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SCHISM is an atmospheric journey back in time to the year 1970, when drugs and anti-war protests dominated the headlines. This psychological suspense mystery follows the life of a middle-aged college professor, Jackson Boone, as he tries to unravel the truth about his girlfriend. He is in danger of losing his job, and perhaps his life, when he takes on a violent radical group in the process. Haunted by a past mistake, Boone tries to do the right thing in a world of increasingly ambiguous moral shadings.
Genre: Psychological Suspense Mystery
Publication Date: August 16, 2014
Publication Date: August 16, 2014
File Size: 348 KB
“Hey, Wham-o, pull in next to our van! Over there!” A tall, lanky kid pointed toward a grass parking lot with woods behind it and Lake Yellowwood lapping its shore just twenty yards away. Boone pulled his Mustang into the grass next to a beat-up Chevy van. The smell of incense drifted over his way, along with the haunting strain of a psychedelic band in the distance, with its strange vibrato guitar notes grating a bit on his nerves. Boone looked over at Wham-o and managed a weak smile.
“This is going to be fun, Jack.” She touched his arm. “It’s a whole new world when you’re around these people. You’ll see.” Wham-o enthusiastically stretched her arm out and traced an imaginary horizon. “It’s a new vision of how life is supposed to be lived, man; it’s tribal, it’s alive, it’s aware. We’re reclaiming our spiritual heritage.”
Boone wasn’t so sure of that. It was a good little speech she gave, he thought, but it wasn’t how all the SDS’ers felt. He wanted to focus on the political radicalism of these people, not their hippie lifestyles. He hoped he could separate the two.
Interview with the Author
Did you have a specific inspiration for this book?
No, but I have a general inspiration – my own life as a college student in 1970, in Bloomington, Indiana. I drew a lot from my memories of that time, and I also did a fair amount of research for the novel, so many of the details are factual. I think anyone who was in college during that era will recognize the atmosphere I tried to create.
Do you have a favorite character in this book?
I can’t say that I do. While I was writing it, I guess I liked Boone the best, but that was largely because I spent most of my time in his head, since he was the main character. I like all of my characters that come to life as you read, and hopefully that applies to all of them. That’s an author’s perspective, of course. As a reader, naturally you are going to like some characters, and dislike others.
What is the best part of being an author?
For me, it’s the joy of expressing myself without fear of being judged. Criticism may come later, after the fact, but in the moment of creation I feel free. It’s a great feeling.
When and why did you begin writing?
My first writing started with poetry, as a way of getting my feelings out after the breakup of a relationship. It was therapeutic. As time went on, I found I liked writing poetry about other subjects, and not necessarily about “me”, although it remained an emotionally based kind of writing. I then went through a long period of not writing anything, until I found myself with a lot of free time and the need to express myself in some way again. I graduated from library school, but couldn’t find a job as a librarian, so I started writing fiction stories for the first time. What started as a writing hobby, in which I had no intention of showing my work to others, morphed into a passion and the desire to publish.
Do you prefer to write books that are in a series, or stand-alone books?
Right now I prefer stand-alone books. I like doing something different each time. Series books can be more lucrative, and faster to write, because you already have a template for the main characters and their situation. I’m afraid I might get bored dealing with the same characters over and over. What does appeal to me though, and it’s similar to series writing, is the idea of carrying over a main character from one book to a second book. I’m doing that now, as I’m writing a novella with a main character that I intend to use in a follow-up novel as a secondary character. It will stop there, though.
Can you tell us about any books you may have in the planning stage?
I am working on a novella and a novel, both set in Shanghai, China. The novella is about a former Chinese police detective who starts investigating the murder of a friend as a private citizen. An underlying theme of corruption will be tied to the old Shanghai of the twenties and thirties. The novel will feature this same detective as a secondary character, helping an American solve the murder of an herbalist working for the American’s herb company. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a while before these are finished and ready for publication. There is a huge amount of research I’m going to have to do for this one, and that is time consuming.
What books by other authors have influenced your life?
The first psychology book I read, Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz, triggered a lifelong interest in psychology. That was when I was fourteen or fifteen. I later took many psychology courses in college, and still have an interest in that subject to this day. I still remember the little vignette he told somewhere in the book about how he came up with his ideas on self-image. He was a plastic surgeon, and told of the experience he had with patients who thought they still looked the same, even though he had radically improved their appearance. The mind is a powerful thing. We do create our own reality, up to a point. My interest in psychology has influenced the way I write, as I like writing about flawed, neurotic characters.
Which writer would you consider to be a mentor?
If, by mentor, you mean someone who influenced our writing, I would have to say Graham Greene and Patricia Highsmith. Of course, I have never met either of these authors, but I have read their books and studied their lives almost obsessively. The narrative voice these two people created reached into my soul. I feel such an affinity for that voice that it feels like it is my own when I read their books. Kind of spooky. Maybe they’ve reincarnated in my body, heh, heh. That would be quite a step backward. They were writing geniuses. I just can’t say enough about the depth of their writing. Their books continue to inspire me, and they inform my writing in many ways, large and small.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading a book by Alan Furst called Spies of the Balkans. I have always found that time period, the forties, World War II, really interesting. I like his writing voice, and the sentence structure that he uses to create a narrative. It’s very atmospheric, and I can easily imagine a Greek detective from that era speaking and acting just as Furst portrays his main character.
Do you have any hobbies other than reading?
Well, I don’t think of writing as a hobby at this point. It’s too much work! And I care too much about it to treat it as lightly as one would a hobby. I do have what I would call hobbies, which include playing guitar, genealogy, restoring furniture, and collecting records. They are all pretty time-consuming, so I have to limit my time with them. I first got interested in genealogy when a cousin of my dad told him we were related to a historical figure who was one of the first pioneers in Kentucky. It turns out a fort was named after him, and he was a patriot in the Revolutionary War. I was hooked after researching my genealogical connection to him.
Are there any new authors who have captured your interest?
I honestly haven’t been reading fiction produced by new authors. There is still so much to learn from the established writers, so many good books written years ago that I never read. So many books, so little time …
If you could have a dinner party and invite four authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite, and why?
Arthur Whimbey, because he helped us understand that intelligence isn’t genetically predestined.
Graham Greene, for his wit, writing genius, and deep intelligence.
Patricia Highsmith, so that I could ask her how she did it. A voice of eccentric wisdom.
Charles Dickens, so I could introduce him to Graham Greene. That would be an interesting conversation.
What four items do you always have in your fridge or pantry?
Peanut butter, prunes, cinnamon bread, dry cereal. Not very exciting, but it keeps me going.
Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?
I’d like them to know just how lucky they are to be readers. So many people don’t like to read, and our culture seems to be heading in the direction of more speed, more technology, more skimming the surface, so that focused reading isn’t considered an important skill anymore. It’s such a joy to relax and get lost in reading a book, to just slow down and let the world pass by. Who would want to lose that?
About Gregory Eaves
Gregory moved to Florida and completed a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida.
Library school rekindled his interest in reading, which had been his favorite activity as a child growing up. Mysteries had been his first love, and he devoured his first mystery books with singular passion and zeal. Nothing else seemed to hit the sweet spot like reading The Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes, and Poirot. He later enjoyed authors like Raymond Chandler, John D. McDonald, Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith, and others.
SCHISM is Gregory’s first novel. His prior experience with writing included poetry and short stories. One of his short-shorts won runner-up in a contest in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
He now lives on the east coast of Florida, and when he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing guitar and collecting vintage stereo gear and vinyl records. He is a member of American Mensa.
Gregory Eaves will award a $15 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner
via rafflecopter during this tour and the Review–Only Tour.
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