The Inspiration Behind the Book and the “What If” Questions.
One of the number one questions that I get asked is what inspired me to write “Journal According to John.” The other question that I get a lot is if the book is based on actual events. I suppose that these two questions could be related since the inspiration for the novel could be inspired by real events. Perhaps this is really what readers want to know when they ask both questions. However, the book is total fiction and is inspired by my overactive “what if” mind.
So what if there was a recently divorced man who was distraught about his failed marriage? What if he begins keeping a journal as a tool to make sense of his failures and to determine why he is so emotionally challenged? What if he is a therapist who specializes in behavioral issues but needs therapy himself for his own behavior? What if in writing the journal he realizes that his mother, the curator of a gallery who specializes in steel art and other nontraditional works has largely shaped his thoughts and actions? What if he sees her promiscuous dalliances as the reason for his emotional dysfunction? What if he wants to blame her for his current state of affairs? What if he can’t? What if he makes startling discoveries about himself while journaling?
That is a whole lot of what ifs. And I am always testing the foundation of those what ifs to see if they can stand up to the light of day. This brings me to another popular question that I am asked a lot. What was the most challenging part of writing the book? The answer to that question is writing from a male’s perspective. So one of the questions that I ask myself is what if my character is not authentic enough? What if the male character that I created isn’t masculine enough? I should ask those questions. I should test the foundation because I usually get good answers. And the answer to my questions and uncertainties is that there are all types of men. There are sensitive men, there are typical men (like my friend who when I ran one of my story ideas by him told me that the story sounds good but one of the characters must die. This was not because death was necessary to further the story but because the story would be too “soft” without it), there are callous men, there are mature and immature men and then there are men who are a combination of all men. So John exists somewhere out there.
Hopefully readers will enjoy all the “what ifs” that I have asked and more importantly, I hope that they will be able to take something valuable away from the answers that they find.