Continuing excerpts from a Dec. 14, 2014 interview with eBooks author, Stuart Murray. Part 1 provided a glimpse into the underlying themes, and here, in Part 2 is a continuance of that exploration, as well as an insight into the true, real life incident that provided not only the starting point for the story, but so much more.
“I am not sure anyone is completely good, bad, or evil. It all comes down to the preponderance of evidence that places individuals on one side of that line or another at a particular point in time.”
You said that one of the underlying themes in the book is an exploration of choice, and the consequence of decisions made relative to those choices. Care to expand?
A life led is determined by every choice made, either by the individual, or for the individual. But it’s also restricted by upbringing, influences, available opportunities and the environment in which opportunities are presented. Opportunities, and the ability to accept, or not, are finite, and time sensitive.
As in a boy raised by a sponge diver would be more likely to consider pursuing that activity than a girl raised by a farmer who has never seen the sea.
Choices are based on a whole host of factors including lifestyle, ambition, interests, expectations and other potential, or competing opportunities. The fact that the boy is acutely aware of the opportunity may provide an insight that acts as a deterrent. The point I was making is simply that when a path is chosen, and pursued, other potential paths are discarded, put aside or taken off the table. It’s what follows that’s interesting. Was it the right decision, and now that’s been made what of the implications? That’s what is fascinating, interesting and worthy of exploration.
What about the choices you made in writing the book?
The first choice was in the actual writing, and in dedicating thousands of hours to an enterprise that had a high probability of either failing utterly through my own ineptness, or in failing to find an appreciative audience.
And the second?
The second choice in writing this book was to develop the story and present it in a fresh and hopefully entertaining package that brings a certain unique perspective to the process.
As in the Montana setting?
In part. Montana is an underpopulated, wild and remote region of the planet, and therein lies a certain fascination. But the setting alone isn’t sufficiently unique. It’s a combination of location, as well as the lives led by the central characters that bring them into contact with one another at a particular point in time. Combining a disillusioned ex Marine, a powerful rancher, a crusty old salt and a beautiful woman, and developing the story of what evolves from that point was the vehicle drawn from a real life incident that happened during a vacation trip to Montana.
Perhaps you could provide a little more insight into that incident.
I happened just as written in the first few chapters of the book, right up to the point where there was a high speed chase involving the police cruiser. By the time the police got involved the driver of the pickup truck, equipped with a heavy duty suspension and big off road wheels was making good his escape.
But the cops got him?
They did. And that was the point where it should have ended. Instead, that was when it got tricky, and a little ugly. The officer knew the driver, and he was providing a version of the incident that naturally suited him. All of a sudden everything flipped, hard question were being asked, motives were cast in doubt and the tension was building. There was a point where it could have gone either way.
So how was it resolved?
The driver of the truck unexpectedly admitted causing the incident that forced the car from the road and shattered the windshield. That changed everything. The cop walked the truck driver away for a quiet chat then returned with an offer that the costs of repairing the damages would be picked up in exchange for an agreement not to press charges.
Interesting, and that was agreed to?
Tempers were running high and the tension was on knife edge. But there was a need to end it. Call it wild west cowboy justice if you like, but it was enough, there was a resolution and after a written commitment was obtained we all went on our way.
Another underlying theme in the book takes a hard look at inequality and the struggle to advance in the face of adversity. Would you characterize that as essentially the age old battle of good versus evil; the nice guy taking on the bad.
Not necessarily. It depends on how these things are defined. I am not sure anyone is completely good, bad, or evil. It all comes down to the preponderance of evidence that places individuals on one side of that line or another at a particular point in time, and it depends on how situations evolve. The characters in the books all cross that line as required to varying degrees, and as needs dictate in order to survive, or to simply protect their interests. I think it's a question of how far a person goes over that line, and how long they stay that more accurately defines an individual's character.
The third part of The Interview, to appear in a future blog, will take a look at some of the book's more interesting characters.