Borrowed Boy by Gene Gant
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Gene Gant here today on tour with his latest story, Borrowed Boy. Welcome, Gene.
~ A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Gene Gant ~
With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? Why do you write?
I write mostly because I have a passion for it, the same as I do for reading. I enjoy telling a story as much as I enjoy reading one. But my writing is often driven by events and situations occurring in the world around us. The Battle for Jericho, as an example, grew out of my concern that religious belief was (and still is) having far too much influence on our country’s laws and public policy. Child exploitation is a recurring theme in many of my works because someone dear to me was sexually abused as a kid and left with permanent, debilitating emotional scars.
Division, intolerance and hatred are on the rise in our country. Police shootings of unarmed black people; Trump’s use of racism, xenophobia and blatant lies to set his administration’s agenda and stoke the ire of his supporters against “the other side”; the steady erosion of civil rights protections for people of color and those on the LGBTQ spectrum; the woefully under-addressed crisis of climate change; these are all things that weigh on my mind. Writing about them is a way of coping for me.
But I don’t see only the dark and ugly aspects of human nature. There is still beauty, hope, joy and love in the world, and those things find their way into my writing as well. We need to nurture them, hold onto them, because they will ultimately see us through the chaos and bring us together.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
The artists at Harmony Ink Press design multiple covers for my books using my input. Among other things, they ask what I’d like to see in a cover, if there are any objects or images I want included, and if there is any particular thing I don’t want in the cover. The result is that I’m usually presented with several cover versions that are all so good it’s hard to pick one.
It comes down to feeling. Which cover comes closest to the overall mood of the story? Which one do I feel best represents the characters and situations depicted in the novel? Which one pulls at me and makes me wish I could walk right into it? The cover you see on Borrowed Boy pushed all my buttons. In my humble opinion, it effectively captures the emotion and the hope of the story.
If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?
That would be a nice little house with a covered patio that looks out on a private beach. Why? Well, I love the ocean for one thing And for me, writing is a necessarily solitary venture. I have to let my mind settle into the world I’m building, have to inhabit the souls of the characters I’m bringing to life. To do that I need an environment that is quiet and without distraction.
Those conditions that can be hard to come by when you have a family, as I do. That means there’s usually someone watching TV or talking on a cell phone or listening to music, all at the loudest of volumes. It’s hard to hear the voices in your head with that kind of distraction going on. (Voices in my head…hm. Does that make me sound unwell?)
Sometimes I write in the midst of the hullabaloo because I have no choice; my novels would never get finished if I didn’t. Fortunately, I live in an area that’s fairly rural, so in temperate times I can retreat to the patio, which looks out on a spread where a neighbor has horses and chickens, for a bit of quiet isolation in which to write. There’s also the rare occasion during the day when I have the house all to myself, allowing me to turn off everything except my laptop and let my imagination run free. Of course, push come to shove, I can always wait until the wee hours when everyone is asleep and do my thing.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Next I have a companion piece to Borrowed Boy titled Golden Like Summer, which will be published by Harmony Ink Press in 2019. This second book is not a sequel or part of a series as it doesn’t involve any of the characters from Borrowed Boy. But they both grew out of the same general idea of a kid discovering that he’s been living under a false identity.
Beyond that, I’m working on a new adult novella/novel (not sure yet how long it’s going to be) about a young man starting his freshman year of college. He’s been homeschooled and sheltered and is eager to jump into all the things he thinks he’s missed out on, including parties, drinking, drugs, and losing his virginity. He’s going to quickly discover that adult life is a lot more complicated than he thinks. The working title is Mannish. So far, I haven’t run into the dreaded writer’s block on this one. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
An entire life can be snatched away in an instant.
Thirteen-year-old Zavier Beckham is an average teen living in Memphis. He has great parents and a quirky best friend named Cole. He’s happy, and he thinks his life is totally normal… until an FBI agent shows up and informs Zavier he was stolen as an infant and sold to an adoption agency.
Now his biological parents want him back.
Forced to confront his distant past, Zavier faces an uncertain future. He may be taken from the only home he’s known by parents who are strangers living in Chicago. He may have to deal with a brother who hates and torments him. He meets Brendan, an older boy who offers him friendship and wakens a strong, unsettling attraction in Zavier. Brendan has secrets of his own, and he’ll either be the one ray of light in Zavier’s tense situation or the last straw that breaks Zavier under the pressure.
Gene Gant grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. After living for a time in Missouri and Illinois, he now makes his home on a quiet country lane outside Memphis.