Here's the speech I gave for the occasion, commemorated at The Blog Mansion for all internet access.
DAVID Launch Event Speech
August 27th 2016 (3:00-5:30 p.m.)
(Reading: First 2 pages of DAVID.)
The relationship between an author and his characters is a strange metaphysical one. The lives I explore in my books have a certain factualness about them that rivals my real experiences.
The characters feel real to me, feel realer in fact than the people I think I know outside of the pages. Certainly my ability to enter their minds has bred an intimacy that I don’t share with other people, but still, they are fictional character, literary devices, symbolic constructs. I have a wife (who isn’t here) children who are, and friend, fans, real people. My agent is here.
Yet here we have a girl, Eleanor by name, not a living person but realer to me than most of you.
Though my mind knows that my little girl from Wyoming is a fiction, my heart and my memories argue otherwise.
When I do not see you, my friends, right in front of me, in the now, talking and laughing with me, you are but a fond memory, a cherished experience. At those times when we are apart, you are not so different than Eleanor and David.
And the places the same— Eugene Oregon, Jamesford Wyoming - I see them both, I’ve experienced them both. Good and bad, wet and dry. I’ve lived them both.
This is the magic of reading. It is immersive hallucination that rivals and exceeds actual experience. The power of imagination, the strength of story telling, the alchemy of the symbols creates new realities. It’s undeniable.
In my heart, the differences between reality and fiction is not important. Source is irrelevant, only the substance matters. There is only experience and love.
I love ELEANOR. She is a part of me. I made her. She has surprised me, angered me, made me proud, and made me cry.
I’ve likened her to my kids and will again. I do now.
Since ELEANOR was conceived, I have seen both my sons graduate. It is a bitter sweet thing to watch them go out in the world. But that is the way of things. So now Eleanor too, is off into the world.
Eleanor’s story “wraps up” in DAVID. I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say that it is a fitting conclusion. I reached the end of the thematic arc I started back in the first chapter— in the first sentence of BOOK ONE. And it is pleasing to me to have it so.
Fiction gives me the power to put pattern, meaning and theme into my characters lives; things I that I have sought, but not always found in my own. These are luxuries to be sure.
This book is dedicated to my friends who have helped me so much and been there for me and suffered and rejoiced and understood as this thing happened.
Thank you. I could not have done it without you.