one nurse, her face grey and hard.
“Mrs. Goode, you must…” But Frankie can’t hear the nurses. She feels her own throat vibrating; there is tautness in her neck, but she can’t even hear her own cries. She cranes her body to look behind the trauma bay curtain just as they are whisking Gavin away to the OR. She sees his hand dangling. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t flinch. She wants to touch him. She watches and watches as he rolls away, hoping that he will sit up, confused about where he is, and say “What the hell is going on here?” She’d call his name—“Gavin!”—and he would run to her, apologizing for the inconvenience—“Tell me you didn’t rush home for this”— and she would laugh and say it didn’t matter.
But he is gone. Frankie looks in every direction, not knowing what to do…
Dr. Azziz points to the chairs and then pulls one up for himself.
“We have finished the surgery. There was a large clot causing extreme pressure on your husband’s brain.” Then he says bullet, bullet, bullet and bullet, bullet. She doesn’t know why he keeps saying that word. It offends her; makes her feel violated. Ryan asks question after question, but all she hears is bullet, bullet, bullet. Why does he keep talking about this? Why is he holding her arm like she’s a little girl about to be escorted somewhere she doesn’t want to go? She decides not to listen, not to hear anything more even though he keeps saying things. How can someone with such a kind face talk about something so vile? His eyes are dark and warm. His teeth, white. His mustache, groomed. She likes the sound of his voice, resonant, yet soft, even melodic. How can he spew such lies? What is he up to? Dr. Azziz lets go of her arm and stands. He smiles down at her and his mouth moves again. Then he walks away. She watches him until he disappears around a corner. She mutters, “Bullet.”
About the Author
In 2010 I retired after having been the director of a public school based free family counseling center.
Prior to that I was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center for almost twenty years. During my tenure there I taught in a Family Medicine Residency Program, practiced Medical Family Therapy and was the Director of a Family Therapy Training Program.
In addition to this I am a retired Presbyterian minister, having graduated from seminary (Boston University) in 1975. I served a church full-time from 1975-1981 before entering the mental health field permanently. I am married; we have two adult daughters and two wonderful granddaughters.
My educational background includes two master’s degrees and a PhD. Most of my career was as an assistant professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. There I wrote two professional books and over 65 papers and book chapters.
In addition to long fiction, I write personal essays, many of which have been published in the Psychotherapy Networker magazine.
I also write a blog, “Going Out Not Knowing,” for Psychology Today magazine (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/going-out-not-knowing).
Tips for First Time Novelists
David B. Seaburn
Sitting down for the first time to start writing a novel may feel like climbing Mt. Everest without a guide (or adequate oxygen). While there is no sure-fire formula for success, here are some things to keep in mind as you begin your climb.
Write about something that interests you Don’t start by trying to figure out what readers like or want (many will disagree with this!). If you write well about what interests you, in all likelihood, it will be interesting to others.
Consider first person Writing in first person can be much less complicated in that you only have to develop a single voice (hard enough). Third person requires developing multiple voices and a narrator’s voice to accommodate them.
When it comes to characters, less may be more Three or four characters generate countless interactions. Adding more may become cumbersome and overwhelming. The risk is that some of those characters may end up one dimensional or underdeveloped.
Don’t worry if the path ahead is unclear Many novelists do not know what the end of the story will be when they sit down to write the first sentence. Knowing the ending is not necessary. You will discover it as you write.
Have a problem or conflict in mind It helps to have a central dilemma driving your story from the beginning. A secret, a loss, conflicting desires, something that creates tension between characters. One is plenty. Others may arise as you progress through the narrative.
Find your writing groove Where you write, how much you write, when you write; there is no right way to write. It needs to fit your personality.
Saying ‘I can’t find time to write’ may not be true Of course, it may be difficult for many of us to find time; but often the time exists (even in small bits and pieces). But we are convinced we need lots of time, and when we can’t find it, we don’t write at all.
Don’t wait for inspiration If you do, you may never write at all! Sometimes we feel inspired, but mostly we don’t. It’s better to think of writing as ‘work,’ very important work, but work, nevertheless. It’s important to sit down and do it, even when we don’t feel we have anything to say. Writing is its own inspiration.
Read your work out loud This is a good way to see whether your writing has rhythm and flow. In particular, read dialogue out loud to see whether it sounds like anyone would actually say it.
Use accessible language A reader shouldn’t need a dictionary while reading your work. By and large, a novel should read like spoken language.
Consider short chapters One way to think about chapters is that they should complete a single ‘thought.’ Short chapters also help maintain rhythm and movement.
Try to avoid ‘very’ and ‘!’ in narration They can be used in dialogue. The element of exclamation should be contained in how you articulate what you are discussing.
Show, don’t tell Saying a character was feeling depressed is not as effective as describing how hard it is for that character to get out of bed in the morning.
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