Professional Reader

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Hi Darren

You are my very first Q&A so please bear with me. I hope I don’t hit you up with any clichéd, over asked questions!

1)     The book cover art and the animated book trailer are beautiful and the reason I chose to read and review this book. Do you think book trailers are necessary these days to promote books through social media and how much input do you have with the art and concept?

Thank you for the kind words about the trailer – I actually put that together myself! I can’t take any credit for the cover, though. That was all Random House Australia with a little help from their YA focus group, The Book Buddies (the story of how it came together is at this link: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/blog/book-buddies-are-you-seeing-me-cover-poll-2058.aspx). Trailers are good for books, but in the end nothing beats word of mouth, whether it’s online or in person.

 2)     I felt at times that Dan leant too heavily on Justine at such a young age, predominantly due to the natural bond Perry has with her. Do you think it was fair for the character to take on so much responsibility?

Yeah, I was a bit hard on Jus, wasn’t I? (Note to self: must be a more benevolent writer-god for my characters 🙂 To quote a former pants-dropping Aussie PM, though: life wasn’t meant to be easy. I think Dan did the best he could in very difficult circumstances. And fairness doesn’t make for the most interesting plot developments in fiction.

 3)     I really loved the Life and Times of a Tree Frog Journal, it told the story of the twins childhood in such an authentic way. Do you feel the journal was not only a gift to Justine, but therapy for Dan as a way to express his thoughts and emotions?

During the hard times, it was. I imagined Dan writing some of those entries stream of consciousness, forgetting the purpose of the journal until he’d exhausted his thoughts. As a point of interest, the first draft of the story had more journal entries, and they all ran together at the beginning as a prologue to the twins’ trip. I wonder had it remained in that form, would that feeling of ‘therapy’ for Dan have been reinforced or diminished? Tough to say.

 4)     This is the first book I have ever read which gives an equal voice to a person with a brain condition. Did you draw on your personal life heavily or was there additional research?

As a father of twins – one of whom has ASD – I did draw on some personal experience, but not to the point where you’d call it ‘faction’. I made a lot of stuff up, yet always within the framework of what I have come to understand about the autism spectrum. The most important thing for me with Perry was that he be authentic to everyone, not just the folks who know ASD. I wanted him defined by his humanity just as much as his disability.

 5)     Did you watch every Jacky Chan and Bruce Lee movie while writing this book?

Hahaha! No, I didn’t watch any of their full-length movies while writing ‘Are You Seeing Me?’, although I had seen several before (Drunken Master II, Rumble in the Bronx. Rush Hour…). A few scenes did require some YouTube clip research.

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I appreciate your time Darren and wish you all the fabulous success you deserve with this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed the read and you can see my review here. I  can’t wait for your next work!